Advanced Guide to Free & Open Source eCommerce Solutions

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The open source eCommerce platforms are popular in the industry because of their flexibility and no cost strengths. There are tons of options available in the market as far as eCommerce platforms are concerned. But today I've organized a superb list of free e-commerce web application frameworks & tools. These open source eCommerce software will help you boost your small or medium scale businesses and serve billions of internet users. By the end of  May 2015, there were already 3 billion internet users worldwide and nearly half of the worldwide population will be using the internet by the end of this year. This figure is just 42.4% of the entire world’s population! Only the US eCommerce sales are predicted to grow from $263 billion in 2013 to $414 billion in 2018. According to Comscore total digital commerce (eCommerce), up 14 percent year-over-year in Q1, continues to grow at a faster rate than the overall retail sector.

Along with these free and open source eCommerce frameworks, I'm also going to share a few tips on choosing the right open source eCommerce tool for your online store.

What is Open Source?

Open source software or framework is something whose source code is available for modification or enhancement by anyone. With open source solutions you don't have any limitations on using, modifying or extending the source code. Icing on the cake is  almost all open source tools are available at no cost.

Choosing the right eCommerce solution 

There are multiple factors you should consider before choosing your best eCommerce platform. Every open source ecommerce tool is free but it doesn't mean that each of them will suit your need and online store requirements. Let's consider some of the factors you should be considering before finalizing your open source ecommerce platform.
  • SEO friendly
  • Mobile Optimized
  • Fully Customizable & Multiple design options
  • User Friendly
  • Faster in Loading
  • Secured
  • Scalable and Flexible
  • Easily content creation
  • Online support and documentation
Let's cover these above points in detail after all these are some of the important factors that will help you choose the right open source eCommerce solution for your online store.

SEO Friendly


SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization which is nothing but optimizing your website, it's pages and content to make them searchable or in other words visible in major search engines such as Google and Bing.

It is very important to have a SEO friendly website to compete in these competitive market plus if you are visible in search engines you get free targeted traffic too.

Mobile Optimized

According to Statista, number of mobile internet users worldwide will increase from 83.6% in 2015 to 90.1% by 2017. Even Google wants to rank mobile friendly pages in their results which makes our open source eCommerce platform to be mobile friendly and responsive.

Fully Customizable & Multiple design options

Already there are millions of online stores on the web and to stand out from the crowd you must be have a unique design. To make your online eCommerce site you must have the ability to fully customize your store. 

Apart from that you should also be to change designs to stay ahead of your competition and most importantly please your audience. And here comes the multiple designs part, does your open source ecommerce platform already has best and unique eCommerce themes

User Friendly

Having a mobile optimized, SEO friendly and customizable eCommerce store only doesn't helps your store convert visitors into customers, user friendliness does. If your eCommerce store is designed professionaly and keeping user friendliness in mind your sales will boost. Your site should guide your customers where to go and it should not be difficult for them to find what they want.

Faster in Loading

Faster websites makes users happy and that is why Google has also decided to rank faster websites up in their rankings. You can check your theme or website's page speed using following tools:
Check your site speed with these tools and decide on which ecommerce theme to buy for your online store.

Secured

The security of your online store and the customer data it contains is incredibly important. Well as as a new store owner, phrases like “PCI compliance” and “SSL certificates” are likely to make your head spin. But these are topics that you should become familiar with.

The PCI Security Standards are a set of 12 security standards applicable to all websites that accept and store payment information.

While SSL certificates are small data files that allow a browser to securely process sensitive transactions, like online purchases.

You can check SSL Certificate pricings here.

Scalable and Flexible

If you stay in the small store mindset while choosing your open source eCommerce platform, you may limit what you’re capable of as you grow. An open source eCommerce platform must be scalable and flexible thus ensuring your eCommerce platform supports you as you are growing in your business.

Easily content creation

Content creation should not be difficult and time consuming. Creating content such as blog posts, pages, products, etc must be easy and fast with additional functionalities such as adding videos, images to name a few.

There are some visual content editor available in the market now which makes creating content a heavenly experience.

Online support and documentation

An open source eCommerce platform which has a great online support and documentation is the best option I'll choose for my online store. If I get stuck into something or having a problem then an online support or documentation comes real handy.

List of Free & Open Source eCommerce Platforms

Now is the time to see the available open source eCommerce solutions in the market.

Avactis


Avactis is an open source ecommerce Shopping Cart software that offers several different editions such as Avactis Free, Avactis Owned, Avactis Lite, Avactis Premium, Monthly leased license and Avactis White Label (Private Label) edition.

Download | Demo

Where to Find Themes for Avactis?

