When it comes to picking an e-commerce platform for your business it is not about picking the best cart. It is about picking the right. You shouldn’t focus on the details of the software but how that software will help you in creating an ideal e-store.
This article covers the most awesome platforms for Ecommerce stores.
Most amateur entrepreneurs believe that getting the best software will get them the best results. They couldn’t be farther from the truth.
You can easily see from the Google trends analysis below that Magento is the best shopping cart platform all over the world.
Magento may be the most popular as well as the most sought for e-commerce platform, and rightly so I might add, but it certainly isn’t easiest one. To make a shopping cart on a Magento platform you need high level coders who have had long term experience working with Magento.
Magento has been considered that best e-cart platform as it offers almost an endless list of customization. It is because of these customization features that Magento is also the toughest to crack e-commerce platform.
- It is a sturdy platform that is perfect for enterprise level shopping carts.
- Carts made on Magento platform can be customized completely according your needs and specifications. You will be hard pressed to find two similar Magento based shopping carts.
- As an open source platform it has excellent community support.
- Maintenance is expensive.
- Functions well only with a 24/7 support of an on deck technical team.
- Drain on resources.
- Not ideal for small online businesses.
According towww.trends.builtwith.com currently there are 181,785+ Magento based store. Out of these stores some well known stores are Pepe Jeans store, Nike store, Sweatshop store, Oneida store and many more.
WooCommerce is actually a famous WordPress plugin that is used for the purposes of running a WordPress based e-commerce store.
WooCommerce is a free plugin that can be upgraded by purchasing further extensions.
Currently WooCommerce has around 229 extensions out of which you can pick the ones that suit the needs of your store.
WooCommerce is known for its simplicity and sophistication. In the short time of its arrival it has gained immense popularity in the WordPress community and is currently the most searched for WordPress plugin.
- Easy to use
- Big community for user support
- Perfect for small to medium business
- Affiliate product option
- SEO optimized.
- Not for enterprise level businesses.
- Shows trouble in managing huge product lists.
- Can only be built on a WordPress platform.
According to the statistic analysis ofwww.trends.builtwith.com there are 253,479 active websites that run on the WooCommerce plugin.
This linkhttp://wooshowcase.com/ shows some of the recent websites that have been built on WooCommerce.
Prestashop is an open source ecommerce platform that came from the beautiful city of Paris. It was launched in the year 2007, and has been popular ever since.
It is an extremely sophisticated software and has had over 3 million downloads. Around 150,000 stores are currently run on Prestashop.
As Prestashop is a self hosting e-store solution, it means that you will have to look for a hosting service before you decide to work on Prestashop.
- Intuitive template that is easy to understand and use.
- Integrates around 16 Payment Gateways including PayPal, Authorize.net, Hipay and many more.
- Elegant E-stores built on Prestashop have an aura that screams sophistication. Very few online stores come close to Prestashop in terms of template designing.
- SEO Utility: Prestashop stores come with a promise of some amazing SEO utility that will easily rank your website on Google.
- Expensive add-ons and integrations that can shake your budget.
- Messy upgrades, which is why many stores never sync their Prestashop websites into current upgrades because it is a big hassle.
- No after hours support: Prestashop is the only platform does not offer any after hours support.
- Outdated smarty template feature is a part of this platform, that makes this store a nuisance for new age coders.
OpenCart is another popular open source platform that has made this list. It was made in Hong Kong and came into the picture in the year 2007. Since then many fans have sworn by it and believe it to be an ideal solution for small to medium businesses.
According to the research done bywww.trends.builtwith.com currently there are 179,385 active websites that are run on OpenCart. You can check many currently run OpenCart shops from this linkhttp://www.opencart.com/index.php?route=feature/liveshop.
- Fast setup process.
- 700+ gateways available on the extensions directory.
- Basic version comes with Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook integration.
- Active 24/7 community support.
- Easy to understand CMS and a user friendly admin panel that is easy to navigate.
- Installing upgrades on an OpenCart platform is a messy affair.
- Customization on OpenCart is a feat that only well versed coders can handle.
- As it is a self hosted platform, you have to find a hosting service.
- There is always a need to buy third party plug-ins to run a successful and interactive store.
5. Zen Cart
Zen Cart was made as a fork of OsCommerce in the year 2003. It has been present for more than a decade and has resulted in a huge community of volunteer programmers who keep coming up with new age plug-ins.
There is no other E-commerce platform other than Zen Cart that has come up with the most mixed reviews. It is a gold mine for those who are skilled at coding and a nightmare for those who need a user friendly platform to code on.
As a free open source platform, there is no other platform in the web that has a huge range of free plugins. While some might think that with all its free plug-ins Zen Cart is the platform to go for, they couldn’t be more wrong.
The money they you save in not buying paid plugins on other carts is used in hiring an on deck skilled programmer who will manage the back end of your website.
According to this linkhttp://trends.builtwith.com/shop/Zen-Cart currently there are 100,092 shopping carts that are run on Zen Cart.
- Hundreds of free plugins.
- Highly active support forum.
- Amazing customization capability.
- A bargain as compared to other shopping carts.
- Has a steep learning curve that will require an on deck programmer.
- Updating the version can be very complicated.
