As per Comscore report, eCommerce sales jumped nearly 16% in the second quarter of 2013. While in the third quarter, the increment in online retail sales is found by 3.6%, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. This demonstrates how eCommerce is going to take a bigger portion of overall retail sales in future.
If this trend goes to continue, then in 2014, many small to medium business owners will certainly move toward establishing their eCommerce businesses. As choosing the best eCommerce platform for your online store is a very confusing task, we've compiled a list of 15 free eCommerce platforms and plugins to help you open an professional eCommerce site at absolutely no cost. For you convenience, we've divided them into two parts: eCommerce Platforms and eCommerce Plugins.
Let's have a look at them.
The Magento Community Edition is a feature-rich eCommerce platform that gives developers facility to modify content, design and functionality of their online store. It allows you to modify the core code and install a number of free/paid extensions from the Magento Connect. It features an intuitive admin panel using which you'll be able to manage a number of essential eCommerce components such as shipping methods, coupons, discounts, invoices, orders, payment gateways and much more.
However, no official technical support is provided by the community edition, but even it's quite useful for those small businesses who wish to run their eCommerce store without investing a single penny. It is used by world's reputed businesses like Samsung, Stussy, Nespresso and The North Face for managing their online stores.
Spree Commerce, based on Ruby on Rails MVC framework, is one of the world's leading open source eCommerce platforms that makes it easy for the developers to build, customize and maintain their online storefront. It turns your complex infrastructure into a fully automated system, which automatically manages different back-end operations - like accounting, inventory, shipping, fulfillment and customer service – so you can focus on the most important aspects of your business.
The Spree Commerce hub enables an open communication across different vendor systems, and lets you manage your sales via more than one channels and storefronts, both offline and online. Apart from this, it has support for more than 50 payment gateways, along with custom tax logic, single page checkout and Google Analytics included.
Zeuscart is another powerful and advanced open-source PHP/My SQL based shopping cart that is specially designed for small and medium scale merchants, catering all their needs including attribute driven product catalog, integrated CMS, inventory and category management, built-in multiple payment gateways and more.
The main focus of Zeuscart is to help both beginners and experts in creating and maintaining a professional online store on their own, without any IT skills. As it is powered by Twitter Bootstrap framework, so it is fully responsive and works smoothly in all major mobiles, tablets and browsers. It's quite simple to set-up, easy to customize, and a breeze to use.
OpenCart is a robust and search engine friendly eCommerce solution that comes with thousands of high end eCommerce themes. With OpenCart, it's extremely simple to create a feature rich online store in a few steps: just install it, choose your theme, add products and start selling. It features a visually appealing admin interface that helps you take complete control over your online store.
With OpenCart, you'll receive free support and software updates for lifetime. Best of all, it has built-in order management and support for 8+ shipping methods & 20+ payment gateways. Moreover, you can enhance the functionality of your storefront by adding extensions from the extension directory.
osCommerce is an easily configurable online shop eCommerce solution, which comes with both a back-end admin tool and a catalog front-end to help you securely sell your products and services to your customers globally. It has a immense and growing community of over 270,000 members, who have uploaded more than 7,000 free add-ons that you can use to customize your online store in the way you like.
Using osCommerce, you'll have the ability to set up your self-hosted online store website with no efforts and costs. It gives you total control of your online store and complete access to your data. Others features include multiple payment gateways, shipping modules, custom taxes, backup options, custom currencies, multiple languages support and more.
Zen Cart is a free and user-friendly shopping cart software, written in PHP, that uses a MySQL database and HTML components. It is based on an advanced template system that enables you customize the look of your eCommerce site. Some of the prominent features of Zen Cart are showcase options, meta tags auto generation, customer access control and multiple products images.
Zen Cart features a built-in override protection system for protecting the changes in the PHP code of your store during upgrades. A range of add-ons is available to give you a better admin experience and help you take your storefront to take next level. Additionally, it provides support for a number of currencies and languages.
simpleCart supports multiple payment gateways, such as Paypal Express, Amazon Payments and Google Checkout, and a wide range of currencies from the Thai Baht to the American Dollar. As this high performance cart is completely agnostic to all languages, you also don't have to worry about downloading and installing language packs.
