More and more companies are opting for the virtual platform to expand their businesses and gain more customers. Nowadays simply having a website won’t do you any good, entrepreneurs must be aware of the various e-commerce tools and applications out there as well. For those who do not know, open source software’s code can be contributed to/altered/improved for free by any user under the General Public License (GPL), of course, without impacting the core software, leaving all the enhancements and add-ons as optional for users. Established enterprises and growing start-ups are all resorting to open source CMS (Content Management System) tools for boosting their enterprise. The top 10 CMS tools for e-commerce websites are discussed below:
Anyone who has a business website online must have probably used or at least heard of Magento! It is considered to be among the biggest names in e-commerce. Users can get all the basic ecommerce store development functionalities along with some free themes here. However, you’ll have to pay a nominal amount to access the more advanced and premium tools. Magento has a lot of extensions in its core system that allow you to integrate live chat, tax calculations and inventory management options for free. Web hosting, domain registration, payment gateways and security packages are available here but can be accessed only after you pay the subscription amount.
OpenCart is an open source CMS development solution that allows users to convert their ordinary blogs into full-fledged web stores and e-commerce platforms in a matter of minutes. Used by almost 576,000+ websites, this small yet powerful software is great for all kinds of business models. Designed and developed in Hong Kong, OpenCart is now accessible throughout the globe thanks to its multilingual nature. Users can trade in all the major global currencies and use either of the 20 payment gateways and 8 shipping methods to dispatch their goods/services to customers. Amateurs and budding entrepreneurs will find the platform especially appealing as there is no need to indulge in hard-core coding using OpenCart.
Spree Commerce is a CMS platform powered by Ruby on Rails. The open source platform loaded with high-tech features is an absolute delight for coders; however, amateurs will have a hard time figuring it out. The platform currently powers over 45000 stores worldwide and comes with an aesthetically appealing and customisable interface. The developer’s community is also pretty diverse, offering a lot of resources to help people out with common troubleshooting issues. Some of the well-known clients of Spree Commerce include Chipotle and Puppet Labs. Spree Commerce is a smart choice for users who possess the technical know-how (or at least the money to hire a professional) to leverage its codebase and build a power packed e-store on it.
osCommerce has been around for over 16 years, supporting over 13,300 stores worldwide. The interface, though a bit outdated (the frontend functionality feels a lot like an older version on Amazon), is pretty user-friendly and responsive. Also, the platform offers a diverse range of features, with over 7000 add-ons, and two spinoff projects. The developer’s community is wide and ever growing with over 285,720 members and more than 1.6 million posts. Some of the e-stores powered by osCommerce include Ubuntu Shop, SoundControl4Less, and Persico. However, for all its efficiency, the platform cannot really compete with the advance CMS solutions available online. It is a decent choice for first-time users who want to be acquainted with the workings of an e-commerce framework.
WooCommerce is an e-commerce application developed for WordPress users that currently powers over 37% of the stores you find online. The platform is the best option for anyone who wants to convert their WordPress blog into an e-commerce store or platform without having to spend a dime. The basic features and themes are all accessible for free; however, you do have to spend some money on the more premium features and templates. The open source CMS solution is scalable, user-friendly and flexible, hence perfectly suited for all business models irrespective of their size and customer base.
PrestaShop is another hit e-commerce solution on our list today that offers top-notch CMS support for powerful e-marketing and enhances the functionality of your website. Catering to over 250000 clients including some big names such as Zippo Lighters and Fashion Stork, the platform is available worldwide and supports multiple languages and currency denominations. This open source application offers a wide range of free themes and graphics compatible with almost every device. Also, it doesn’t really involve a lot of complex coding or an in-depth knowledge of HTML5 or PHP. PrestaShop has won many accolades as well including the best Open Source Shopping Cart Software by EcommerceBytes Seller’s Choice Awards in 2013.
Shopify started off as an e-commerce tool that soon expanded into a full-fledged ecommerce web builder where you could build, launch and host stores, blogs and web pages for free. The CMS tools offered here allow you to further expand your website’s reach and performance. It is an ideal choice for beginners and budding businessmen who have little or no experience with the technicalities of web development. Choose from over a hundred themes, install from over 1500+ extensions or share your content over several social media networks- you can do it all here in just a few clicks. Shopify currently hosts over 375000 stores online that are mobile friendly as well.
Drupal is perhaps one of the most comprehensive and responsive of e-commerce solutions, and caters to the needs of both small-scale developers and professionals. Some of their high profile clients include Open Sesame and Lush Cosmetics. The Drupal CMS software was designed by Commerce Guys and is one of the only multilingual interfaces where you can deal with multiple currencies. Drupal can be integrated with many third-party apps and extensions as well for better functionality and performance. Also, the CMS system is a lot more powerful in producing strong marketing strategies than most other options available. On the downside, the customer support and community is pretty expensive for budding entrepreneurs.
VirtueMart (for Joomla)
Joomla is another e-commerce website builder that is a hit among small and medium scale enterprises online. VirtueMart, a German platform was designed in 2004 to work with Joomla 2.5 and 3 versions, boasting of more than 500 features and a pretty active developer’s community. With over 348, 487 downloads, the CMS software is especially popular in US and Russia. VirtueMart has a very concise core system comprising of only 3-5 developers. Tech-savvy users and coders will find the platform pretty delightful and robust. You must be well acquainted with PHP and Joomla CMS to explore advanced functionalities. Additional plugins and add-ons are quite expensive.
WordPress is one of the most popular website builders for budding bloggers and developers hosting more than half the web platforms that you see online today. JigoShop by WordPress offers users the advantage of having backend functionality that’ll simplify navigation. Catering to more than 512,739 users worldwide, the platform offers a decent range of themes, templates, and graphics for better customisation. However, you’ll have to pay a hefty amount to access the more premium themes. JigoShop is currently being revamped, there’s going to be some major changes in the interface that we’re eagerly looking out for.