One of the biggest challenge any small business faces while developing and ecommerce store is What technology to use ? There are several open source packages for shopping carts available which can be easily integrated with the payment gateways and have massive community for support and plugins. If one doesn’t wishes to get in to the hassle of learning how to setup these opensource packages there are alternatives available in the market like Shopify. Its the most convenient way to get your business online.
If you are the kind who likes to get their hands dirty and would like to control the things you can setup a open source shopping store. Following are the top three open source shopping carts.
1. Magento : Magento is truly the market leader, It has all the bells and whistles plus a massive community and market place. Though the community edition comes with most of the functionality the store would require there is always and option to add on the functionality by purchasing the plugins from an online market place. You also have an option to move to a paid version like Magento Go or Magento Enterprise if you business grows and demands more professional support.
Star Features : Product suggestion tools with ratings and Customer segmentation are two star features of this shopping cart.
2. Prestashop : Its a close competitor to Magento and has a massive plugin marketplace (over 25000) plugins available. Prestashop is hugely popular in Europe and is a no full low cost easy to maintain online store. With over 200,000 stores active, prestashop is truly a world class shopping cart with all the features required to setup the store.
Star Features : Ease of customizations with a robust back end is the start feature of Prestashop.
3. Open Cart : Open Cart is the newest entrant in this field. Though being new its still caught the fancy of a lot of developers. The reason why open cart picked up is because its the easiest to setup and customize. Lot of new developers like working on Opencart as its easier to manage the design templates in Open Cart. The only problem that we found with open cart is that we have to purchase the plugins for even basics of the features.
Start Features : If you need a store where you need to have a multi currency and geo location setup the Open Cart is your best bet.
Once you decide on the Shopping Cart the other things that you need to consider are the following
1. Purchasing a domain name : Choosing the right name is half the battle won. The name should be catchy and should immediately register with the customer.
2. Picking up the design : There are a lot of online market places selling themes for all the three shopping carts. Theme Forest and Template monster are two of the most popular market places for picking up the themes.
3. Getting the right hosting support : Picking up the right host is one of the most important cog. Not only the host should have excellent support it should also have monitoring services with redundant backup solutions.
4. Purchasing the SSL and launching the website. Its important to have a SSL installed to make the site secure.