Jun 07 2012

Showcase of Awesome e-Commerce Platforms for Your Website

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With the advent of online shopping and marketing, e-commerce websites have become the norm for businesses, both big and small. The number of online shopping stores as well as vendors and firms selling their products or services on the internet is increasing everyday, and this has added to the importance of capable e-commerce platforms.

And when it comes to e-commerce platforms, the options are numerous. In this article, we take a look at some of the best known e-commerce platforms to help you create your own online store. Most such platforms offer a similar set of features – ranging from awesome integration with payment gateways to secure shopping carts. Some of these platforms also come with hosting plans of their own, as we shall soon see. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the major e-commerce platforms.

On With the Show-case

Magento

Magento is one of the most popular e-commerce CMSs that boasts of having over 100,000 users. Magento offers separate solutions based on your business needs, including Enterprise and Small Business versions. The company also conducts Developer Certification programs.

Magento

Highwire

Highwire is a unique solution in the sense that apart from setting up your own store, you can also use it to sell on eBay or Facebook. Plus, you can sync your inventory across multiple channels of e-commerce – thus, no matter where you decide to sell, be it your own site or eBay, you can always keep track of all orders and payments from one centralized system. It comes loaded with excellent mobile-friendly features (including iOS and Android apps). While most features are Premium, there is also a Free plan.

Highwire

Shopify

Shopify is an easy to use hosted e-commerce solution that lets you create your online store within minutes. It comes loaded with secure shopping carts, beautiful e-commerce templates as well as web hosting. Before you purchase Shopify, you can also opt for a risk-free 30-day trial.

Shopify

CubeCart

CubeCart is a flexible e-commerce platform that offers a hassle-free way to set up your own e-commerce website. CubeCart keeps it really simple when it comes to pricing – you can either go for the free Lite version which limits you to 100 customers and 250 products (no technical support, by the way), or you can pay a one-time fee of $180 and get the Pro version with tech support and unlimited features.

CubeCart

Zen Cart

Before anything else, Zen Cart has an awesome tagline – “the art of e-commerce”! Apart from that, Zen Cart is free and open source software that is pretty simple to use and setup.

Zen Cart

osCommerce

osCommerce is another open source e-commerce solution. It powers over 12,000 websites and has an active community of over 260,000 members. osCommerce is licensed under a GPL and is well supplemented by addons.

osCommerce

Volusion

Volusion is an all-in-one hosted e-commerce solution. So unlike Zen Cart, you won’t really be able to download-and-install Volusion for free, but their pricing is competitive, and Volusion also comes with a 14-day free trial. The product is backed by 24×7 support as well.

Volusion

Ubercart

Ubercart isn’t really a full-fledged CMS in its own right. Instead, it is a shopping cart solution that you can integrate within your Drupal-powered website. So Ubercart will probably not be the most powerful bet for your e-commerce needs, but if you are running a Drupal-based website and wish to have features such as paid or Premium downloads, shopping cart, etc. you can consider using Ubercart. And Ubercart is free and open source.

Ubercart

BigCommerce

BigCommerce lets you sell your products on Facebook and eBay as well as your own store. If you wish to sell unlimited products on your website, you’ll have to opt for the Platinum Plan at $149.95 per month. There is also a free 15-day trial.

BigCommerce

FoxyCart

FoxyCart is a unique e-commerce product – unlike the rest, it does not claim to be the one-stop solution to all your e-commerce woes. It is not a CMS in its own right, and does not come with specialized tools for analytics or inventory. Instead, FoxyCart simply integrates itself seamlessly within your existing design and functionality.

FoxyCart

E-junkie

E-junkie provides shopping cart functionality to help you sell products on your own website or websites such as eBay and CraigsList. It is one of the cheapest e-commerce solutions out there – 500 MB of storage (maximum of 120 products) is available for a monthly fee of $27.

E-junkie

SolidShops

SolidShops is a flexible e-commerce solution that comes loaded with web hosting as well. It offers you features such as daily backups, custom tax settings, Facebook stores and stock trackings. Plus, SolidShops also has native support for SEO.

SolidShops

Cart66

Cart66 is a plugin that transforms your WordPress-powered website into an e-commerce store. You can track your inventory, charge tax on the basis of ZIP code, specify currency, and perform several other functions. Cart66 also offers a Lite version that is free to use, but has limited functionality.

Cart66

VirtueMart

Just as Cart66 helps change WP websites into e-commerce stores, VirtueMart performs the same function for Joomla! websites. However, unlike Cart66, VirtueMart is not just open source but also free to download and use. Apart from that, VirtueMart focuses more on shopping cart functionality rather than full-fledged e-commerce features.

Virtue Mart

1ShoppingCart

1ShoppingCart is actually spread across two separate products – you can either choose a simple shopping cart software, or opt for the entire e-commerce solution. 1ShoppingCart boasts of features such as real-time shipping rates, PayPal integration, etc.

