The self hosted open source shopping carts for your ecommerce website are a viable option, as they come for a very meagre cost. The are supported by a large number of developers and a well established community that can help you setup your website and solve queries.
For these type of shoppings carts, you need to buy your own hosting, as compared to hosted shopping carts such as shopify and bigcommerce. I have discussed about hosted shopping cart for your ecommerce site in detail here.
Magento is an open source shopping cart solution that helps you set up your own ecommerce store. It is considered as the king of shopping cart market and dominates the market with 25.6% share for its community edition.
Magento has two editions to offer to its consumers: enterprise and community. While community edition is free and easy to install, enterprise edition has an yearly fees of about USD 16,000 yearly.
For small businesses and startups, community edition just works perfectly and helps you to establish a perfect ecommerce website.
Here are some pros and cons of using Magento:
- It can support a large number of products. There are no issues with the scalability.
- The site can be fully customised and can be designed accordingly. You can definitely churn out some beautiful and attractive websites.
- One of the strongest benefit is that Magento is completely SEO friendly than other shopping carts.
- The administration panel is quite user friendly and can give you access to large number of reports.
- It is also mobile friendly, supports multiple currency and languages.
- Due to its size and features, it is often recommended to host magento on dedicated servers than shared servers. The cost of these servers are higher than shared hosting.
- Good Magento developers are difficult to get. Magento often requires specialised knowledge and a good understanding of object based environment.
- Getting site developed on Magento might be a bit expensive than opencart and other shopping carts.
- The enhanced and integrated magento framework often makes it complicated and complex. It may take a lot of time to customise the theme and the template.
Here are some websites using magento:
Opencart is yet another open source shopping cart using PHP and mySQL. It is easy and free to use. You just download opencart, install, add and customise theme, and simply start taking orders. It has lower cost than most of its counterparts and has a very friendly admin panel.
Some of the advantages and disadvantages of opencart are:
- It can be easily installed on shared hosting with thousands of products. Initially, you may not need to invest in dedicated server.
- It has a very active community and is actively developed. Recently, Opencart V2 was launched that has come over a lot of bugs and disadvantages of its previous version.
- The plugins and extensions are not very expensive as compared to magento.
- There are a lot of themes and templates are available in the market for free and premium. You can easily customise them with a little knowledge of HTML and PHP.
- A neat, clean and easy to use admin panel is one of the major advantages of opencart.
- The V2 version is mobile responsive, supports multiple currencies and languages.
- The basic features available for free are limited as compared to magento. You might have to install third party plugins to get that feature that might be paid or free.
- The forum is active, but your query might take some time to be answered.
- It is not suitable for large scale businesses, as it may be difficult to work smoothly with the system at later stages.
- The loading time of the site may be a bit slow with large number of products, though it can be tweaked with extensions and plugins.
Here are some websites using opencart:
Presta Shop is also a free to install and use open source cart management solution. It is very simple to customise and offers more than 300 features.
Here are some advantages and disadvantages:
- It requires least amount of technical skills to customise and design.
- It is good for small sized shop owners.
- The development and maintenance cost is very low.
- An active forum is present to answer your queries.
- A huge number of themes are available for free or for a small price.
- Poor code quality. It is said t have a lot of bugs.
- It may be difficult to customise if writing the code is required. It should be customised by adding modules and extensions.
- Some much needed modules may have to be purchased separately.
Websites using Prestashop:
There are also a number of other self hosting open source carts such as:
- Virtue mart
- Cube Cart
I am not discussing the above in detail, however each of the carts provide basic functionality of an ecommerce website. Apart from these, you can also create an ecommerce website using wordpress CMS.
Are you setting up your ecommerce website from scratch? Then I will not recommend wordpress based shopping carts due to following reasons:
- WooCommerce is not an extensive shopping cart and is limited to few features. It does not satisfy the correct ecommerce sales funnel.
- Developer will need to add a lot of plugins to make it workable and serve basic needs of an ecommerce website.
- It is not a viable option for an ecommerce with thousand of products. It might restrict your operations to certain number of products.
- The premium plugins for wooCommerce are very expensive. It might not be possible for you to get your site up and running without them sometimes.
- It is not a standalone cart, it requires wordpress installation first. WooCommerce cannot be used without wordpress installed on your website.
However, there are some advantages as well:
- It is also to some extent cost effective. There are many free themes, extensions and plugins available in the market. They are easy to install and customise.
- It is great for users having a wordpress website. Since it uses wordpress, then users have familiarity with wordpress CMS and can easily integrate woo commerce in their website.
- WordPress has a very active community, which can help you to resolve your queries.
- It is free to download and integrate. Many hosting platforms such as go daddy and hostgator also provide one click installation of woo commerce.
Other eCommerce Carts supported by WordPress are:
Here is the market share of each shopping cart:
Magento is the king of ecommerce shopping cart industry and dominates the market completely. However, if you are a bit tight on the budget and do not have very high and precise requirements, I will definitely recommend you opencart. In India, you can easily get a decent website on opencart customised at a cost of 30k. Opencart offers a lot of features, and a right developer can make your store look beautiful and user friendly at right prices.