The moment you decide to run an online store selling your favorite stuff, immediately dozens of questions and obstacles arise. For starters, you’ll need to decide between clean inventory/excess stocks and then comes the resources for products. Ultimately, when it comes to open an e-commerce site, the biggest decision is –Which platform should I use?
Open-source ecommerce shopping carts offer many advantages for small businesses. Open-source solutions can be developed to fit the needs of the merchant. They contain a nice combination of features at a minimal cost. And, though the support options may be more limited than proprietary or hosted platforms, open-source standalone solutions often have large communities of developers and partners to assist new merchants.
Here is a list of open-source ecommerce solutions. All of the core applications are free. Each application has both free and premium extensions and support options to enhance the development of your store.
Magento Community Edition (PHP/MySQL)
Magento Community Edition is the free and open source version of the ecommerce platform. Merchants can access added features by installing extensions and themes from the huge Magento Connect marketplace. Magento does not provide technical support for the Community Edition, so answers to technical questions must be found in the user forum. One slight ruffle, Magento has announced the closing of its hosted solution, Magento Go but for now the Community Edition is okay. Magento Community Edition supports more than 200,000 customer sites.
OsCommerce Online Merchant is an open source online shop e-commerce solution that is available for free under the GNU General Public License. It features a rich set of out-of-the-box online shopping cart functionality that allows store owners to setup, run, and maintain online stores with minimum effort and with no costs, fees, or limitations involved.
Zen Cart (PHP/MySQL)
Zen Cart truly is the art of e-commerce; free, user-friendly, open source shopping cart software. The ecommerce web site design program is being developed by a group of like-minded shop owners, programmers, designers, and consultants that think ecommerce web design could be and should be done differently.
PrestaShop is a professional e-Commerce shopping cart software that you can download and use for free. Having a very powerful back-end, store admins can manage the inventory, orders, customers & payments easily. System never limits you as it supports unlimited categories, sub-categories & image pictures.
CubeCart is written to run on servers that have PHP & MySQL support. With CubeCart you can quickly setup a powerful online store which can be used to sell digital or tangible products to new and existing customers all over the world.
OpenCart is an open-source, PHP-based ecommerce solution for online merchants. OpenCart has a very loyal and active community for user support, as well as a list of commercial partners for professional installation and customization. OpenCart features more than 20 payment gateways and more than 8 shipping methods in the default downloads, with hundreds of additional gateways and shipping integrations in its extension directory. OpenCart is also designed to easily manage multiple shops from one admin interface. Its directory has over 2,700 themes.
WooCommerce is a free open-source ecommerce application that lets merchants turn WordPress sites into stores. WooCommerce was developed by WooThemes from a fork of Jigoshop. WooCommerce has a large variety of plugins and themes from WooThemes, as well as third party sites like ThemeForest and CodeCanyon. With nearly 4.5 million downloads from WordPress.org, WooCommerce is a very popular ecommerce solution for WordPress. To get official WooThemes support, you need to purchase a product. Otherwise, get help from the active community forum.
WP e-Commerce (PHP/MySQL)
WP e-Commerce is another popular application for converting a WordPress site into an ecommerce store. The WP e-Commerce plugin has nearly 3 million downloads at WordPress.org. Use your own HTML and CSS and have complete control over the look and feel of your online store. WP e-Commerce has a nice variety of standard features, including multi-tier pricing for quantity discounts and integration with social networks for marketing. For support, there are video tutorials and a WordPress.org forum, as well as featured consultants for professional help.
Spree Commerce (PHP/MySQL)
Spree Commerce is an open-source ecommerce solution based on Ruby on Rails. The modular platform allows you to configure, supplement, or replace any functionality you need. Spree Commerce has more than 45,000 stores using the platform around the world, including Chipotle. Spree Commerce has been translated into more than 30 languages.
Drupal Commerce (PHP/MySQL)
Drupal Commerce is an ecommerce app by Commerce Guys. It is built on the Drupal content management system. Drupal Commerce offers a complete product administration system, shopping cart, multilingual and multi-currency, and checkout form. The Drupal Commerce extension list is full of third-party integrations for payment gateways, fulfillment services, accounting applications, social networks, and much more. Technical support packages are available from Commerce Guys.