TomatoCart is an innovative shopping cart solution based on Codeigniter, a flexible eCommerce framework. It is designed to provide great user experience on all types of digital devices. Using the Modularized Framework, you can easily add and override core features without making any changes in the source code.
Prestashop is one of the the world's leading eCommerce softwares that is power packed with over 310 built-in dynamic eCommerce features. It offers an incredible administrative interface to help you manage your most complex store with a few mouse clicks. Using PrestaShop's mobile theme, you can also create a mobile version of your online store in just a few minutes.
One of the best things about PrestaShop is you'll be able to create a new sales channel and place products on third-party product listings like Google Shopping, Amazon, eBay, and more. That way, you can not only increase your exposure to new visitors but also get ranked higher in search engines. As well, there're more than 3500 Modules and Themes available to enhance the functionality of your PrestaShop Store.
CubeCart is a simple yet powerful shopping cart software that powers thousands of online stores. Whether you're a web developer looking for a reliable eCommerce solution or a retailer seeking for a powerful online store, it's perfect for you to sell digital products and services to your customers globally.
CubeCart comes with an intuitive admin dashboard that lets you have complete control over your store. Once you've installed your store, you can expand it by using numerous plugins and modules. Furthermore, it supports over 30 payment gateways and 15 shipping methods.
nopCommerce is a fully customizable and highly usable shopping cart that comes with a wealth of features, helping you set up and maintain your online store with minimum fuss. It has multi-lingual support, as well as support for the most popular gateways including Google Checkout, PayPal, Authorize.net, and more.
One of the key features of this secure and scalable eCommerce platform is its pluggable modular/layered architecture, which enables you integrate additional functionality and presentation elements to the application dynamically. With multi-store support, you'll be able to run more than one online store from a single admin panel.
Loaded Commerce is a new open-source ecommerce platform that comes with hundreds of features and powerful capabilities to help you create a beautiful eCommerce site. As it uses HTML5 Responsive Bootstrap 3, you don't need to put extra efforts to sell your products and services on mobile devices. By giving the total control of admin panel, it allows you to edit your Boostrap template without any knowledge of HTML. Other features of Loaded Commerce include cloud based addon store, MVC code framework, VQMod hook system and core code updater.
WooCommerce, developed by WooThemes, is a WordPress plugin through which you can transform your website into a beautiful eCommerce store at absolutely no cost. Though it is fully customizable and can be used with any WordPress theme, but WooThemes developers also offers a number of themes that are specifically designed to works great with this plugin.
WooCommerce comes with everything you need to set up your eCommerce store including Social Media Integration, Multiple Payment Gateways, Product Filtering, Retail Specific SEO, Tax & Shipping Options, One Page Checkout, Reporting System, Shipping Calculator and much more. As well, You can further extend your online store by using a wide range of WooCommerce Extensions.
VitueMart is another free and user-friendly eCommerce shopping cart that can be fully integrated into most popular CMS, Joomla. It uses the Core System and the Framework provided by Joomla. You can use this Joomla component either in Catalog mode or as a Shopping Cart. In addition, it also work well with Mambo CMS.
Once you installed and configured VirtueMart, you can extend your online shop using Templates, Components, Modules and Extensions from Joomla Extensions Directory and VirtueMart Extensions. With its powerful administration dashboard, you can manage an unlimited number of Products, Categories, Orders, Customers, Discounts and Shopper Groups.
Ubercart is an amazing eCommerce solution that is specifically designed to work with Drupal, one of the world's leading CMSes. When integrated with Drupal, it provide a perfect combination for small business owners looking for selling premium content access, building a product community, offering paid downloads, and doing a lot of things from one place, easily and quickly.
As Ubercart is developed as a module package for Drupal, it gives you the ability to completely integrate your store with the rest of your community or site. You can also enhance and modify it using dozens of Drupal themes and modules. Other main features include configurable product catalog, single page checkout, integrated payment system, activity logging and more.