How can a small or medium sized business compete with the online retailers that offer great deals, intuitive order management, and a world class shopping experience? eCommerce CMS, duh! You can get all of the same features that big time online retailers offer in a cheap or even free package.
There are more quality eCommerce platform solutions now than ever before. Choosing the platform right for you can become a project within itself. These are the top 10 most popular eCommerce CMS applications on the web in 2015.
Market share: 35%
WooCommerce is a super simple eCommerce toolkit that transforms WordPress into a selling machine. Its intuitive for anyone with even a little bit of experience with WordPress and has a endless list of plugins and themes.
If you are already running WordPress you can have WooCommerce up and running in just a few minutes. Fair warning, check your theme before hand to make sure that it WooCommerce friendly, if not there are hundreds of WooCommerce friendly themes out there. The only real downside is that you have two things to worry about, WordPress and WooCommerce. Both are relatively easy to handle, but occasionally their could be conflicts.
Market share: 16%
Magento is the most robust and scalable eCommerce management software available. It has an amazing assortment of built in integrations and functions that can tackle even the most complicated business models. The free community edition has good documentation and there are thousands of websites dedicated to discusion. Extension and themes are in healthy supply and easy to install. Magento Connect allows you to install extensions with a click like you would in WordPress.
Since Magento is so capable and scalable it is also inherently bulky. It will take a comparably large hosting plan to make Magento run to its full capacity. It also isn’t newbie friendly like WooCommerce. I would only recommend Magento to someone who has a good amount of web development experience or doesn’t mind dishing out a good sized chunk of change to an agency.
Market share: 11%
Free, easy to learn, and well documented OpenCart is a popular choice for small businesses. It has a strong catalog function and order processing is on par with any other eCommerce platform.
The biggest complaint with OpenCart is that it can be hard to customize for the average joe and lacks a lot of the built in features of Magento and WooCommerce. Extensions are necessary for things like SEO and caching.
Market share: 9%
PrestaShop is very user friendly CMS that removes the jargon from selling online. Out of the box PrestaShop has a nice email automation, SEO features, coupon/voucher tools, international order management and of course payment options. Its lightweight compared to Magento or more scalable options, and it has an active community or support and extensions.
PrestaShop falls short in its overall look and feel compared to Magento and WooCommerce. It is also tough to scale for growing small business or medium companies. You will end up purchasing quite a few extensions to match the functionality of other eCommerce platforms.
Market Share: 8%
If you are little weary of taking on eCommerce by yourself then a manged service is the way to go. Shopify is not free to download like the other options above but it you get what you pay for. It includes everything you need to sell online and support is just a phone call away. If there is something Shopify doesn’t do out of the box, you will probably be able to add on the functionality in their App Store.
The biggest draw back to Shopify is the price, which isn’t bad, but it’s more expensive than free. Plans start at around $10 per month and go up to over $150, and you will have transaction fees. The other two drawbacks to Shopify are the “meh” blogging feature and the trickiness of customizations for those unfamiliar with PHP.
Market Share: 3%
Like Shopify, BigCommerce is managed solution that takes the headache out of starting up your own web store. Out of all of the eCommerce solutions BigCommerce has the best support I have encountered. BigCommerce also provides BigCommerce specific video and written tutorials, cutting out all the work of searching the web for hours. The added support is great because BigCommerce has a ton of features that can be a little overwhelming to a newbie.
Price is the biggest con to BigCommerce. Plans start at $29.95 USD a month and can vary for larger or “enterprise” solutions. In addition, the availability of the themes and add-ons is limited compared to a more widely used platform like WooCommerce.
Market Share: 3%
osCommerce is one of the original open source eCommerce platforms. It has a strong community with years of documentation, and it is easy to get up and running.
osCommerce has become outdated, and it doesn’t appear that anything is going to change soon. Updates are few and far between, and upgrades are generally a pain. Unlike the other CMS solutions installations of a new theme require a complete re-installation of osCommerce. I would avoid osCommerce at all cost.
Market Share: 1%
Volusion is a well developed and growing eCommerce solution that requires a monthly payment ranging from less than $20 to $135. Out of the box you get a comprehensive software that is easily manageable by even most incompetent online retailer. 24/7 support insures that someone will always have your back.
Despite having a good set of tools, Volusion overlooked the most important marketing tool there is, a blog. For those that are looking to attract customers with content marketing you will most likely need another CMS like WordPress installed on a sub-domain to be effective. It may be better that Volusion does’t offer a blogging tool because they also tack on additional charges once your bandwidth hits a certain limit.
Market Share: 1%
Another open source eCommerce platform that is built by its users, Zen Cart is popular with the small sized e-retailer that is a do-it-yourselfer. There is very active forum community that provides a good amount of free templates and extensions.
Like osCommerce Zen Cart is lacking in design appeal, it looks very dated. Zen Cart updates isn’t the easiest to update. Anytime you update the base software you basically have to start from scratch. Your add-ons and customizations are lost and must be reinstalled anytime you update to a new version.
Market Share: 1%
Virtue Mart is the bastard child version of WooCommerce for Joomla. It’s an open source (free) extension of Joomla that has been around for over a decade. It requires a good amount of knowledge of Joomla and PHP to really make it an effective solution. I wouldn’t recommend Virtue Mart unless you are Joomla/PHP wizard and are looking for a basic platform that you plan on extending and updating as necessary.