Small-scale, medium-scale, large-scale – no matter how big your retail business is, having an ecommerce platform is almost always a necessity in order for you to break into this age’s marketing competition. The good thing is that there is a great number of ecommerce platforms out on the market for you to choose from.
Some are free, while some work better under a paid subscription. So if you’re looking for the best platforms in terms of ease of use, customizability and affordability, you can find them down here:
PrestaShop is a very popular platform not only because it is free to use, but because it is easy to use as well. PrestaShop has now over 250,000 stores using the ecommerce platform, and it’s not stopping anytime soon.
PrestaShop provides online store owners with powerful, dynamic and wide-reaching ecommerce software enriched with hundreds of innovative tools to build and manage a successful online store at no cost. PrestaShop is simple, efficient and intuitive as it enables users to thrive in a competitive market regardless of size, industry or revenue. PrestaShop also offers a flexible Open source and a user-friendly cloud-hybrid ecommerce solution completely for free.
It is easy to both install and customize the software, and every feature is indeed very intuitive. PrestaShop is also highly flexible in terms of how much work you’ll need to put into creating a store: you can either download a fully-hosted or self-hosted version, so you can determine your own level of technical control, and both are free to access.
OpenCart is the best option for small businesses, especially those who can’t afford having a designated staff for the sole purpose of coding and programming. OpenCart’s User Interface (UI) is fairly simple to use, without a lot of the other functionalities found in other shopping cart software.
Despite its simplicity, you can still do a lot with OpenCart. To really open this program up, you need a programmer to help you get around some of the code. You can also choose from a bunch of different plugins to give your site more flexibility. The best thing about OpenCart’s simplicity is the fact that it doesn’t drag on your server. You can slow everything down by adding a ton of plugins of course, but for most people, this should be one of the faster options.
If you’re looking for an ecommerce platform, having a huge pool of themes to choose from would be one of your main concerns – and OpenCart just provides that. There are tons of themes available, both free and paid, for giving your store a slick, attractive, sales-worthy look. You can never be short of options with it, regardless of the types of products you sell.
Furthermore, OpenCart can provide you with a lot of room to work with your finances. On an “ongoing basis,” it doesn’t require any development costs to keep OpenCart ticking over. As such, for small to medium sized online store, this makes it a great option for keeping a lid on costs.
osCommerce is probably the oldest dog in town, but it still can learn a lot of new tricks. osCommerce has been one the most trusted open source ecommerce platforms for the past fifteen years. With more than 7,000 community-created add-ons available for the platform, users can have access to a wide range of customizability in designing and enhancing the appearance and functionality of your storefront.
Also, with more than 260,000 store owners, developers, and service providers, osCommerce offers a vast support network, which serves as an excellent resource when things go awry. If you’re having problems with your software, it’s virtually guaranteed that someone else has experienced – and solved – that very same issue.
There are hundreds of thousands of people involved in the wider osCommerce community, so there’s no shortage of casual support if you need it. The forum has over 1.5 million individual posts, so chances are high that they will be able to answer quickly any concerns that would comes up.
If you want to modify or “manipulate” the site for more control, osCommerce is particularly easy to “break open.” If you can find yourself with a basic understanding of what’s going on, you can make modifications yourself. Alternatively, if you want to source a developer, you should be able to do so relatively easier to make the tweaks you need.
Mainly because of the fact that the size of the client-base community is really big, and there is a sheer number of websites running the osCommerce software, they have provided a wide range of plugins and add-ons available for the whole community. You can use them all to pack a lot of features in your site. Some of these are paid, but a large number are still available free of charge.
Shopify is another frontrunner in terms of ease of use and availability of modern themes to use for your business. Shopify offers easy scalability: even if you plan to list a huge portfolio of products on your eCommerce site, you can go for the top end package that involves no transaction fee. You can also add as many products as you wish.
Shopify has one of the most complete dashboards/control panels among the options available in the market. All tasks, from processing orders to managing inventory, are given to you on the backend. If you are familiar with WordPress, you may find Shopify’s interface easy to use since it looks pretty similar to the former’s interface, with the tabs on the left side for you to access quickly. With the latter’s UI, You can also use the dashboard for generating discount codes, or for examining the latest reports.
If you are looking to sell your products in an actual retail setting, then you can opt for the Shopify POS. This includes everything you need to sell your products offline, both on the software and hardware side. The software includes an iPad app, which makes selling your products in a retail setting much easier.
With the app, you can use the credit card reader to swipe the customer’s credit card right then and there. You can even purchase additional hardware from the company such as a cash register, a receipt printer and even a barcode scanner.
Magento has one of the most extensive features lists you will ever find in terms of Ecommerce software: it’s the exact reason why the rates are so high and why all the Magento customers are large corporations.
You may have heard of Magento’s Enterprise Edition, the flagship ecommerce platform that’s used by the likes of Nike and Samsung, and costs about $16,000 a year. Now, if you want to have some of the same features at no cost, they also offer the Magento Community Edition.
Everything from marketing to customer segmentation is included. Standard features come along with the open source Magento, so you can work on search engine optimization with tools for Google sitemaps, Google Content APIs and search engine friendly URLs.
Magento Community Edition still has tons of features, many of which aren’t available on other open source platforms. For example, you can manage multiple stores, choose from a variety of languages, and offer different currencies.
They’re also one of the most popular platforms in the industry. Similar to osCommerce, they have lots of users constantly designing new plugins and extensions. This also helps to make their platform extremely flexible and infinitely scalable, which is one of the reasons why Magneto is often considered by many to be the premier ecommerce platform.