Top 10 Easy-To-Use Free eCommerce Platforms To ConsiderBy: Reuben Yonatan, on September 03, 2013
Picking the right eCommerce platform is an important step when building your web site. Hosted eCommerce platforms charge you a fee, either monthly or yearly, while open-source platforms are free. This article will look at some of the top free platforms. Open-source and free platforms are the choice of many web hosting providers for beginners. Compared to enterprise or premium services, they do lack some technical support.
One of the most popular open source platforms, Magento has 150,000 companies under either its open source version or enterprise package. It has a modular architecture giving web site builders lots of flexibility. The Community Edition is compatible with smartphones, can support multiple stores and store views, and gives detailed reports of customer activity. It also has tools to get customers to buy more, including cross-sells, up-sells, related products, coupons, and SEO tags. Magento Community has online resources, but does not include traditional technical support.
Used in 150 countries in 54 languages, PrestaShop is one of the top do-it-yourself eCommerce platforms.Google, Office Depot and BusinessTech are among the organizations that use Prestashop. It supports payment gateways like Google Checkout, PayPal, Authorize.net and Skrill. It has a number of modules free of charge, but more advanced modules are available as an add-on through their marketplace. Among the 300+ eCommerce features, there are options available to customize shipping rules, SEO o, up-selling and related items, and analytics/reporting. PrestaShop has technical support packages starting at $399 per year.
Ubercart is an open-source module that is integrated with Drupal. Ubercart has settings for selling physical goods, virtual goods, file downloads, even event tickets. It has single page checkout option, and simple order processing, creation, and editing. Ubercart supports payment gateways like PayPal, Authorize.net, and Cyber Source. You can define shipping costs internally, or connect with UPS/USPS/FedEx's server to get a shipping quote instantly. Technical support issues are handled through Drupal, which is open-source.
In constant development for over 6 years, AFCommerce has been installed and tested on a quarter of a million web sites. AFCommerce uses PayPal and Google Checkout as its primary payment gateways, but also supports other gateways. It's simple and easy for beginners to pick up, but not the best looking platform. New user accounts are generated after one purchase. AFCommerce allows an unlimited amount of categories and sub-categories. Multiple default currencies and the option of kilograms of pounds, as well as many shipping options. There is an HTML editor for product descriptions, and you can also add manufacturer logos. AFCommerce also has detailed consumer analytics and reporting. Some technical support is available online.
AgoraCart is designed to be as simple or as complex as the user wants it. AgoraCart actually has undocumented code that only the most advanced users (called “AgoraNauts) can exploit to give more flexibility and power. For the rest of us, AgoraCart's flexible modular system allos for customized headers, footers, product pages, order forms, thank you pages, emails, and CSS files. AgoraCart has over 10 shipping methods and 10 payment gateways. AgoraCart has a “gold” version that includes support and gold version modules and templates.
ZeusCart was designed to have a rich user interface and highly usable software, with web2.0 in mind. Zeuscart V3 had digital downloads, graphical stats at administration panel, getting started links, a UI admin panel, and is SEO friendly. ZeusCart's specialty is that no programming skills or knowledge are necessary to use ZeusCart to set up a world-class eCommerce web site. ZeusCart also allows you to manage your online store from anywhere you have an Internet connection.
The first open-source shopping cart solution designed for all digital devices, including smartphones and tablets.
The RIA-based administration panel has a GUI and has multi-window operation. Customers will be able to shop by price, manufacturer, or via search term. In addition to physical products, TomatoCart supports virtual downloads, downloadable products, and even gift certificates. Allows for quantity discount, and product recommendations. Also allows one-page and guest checkout, with tax and shipping quotes, flat rate ship, or free shipping. Payment gateways include Amazon IPN, Authorize.net, Google Checkout, PayPal, and Western Union, among others. Allows for multiple languages and currencies. In addition to the free platform, TomatoCart partners with Arvixe web hosting to have TomatoCart preloaded in a hosting package. They also partner with different solutions companies for premium templates.
Storesprite is a fully-featured eCommerce solution that is scalable to thousands of products and shoppers. Among its many features are similar product upsells, special offers, product search, best sellers, latest products, printable receipts, and discounts.13 payment gateways, including PayPal. Administrative features include shipping rules, including offering free shipping, order tracking, and basic reporting tools. Can be customized if you are familiar with HTML and CSS. Storesprite comes with copyright notices embedded in their tools. You can remove these copyright notices for a fee.
10. Zen Cart
Zen Cart is PHP-based, and uses a MySQL database and HTML components. A branch of osCommerce, Zen Cart became a separate product in 2003.The open-source community adds new features to Zen Cart with the use of plug-ins. Some of these plug-ins include administrative tools, button and graphics, upselling tools, payment modules, pricing tools, shipping rules. Payment gateways include LinkPoint, PayPal, and Authorize.net. Templates are available through third-party web sites. Zen Cart can be customized to your liking, provided you have an understanding of how to implement the proper plug-ins, which, it should be noted, are not guaranteed, just like other open-source projects.
When deciding on the right eCommerce platform for you, decide which will suit your needs best. For some, it's important to get a web site up and running as quickly and easily as possible; for others, the priority is to make a website that is fully customizable; still others want behind-the-scenes features like the ability to code the web site to make it exactly how you want, or to have powerful options. Remember that in terms of features per se, many of these platforms have the same basic features and this article does not have an exhaustive list, just the highlights. When choosing, focus on the things that make each different, like templates, payment gateways, and mobile compatibility.