As more people turn to the internet to buy their favourite things, the opportunity for eCommerse stores has never been so bountiful. Sales records suggest that online retail isn’t finished growing either, as people ditch the high street for their smartphones, tablets and computers. So you web designer and developers reading this can expect the clients to keep rolling in with requests for an online store to get their new business up and running.
Most start ups and small business owners are normally looking for an affordable eCommerce platform that offers them all the features they need to turn traffic into money, without handling all the technical stuff. Luckily, there are a number of high quality open source eCommerce platforms to simplify all that functionality and data for them. Better yet, many of them are free, which means you can set your clients up with a powerful eCommerce platform – without delving into the more complex side of PHP and databasing.
Here are ten of the best free eCommerce platforms that make business quicker and easier for you and your clients. If you or your client is willing to spend a little for a fully functional platform then you may also want to check out Shopify which have plenty of cool themes reviews in our ecommerce section here. If not, check out the free options below.
Magneto is one of the biggest names in eCommerce and it comes with a free Community Edition. You can customise the core code yourself and add or remove features with extensions from the Magneto marketplace. There are also a ton of Magento Themes available which will save a lot of time styling the front end.
Woo Themes changed the WordPress eCommerce game when it rolled out the WooCommerce plugin. The toolkit transforms supported WordPress themes into powerful online stores with an intuitive UI, making it a perfect combo for non-technical business owners. The best WordPress themes that are compatible with wooCommerce can be found here. They are not free (typically less than $60) but they costs a fraction of what a bespoke design of equal quality would cost.
CubeCart is a simple yet powerful platform that allows you to have an online store up and running in no time. CubeCart Lite is now available, offering a streamlined although less extensive eCommerce solution for free.
TomatoCart is a dynamic platform designed to give you more control and solid performance across multiple devices. Based on Codeigniter with a modular framework, you can add or remove features quickly without touching any code.
Spree Commerce is another open source solution – this time powered by Ruby on Rails – which makes it easy to customise for developers. Your client gets great functionality too, with extensive support for payment gateways and custom tax logic, plus Google Analytics to keep track of their website on a wider scale.
ZeusCart is an advanced PHP platform, designed with the latest web technologies. Powered by Twitter Bootstrap, ZeusCart is fully responsive with a range of features created to simplify the eCommerce experience for business owners.
osCommerce is a flexible and highly-secure piece of software that gives you full control and extensive features to sell products online. With multiple language support and custom currencies, osCommerce is ideal for businesses with an international audience – while backup options, custom taxes and shipping options are just a few of the diverse features on this platform. A few cool osCommerce templates can be found here.
OpenCart is another free package designed with the user and search engines in mind. You can have your online store up and running in no time, while OpenCart comes with lifetime free support and upgrades to keep your online store up-to-date. The advantage of OpenCart is the wealth of professional themes and templates available.
PrestaShop is designed for businesses on a mission to grow and you get support for third-party product listings on eBay, Amazon, Google Shopping and more. You have thousands of templates to choose from, including very professional ones that can be bought for less than $70, and extensive features on offer, while PrestaShops unique layered navigation is designed to make browsing websites a breeze for users.
If you know of any free eCommerce platforms that should have made it onto our list, let us know. We’re constantly updating our articles to keep WDH a valuable resource for designers, developers and site owners.