1ShoppingCart

Big Cartel

Big Cartel is a simple shopping cart primarily meant for designers and artists. It comes with a Free version, wherein you can sell maximum 5 products and cannot use your own domain. If you need additional functionality, you can opt for their paid plans.

Big Cartel

Loaded Commerce

Loaded Commerce is a platform that offers features such as shopping cart, inventory tracking, PayPal integration, and so on.

Loaded Commerce

Adobe Business Catalyst

Adobe Business Catalyst lets you create websites without using your server-side programming skills. In fact, BC is more of a hosted CMS for any genre of website, let alone e-commerce. You can either purchase just BC, or have it as part of Adobe Creative Cloud along with other products.

Adobe Business Catalyst

Closing Time

With that, we come to the end of this round-up. Which e-commerce platform or tool do you employ for your online store or that you have used for clients? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

(rb)

About the Author

Sufyan bin Uzayr is a freelance writer. He writes for several print magazines as well as technology blogs, and has also authored a book named Sufism: A Brief History. His primary areas of interest include open source, mobile development, web CMS and vector art. He is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of an e-journal named Brave New World. You can visit his website, follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook and Google+.

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Comments and Discussions
  • ApolloNet, 07 June 2012

    What about Drupal Commerce : http://www.drupalcommerce.org ?

  • klyoom, 07 June 2012

    i have to test it

  • welshstew, 07 June 2012

    Nice little round up. I would also look to check out lemon stand – http://lemonstandapp.com/

  • Svetlana, 07 June 2012

    PrestaShop is a great ecommerce solution. I love Magento for big stores.

  • Manmohan, 07 June 2012

    Informative article. Readers may also be interested in this whitepaper on E-Commerce ( http://bit.ly/HJbEFy ), with information on online retail.

  • Stephane, 07 June 2012

    Agreed with Svetlana, Prestashop is perfect for small or medium business.

  • Nick, 07 June 2012

    No love for OpenCart?

    • Sü Smith, 08 June 2012

      Oops that was supposed to be a heart. I guess it doesn’t render here. I <3 OpenCart!

  • Chandan, 07 June 2012

    Nice list of Shopping cart solution providers. I m currently using magento and must admit that its awesome though a bit complex (architecture wise).

  • WPCircle, 07 June 2012

    Magento is best and deserves the first position but why there is not “OpenCart” in list.. Also WordPress can do a good job as an e-commerce platform for small shops.

  • mobilya, 08 June 2012

    Nice little round up

  • Carlos Pecuch, 08 June 2012

    OpenCart in my opinion is much more useful that many in this list ;-)

  • Cory, 08 June 2012

    Almost all of these services are limited in some regard, either being too complex for small implentations or too basic for a company with 1,000′s of products. I disagree with WPCircle that Magento is “Best”, as the code-base is incredibly complicated.

    We’ve found success building extensions on Spree Commerce, and for anyone using RoR, it’s almost the only option worth considering.

  • Tim, 10 June 2012

    CubeCart, Zen Cart and osCommerce are UGLY, limited and buggy. I’ve used several others in the list. I once set up an entire site built in ZenCart and then found out that there were serious errors in its shipping functionality, so about 38 hours of work down the drain.
    The top three in this list are Volusion, Magento and UberCart (if you want a free solution). Big Commerece is pretty decent as well. If you have a WordPress site, I’ve found Cart66 is definitely the best choice, especially if you offer downloadable products.

  • Ivy, 11 June 2012

    I currently use 3dcart which I really love. Volusion and Magento are nice as well.

  • Satcheen, 11 June 2012

    very interesting list, with a few names i had not run into yet. Although I would like to point out that Prestashop wasn’t included in the list, which is disapointing as it is a complete platform, perhaps it doesn’t have as well a structure backend as Magento – but it is a lighter platform for those who may not have the server space and power needed to run Magento.
    thx for the list again =)

  • eCommerce Evangelist, 11 June 2012

    I would like to see a list like this broken down with more information about each cart and who they may be suitable for.

    There is also a massive difference between hosted and open source carts.

    We would advise anyone starting out in ecommerce to use a hosted cart like Magento Go, Shopify, Acart or Big Commerce.

  • Michael Kåring, 11 June 2012

    I’ve been using Ecwid, i think it deserves a spot on the roundup

  • aditia, 19 June 2012

    yup like the others you should include prestashop

  • Joris, 26 June 2012

    Just to chime in: SolidShops is a hosted solution which removes the pain in managing and setting up open source software on your own servers, but it’s definitely geared towards web designers that prefer to roll their own themes and have 100% flexibility to do so.

  • Valentin Stanescu, 30 June 2012

    The list could be presented either include PrestaShop, nopCommerce and OpenCart. Considering they are in the top Open Source Awards 2011.

  • Nancy, 04 July 2012

    Awesome Collection eCommerce Platforms. Yet another eCommerce platforms nich mobile eCommerce app available for one of the best website: https://www.mobecommerce.net/

  • Ed, 10 August 2012

    Certainly think that CoreCommerce should be part of this conversation. Its a top full featured hosted solution.

