Due to the Pandemic, the businesses are down and the economy has been hit hard as ever. People are now reluctant to visit the physical store due to the apparent reason. People are now seeking more online shopping options and hence the e-commerce business is growing like ever before. Everyone wants to go online as this is not a trend but it is rather necessary now.
E-commerce purchase has increased a lot. The purchase from mobile has accounted for 25% rise, a total of $163.25 billion. It is estimated that by 2021, mobile sales will go up 75%. The e-commerce industry will reach a whopping $3.5 trillion.
Individuals and entrepreneurs are now looking to create their online e-commerce stores as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible.
The dilemma many of you face is which way to go, open-source or close source? If open source then which platform?
Selecting the open-source platform is a daunting task as the options are in abundance. Each of the open-source platforms has its own unique features and restrictions. Meaning each has its own pros and cons.
You should always select the platform based on your requirements and also understand at what stage your business is? Meaning you are just starting a new business, or you are already an established player in your niche.
Before selecting any of the open-source platforms, a few points you must consider.
- The speed of the website.
- Data security.
- Responsive to all devices.
- Easy to Navigate.
People already using the free open-source models and platforms are happy with it; however, exceptions are always there. The major factors you will be happy with is, the e-commerce is completely free, easy to install and their scalability. You will find numerous developers across the globe to assist you. Also, the information via blogs, articles, YouTube videos are available to serve your purpose.
While making your research, you need to first decide the development type that you wish to have.
Ask yourself below questions:
- Are you interested in self-hosting?
- Allow someone else to host your website with small fees to be paid as subscription every month?
I would rather prefer the first one.
The frameworks of open source platforms are free. The creativity is under your belt. You can design your own website the way you want. The platforms are regularly developed and the providers add new features and functionalities on a regular basis.
You have the control of your hosting, themes, plugins or extensions you want to integrate.
However, there are pros and cons of open-source e-commerce platforms.
There are many players in the market but lets us go through the best 5 free open-source e-commerce platform with their main features in below table.
Top 5 Free Open-Source E-commerce platforms.
Let’s discuss some pros and cons of each of these platforms
- Magento: Best for small to medium size business levels.
Pros: Multi-store functionality, flexible shipping and payment options, highly active Magento community, availability of themes and extensions in abundance.
Cons: Bit difficult initially for a non-technical person. Shipping calculations have little bit issue.
- WooCommerce: It is integrated with WordPress and hence it is very easy to operate.
Pros: Stable content management. Customized checkout. Many options for theme and design.
Cons: Some hidden cost and pricing. If you are a non-technical, then it will take time for you to get acquainted. Very limited customer support.
- OpenCart: Best for small to medium-size business. Low operating costs. Plenty of customizable options.
Pros: Multiple Check out options. High level and enhanced reporting. Large marketplace.
Cons: Paid Add-on functionalities. Limited support.
- PrestaShop: Very good options for small and medium-size business owners.
Pros: Good customer service. Flexible payment options. Inventory management.
Cons: Tough to learn for a person with less or limited technical knowledge. Expensive or paid customer support.
- Shopware: Simple admin dashboard. CMS is easier to use. Double-click and drag-and-drop features.
Pros: Simple and easy to use
Cons: Very few community developers. Fewer plugins or extensions are available.
Conclusion: Learn before you leap. Think that based on your business, is An Open Source Ecommerce Platform is the correct option for you?
As I said, there are many other very good e-commerce platforms available, which I have not included in the above table.
The most significant here is the above platforms are totally free and they are developed constantly. This helps you to save some cash, and moreover they are easy to use and operate.
Before jumping on to open source, you should also look at non-open source platforms such as Shopify, Volusion, and BigCommerce.
The main drawback of these platforms are there they are not free, there is a monthly fee to be paid. For the fees you pay, they will provide you with hosting and also customer support.