There are various options when it comes to creating an eCommerce store. You can make use of dedicated and fully managed solutions, or choose an eCommerce software that is tailored to suit the needs of online shops.
Such eCommerce software can be both free and premium. Each such tool comes with its own set of features and offerings. So, which eCommerce software can be the right one for your needs and which one should you pick? This article shall provide the answer for this question.
Which eCommerce Software Should You Opt For?
WooCommerce is a free WordPress plugin that lets you convert your WP site or blog into a proper eCommerce store. You can add products, generate invoices, sell to customers around the world and even specify product attributes and shipping details. WooCommerce integrates well with most payment gateways and is one of the most popular eCommerce software out there.
The fact that WooCommerce is a WP plugin means you will need to setup your website in WordPress only. Depending on how you perceive WordPress, this may be a favorable or unfavorable point for you. With that said, owing to the popularity of both WordPress and WooCommerce, you can hardly go wrong if you decide to setup your online store using it.
PrestaShop is an eCommerce software with a very simple learning curve. You do not have to be an experienced developer when working with PrestaShop. It is a full-fledged eCommerce software, which implies you should use it only if the eCommerce store is your primary consideration. If you just need to add a small shop to your existing blog, PrestaShop might be an overkill for you.
PrestaShop is a free software, but you might need to spend a decent amount of money to integrate custom modules for integrating various payment gateways, etc.
Magento is a very popular and well known name in the world of eCommerce software. It is a robust piece of software that is used by the likes of Coca Cola, Burger King and Tom Dixon. Obviously, using Magento can put you in some great company.
However, Magento is more geared towards heavier eCommerce stores and bigger shops. Using a Magento installation on shared hosting can consume more memory than usual and in cases of traffic spikes, your website can go down. Thus, if you are building your eCommerce store using Magento, make sure your hosting plan has enough room for growth and available resources.
CubeCart is a slightly lesser known name in the field of eCommerce software. Yet, this does not imply that CubeCart is lacking in terms of features or prowess. It is a nimble eCommerce software that supports multiple payment gateways, store and product options, and a lot more.
The interesting part about CubeCart is that while the eCommerce software itself is fully free and open source, technical support is a paid addon. As a result, should you ever need professional help setting up your store, you can head straight to the software developers themselves and get premium advice instantly, including via live chat.
OpenCart, as the name suggests, is an open source and free eCommerce software. It comes with amazing store management features, including native SEO without the use of any external module or plugin.
OpenCart is a reliable eCommerce software if you are looking for something that does not burn a hole in your pocket and at the same time you do not wish to compromise in terms of features. Even the premium addons or templates for OpenCart tend to be cheaper by value of median price as compared to those of other similar eCommerce software. OpenCart is used by folks such as The British Red Cross Society.
osCommerce has been around for a long time. It began way back in 2000 and has been under active development since then. In other words, osCommerce is like a veteran in the field of eCommerce software.
However, osCommerce has not gained much traction of late and currently, it lags behind WooCommerce, Magento and others in terms of popularity. The product in itself is rather powerful and can support multiple currencies, payment options and a lot many other store management features. Yet, in terms of sheer popularity, it currently powers a little over 20,000 live websites only which is not a big number as far as internet stores are concerned.
The last entry on our list is Shopify which is a purely hosted solution. As a result, you do not install Shopify on your servers or buy a hosting package from a web host for it. Instead, you pay Shopify a monthly amount and are given a readymade eCommerce store where you can simply start selling.
The very obvious advantage here is that you do not have to worry about things such as hosting, server management and security, installation, coding, etc. You can change templates, add payment gateways and sell products in a matter of a few clicks.
The disadvantage, on the other hand, is that you have very little control over your own eCommerce store. You cannot make use of a custom template and at the end of the day, you do not own your own data. This is pretty much like hosting a blog on WP.com — while the ease of use and simplicity is undeniable, you have negligible control over your own blog and WP.com can choose to delete it should they feel your blog is against their community standards.
We have now taken a look at some of the leading names in the world of eCommerce software. So which one should you opt for?
WooCommerce is a perfect pick if you already have a WordPress website and wish to add an eCommerce store to it. On the other hand, Magento is more of a solution for larger stores. Options such as OpenCart or PrestaShop are worthy alternatives for a wide variety of eCommerce stores, especially if you need something reliable but do not wish to go with WordPress-based sites.
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