  • Kelly, 04 September 2012

    Broadleaf Commerce is a free, open source, enterprise-class eCommerce platform built on best of breed technologies with a huge number of features. It’s backed by a company that maintains the code and offers (optional) consulting, training, and support. Version 2.0 is simple to set up and configure. But it also allows you to customize, extend, and integrate in absolutely any way that you need. I was able to get a complex eCommerce site with a large number of custom features deployed to production in 6 weeks. Broadleaf is one of the best platforms available for tech savvy businesses, whether small, medium, or large. However, it’s not likely the best solution, at this point, for companies that do not have any technical capabilities.

  • lalit, 29 September 2012

    great article… thanks for sharing… i was confuse with other cms for e-commerce. ubercart is best for e-commerce prospective.

  • Rob, 23 October 2012

    Any ideas for a hosted platform that you can sell on ebay and amazon. That is not $50k?

  • Don, 25 October 2012

    I use opencart as it seems to have the most features of all the open source ecarts. I looked at Magento, but it’s extremely complicated and confusing to set up. If you have no experience in setting up ecommerce sites, I recommend against Magento unless you plan to spend the money for the support (and it’s not cheap). My recommendation for those just starting out is to use opencart, unless you are already big enough to warrant using a huge cart and can afford the extra costs involved with the other (not free) systems mentioned on here.

  • Jessica Parker, 19 November 2012

    I have tried using BuildaBazaar and its amazing, simple, user friendly and they offer the best look n feel. You guys may try that as they have a 15 days trial also.

  • Sally Seashore, 03 December 2012

    Thank you for writing this article, there are many wonderful looking platforms featured here, however
    many of these websites cost around $50,000 yearly operating cost give or take, and the ones that are free don’t have enough of the features or ease that come with one of the top commerce platforms like Magento or Shopify. Other issues exist with open source software… Time is money, and if smaller merchants have to spend more time/money on selling their product online than they do making/ordering their inventory to sell, then it makes it extremely difficult to break through into the ecommerce playing field with their (already small) savings still intact.

    Small businesses desiring an ecommerce solution tend to already have what they want to sell and are looking for a platform/software with an operating cost that is either free or extremely low-cost (why spend money to make/order your product – to make it back in revenue – only to give it back out to web/ecommerce hosts/developers?).

    I’d like to see more in the way of practical, low cost solutions that get past these biggest hindrances. I love what Ecwid has to offer. FREE. EASY to use, just copy and paste the HTML code from one place to the next, and you’re selling! I have yet to see anything else out there that can offer something for free with little hassle like Ecwid, but with a better platform that something like Shopify can offer.

    While this list is great, for someone who has the millions to spend $50,000 like pennies every year, it’s still missing that hidden gem for small business owners who need low cost, easy solutions as we are the quintessential do-it-yourselfers of the merchant world.

    I really appreciated reading everyone’s additional suggestions :)

  • MJ1, 14 December 2012

    Magento and Bigcommerce are the two, most popular, and most appropriate for ecommerce. Also recommend to look through this http://www.slideshare.net/magneticone/shopping-cart-types-pros-and-cons

  • May, 17 February 2013

    I’m using hosted solution from BigCommerce and very happy with it. :)

  • Andy, 21 February 2013

    Magento ecommerce solution has become the most demanding open source platform of today’s online retail store businesses since it provides a tremendous advantage. With Magento Ecommerce Platform, online store owners are being given the capability of handling multiple stores and facilitate a more systematized browsing of items for sale. Improved management of customer’s orders and having more developed promotional or advertising tools also becomes possible with Magento Ecommerce.

    Thanks

    Andy
    iLoveMage

  • Richard, 13 March 2013

    LemonStand is the best solution by far. I use it for all my eComm development projects now. Excellent support, easy to use and absolutely unparalleled customization options. It’s very easy to make your shop look any way you can imagine or code with HTML/CSS. There are also modules you can buy from their marketplace which add new things. Highly recommended. http://LemonStand.com

  • Razibul Hassan, 11 June 2013

    A good list indeed. If you are looking for a solution for your ecommerce, first decide if you would go for a hosted solution or for a open source solution. After the choice has been made, it’s time to test drive the platforms before finally hooking in to one.

    Changing the platform some times can be costly and time consuming. So if you don’t have a solution already, spend few times before picking one.

    If you already have an existing ecommerce solution, spend even more time before switching to the another one. Thin about the benefits and drawbacks before switching.

  • Kathy Daunt, 17 July 2013

    I would strongly suggest magento for anyone because Magento is the fast growing CMS platform. Magento users are also increasing. Magento is rich in features and having good flexibility. Apart for this it requires less efforts in maintenance and highly recommended. recently came across an article:
    http://appthaextension.tumblr.com/post/52939098803/magento-a-boon-for-ecommerce-society

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