PrestaShop


PrestaShop is a free, open source e-commerce solution for your online store. This popular web software is published under the Open Software License. It is written in the PHP programming language with support for the MySQL database management system.

Download | Demo

Where to Find Themes for Prestashop?

Recommended Hosting
  • A2Hosting
  • Arvixe
  • Inmotion Hosting

Magento


Magento is an open-source content management system for e-commerce web sites that was originally developed by Varien Inc., a US private company headquartered in Culver City, California, with assistance from volunteers.

Download | Demo

Where to find themes for Magento?

Recommended Hosting

Opencart


Whether you're a programmer, website manager or a client, OpenCart is worth testing. After all, it's available free of charge, but it is a pretty easy way to get an online store up and running.

I've already shared some examples of what can be done with Opencart preciously on Web Designer Pad.

Download | Demo

Where to find themes for Opencart?

Recommended Hosting

OsCommerce


A free web shop program which features order history, shopping carts, full search capability, product reviews, secure transactions, bestseller lists, and related items In other words features that an eCommerce platform must have.


Where to find themes for OsCommerce?
  • Bluehost
  • Web Hosting Hub
  • InMotion Hosting
  • DotEasy
  • Arvixe

Jigoshop


Jigoshop is a WordPress eCommerce platform that combines broad functionality, easy migration options and much more to turn your WordPress installation into a complete online shop.


Where to find themes for Jigoshop?

Spree Commerce


Spree Commerce is an automated eCommerce platform that manages all aspects of your fulfillment process, so you can focus on serving customers. Spree commerce is an open source e-commerce solution based on Ruby on Rails


Theme for Spree Commerce:
Recommended Hosting [Source]
  • A Small Orange
  • VPS.net
  • Eleven2
  • Site5
  • A2Hosting

Zen Cart


Zen Cart is an online store management system. It is based in PHP, uses a MySQL database and HTML components.


Where to find themes for Zen Cart?
Recommended Hosting
  • Geekhost
  • Bluehost
  • Hostmonster
  • Digital Ocean

Woocommerce


With 9,681,101 downloads WooCommerce powers over 30% of all online stores. It is a free eCommerce solution which is actually world's favorite eCommerce solution as well. This free WordPress plugin gives you complete control to sell almost anything.


Where to find themes for Woocommerce?
Recommended Hosting for Woocommerce
  • Bluehost
  • Siteground

WP e-Commerce


The WP eCommerce Plugin is everything you need to sell anywhere! Convert visitors to customers with a beautiful online store and a secure shopping cart.

Download | Demo

Where to find themes compatible with WP eCommerce plugin?
Recommended Hosting
  • Hostgator
  • WP Engine 

Drupal Commerce

Drupal Commerce is used to build eCommerce websites and applications of all sizes. At its core it is lean and mean, enforcing strict development standards and leveraging the greatest features of Drupal 7 and major modules like Views and Rules for maximum flexibility.

Download | Demo

Where to find themes compatible with WP eCommerce plugin?
 Recommended Hosting

SimpleCart


simpleCart is a free and open-source JavaScript shopping cart that easily integrates with your current website. No databases, no programming, no headaches. A simple JavaScript shopping cart that you can setup in minutes. It's lightweight, fast, simple to use, and completely customizable.

Download | Demo

Recommended Hosting
Well for this really simple and lightweight eCommerce solution your current hosting will also do but
if you don't have one  I'll recommend you to see these top 5 web hosting providers.

Other Honorable Mentions

  • Thelia
  • Sylius
  • pimCore
  • Ubercart
  • TomatoCart
  • Cubecart
  • XTCMODIFIED ECOMMERCE SHOPSOFTWARE
  • VamShop
  • osCmax
  • ONXSHOP
  • AXISCOMMERCE
  • ALEGROCART
  • JOOMA + VIRTUEMART
  • Agora Cart
  • ZeusCart
  • LiteCommerce
  • HeroCommerce
  • nopCommerce
  • microweber
  • Kartris
  • Loaded Commerce
  • osCSS
I hope this guide helped you choose the best free & opensource eCommerce solution but I'd love to hear from you.
Which one you have used and what are your thoughts on the same? Let me know your answers in comments below.

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5 comments :

  1. Replies
    1. Hey Ajeesh, I'm happy that you found this guide helpful

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  2. Amazing collection of knowledge. People who are really concerned about the looks of their website may take help from the specially designed after effects templates so that you would be able to get an amazing and impressive website.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Blog extension gives you a noteworthy opportunity to communicate with your regular customers and casual visitors.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right Umesh. Blog is an important part of your website for communication.

      Delete