- Many users have reported a lagging issue when the number of products increases 2000.
- Not SEO friendly: horrible SEO plugins.
- Issues with plugins that provide mobile compatibility.
Shopify is a web based platform that is slowly becoming very popular. It is a great option for users who want a fully functioning store without worrying about the technical knowhow.
Shopify is known for its beautiful templates that make for a very attractive shopping store. It was established in the year 2005 and has catered to over 50,000 customers in the meantime.
When it comes to ease of use Shopify is a perfect 10/10. Very few stores in today’s age can brag about this level of simplicity.
However, all these easy benefits are not without their price. Most customers avoid using Shopify as their platform as the monthly as well as yearly charges are pretty steep.
You can check out their current rates at their company website.
Currently there are 49,240 live websites that are run by Shopify. You can have a look at their gallery athttp://www.shopify.in/examples?ref=merchant-maverick to get an idea of the kind of stores that this platform can produce.
- Extremely easy to use
- Excellent 24/7 staff support
- Awesome SEO optimization features
- Impressive designing templates
- Expensive at every level: The all too amazing features of Shopify come at a very steep price.
- Checkout Redirect: When customers check out of a Shopify run website they are directed to the gateway that is run by Shopify which is has received mixed responses.
- Transaction Fees: It is another sore point among many Shopify users who find it very unfair.
- Lack of a One Page Checkout: Another much hated feature of a Shopify shopping cart.
BigCommerce is another web based e-commerce platform that provides services similar to Shopify. However, in terms of ease of use, Shopify certainly wins the deal.
It is the perfect platform for users who don’t want to trouble themselves with coding and want an easy to install and setup online shopping cart.
As you can see in the following linkhttp://trends.builtwith.com/shop/BigCommerce, that currently there are 43,645 active sites that have been built on BigCommerce.
You can check out their pricing plans athttp://www.bigcommerce.com/pricing/.
- No Transaction Fees: this is a big crowd pleaser among many users.
- They even offer a design guide so that designers can design templates on their platform with relative ease.
- BigCommerce has many tutorials that can help you to run your BigCommerce store in a smooth fashion.
- Pretty neat SEO functionality (minus the Aaron Wall Fiasco, visit linkhttp://www.seobook.com/big-commerce to know more)
- BigCommerce like Prestashop offers no after hours support that can be very annoying for users who want easy to access solutions.
- Their templates are too simple and boring and make for really bland online stores.
- Not Customization friendly.
Established in the year 1999 Volusion is a cloud based ecommerce platform. It is an all in one shopping platform that virtually takes care of all your shopping cart needs.
Currently there are 23,325 online stores that have been made on Volusion. Volusion currently caters to globally recognized clients like National Geographic, Chicago Tribune and many more.
To have a peek into the different types of stores that have been run by Volusion you can visithttp://www.volusion.com/ecommerce-client-gallery.
The admin panel is pretty easy to understand. When it comes to tutorials Volusion has left no stone unturned in educating.
In terms of security Volusion is just about perfect; it comes with PCI compliance and generates hourly backups of all your data.
- Amazing tutorial services.
- Unlike Shopify, Volusion offers multiple product variations
- It generates hourly backups.
- User Friendly interface
- Ordinary templates that do not attract the audience.
- Their 2009 fiasco of downtime internet time when they shifted to an in house hosting has made many enemies of Volusion.
- Unlike Shopify, Volusion has been noted to be pretty stingy in terms of bandwidth coverage and charges users who exceed this limit.
Established in the year 2000 in Germany OsCommerce has been a party to many mixed reviews.
The biggest complaint that osCommerce has received is regarding their security which has turned away numerous customers who were working on an osCommerce platform and switched to a different one after suffering from security breaks.
However, despite past issues currently there are 83,881 active stores according to a research conducted by trends.builtwith.com.
- It offers a huge range of free plugins.
- An extremely active support community.
- An affordable solution compared to other paid platforms.
- It received a lot of bad press in the year 2011 when millions of innocent customers became victims of hacker attacks.
- The software requires a team of on deck developers because of complex code structure.
- Outdated designs that are no longer considered attractive.
- Very weak SEO that is a major drawback for businessman who wish to promote their brand.
10. Virtue Mart
Just like WooCommerce, VirtueMart is a plugin that runs on the CMS Joomla. It is a free plugin that is easy to use for users who are comfortable over the Joomla CMS.
VirtueMart was a very popular e-store plugin, however, in the past few years its use has gone down to mere 4,884 live websites from an astounding 344,579 websites according to the research conducted on the linkhttp://trends.builtwith.com/shop/VirtueMart.
While the number of free extensions offered by VirtueMart range in thousands, it still requires an on deck coder and designer who can teach you how to run your store.
- Free plugin that can be considered an affordable option.
- An improved interface that is more user friendly as compared to its previous version.
- Relatively easy to use for users who are comfortable with the Joomla platform.
- Requires technical knowledge that is not every newbie’s cup of tea.
- Lacks community support.
- Extra add-ons can easily add up and make your cart more expensive than Shopify.
- Slow site speed is another drawback that has put off many previous VirtueMart users.
After reviewing this detailed list of shopping platform you will be easily able to pick one that will suit your needs and work smoothly in your budget.