E-Commerce Software

Top 8 Free and Open Source eCommerce Software Solutions

Top 8 Free and Open Source eCommerce Software Solutions

Digital shopping is gaining more popularity these days. This growth has been setting huge demand for eCommerce software solutions.  An eCommerce store will surely help brands expand their reach across wider demographics. Some of the best eCommerce software solutions are designed to ensure high growth of the online retail segment in the years to come. But, at a glance, for a retailer, developing an eCommerce store might look like a huge task with a massive budget. Fortunately, there are many free eCommerce software and open source eCommerce software solutions available in the market that allows retailers to set up their online store without breaking the bank.

With open source eCommerce software solutions, a store merchant gets not only unparalleled scalability and customizability but also strong community support that isn’t always available in the enterprise-grade eCommerce platforms. In other words, choosing a free eCommerce software and open source platform is the best option for retailers to enter the eCommerce marketplace.

Although you can deploy any of the 8 free and open source eCommerce software solutions discussed in this article, there will be always some limitations in terms of usage, features, or functionality. You can fortify your web presence and increase your average basket size with NetSuite SuiteCommerce. It is a sophisticated e-commerce software that comes with high-end ecommerce functionalities that take your online business and in-store operations to the next level. Lets us discuss the features of NetSuite SuiteCommerce in detail: 

Netsuite SuiteCommerce

A pioneer in unified ecommerce software solutions, NetSuite SuiteCommerce, has a proven track record of providing industry-leading services for online and in-store business management. The software acts as an integrated platform that connects multiple channels and multiple location businesses like ecommerce operations and in-store workflows. SuiteCommerce enables ecommerce entities to unleash exceptional customer engagement with tools that offer superior online and in-store shopping experiences. SuiteCommerce streamlines and intelligently manages Ecommerce operations, CRM, POS, B2B, and B2C sales, Order Management, Marketing, and many more. It can be used for managing multiple locations, multiple brands, and it supports multiple languages and global currencies. Businesses can get tailored solutions with SuiteConsulting, an advisory unit of SuiteCommerce. 

SuiteCommerce Ecommerce software

Source: NetSuite SuiteCommerce

Key Features:

  • Unified Order management from website, ecommerce platform, store, mobile application, etc.
  • Manage suppliers, stock levels, supply chain, and distribution process
  • Real-time reporting with an option to consolidate multi-subsidiary reporting
  • Get insights about customer demographics, lifetime value, etc. through an  integrated CRM module 
  • Extensions and Integrations to enhance your functionality
  • Rule-based dynamic merchandising that presents product recommendations based on buying data
  • Full-Featured POS with multiple payment options
  • Order management module with flexible fulfillment options, automated distribution, and order lifecycle visibility on dedicated dashboards
  • Product content management module with features for managing product data, attributes, metadata, etc. across all channels
  • Upselling and cross-selling recommendations
  • Consulting services, implementation guidance, and training support
  • 24/7 SuiteSupport team for customers

Startups and small budget business can think of having their online presence by taking complete advantage of the free and open source eCommerce software solutions. 

The following sections will discuss in detail the top 8 free and open source eCommerce software solutions that you can look for in 2019.

1. WooCommerce

Woocommerce software

(Image Source: Woo Commerce)

According to the stats from Builtwith, WooCommerce has been downloaded over 61,899,365 times and is powering over 28% of all online stores. By simply installing the WooCommerce plugin on a WordPress site, a store merchant can convert it into an eCommerce store. Here’s how you can install:

  • Log into the WordPress site
  • Go to: Plugins > Add New
  • Search for ‘WooCommerce’
  • Select Install Now
  • Select ‘Activate Now,’ and it is ready to use

Launch Year: 2008

Services: Free eCommerce software features

Some of the top features include:

  • Seamless integration with WordPress
  • Comes bundled with PayPal, BACS, and COD for accepting worldwide payments
  • Offers tax calculation option on customers' orders
  • Allows tracking of stock levels
  • Unmatched community support
  • Scalable and Mobile friendly
  • Compatible with a large number of plugins and themes

Some downsides of using WooCommerce:

  • Compatible with WordPress only. Those who are planning to use WooCommerce with another platform may feel entirely out of luck.
  • Though it may label itself as free, however, for running an eCommerce store on WooCommerce, it is required to buy a domain, a good hosting plan and a responsive theme, which can cost dearly to those who are just venturing out the eCommerce space.
  • To make the most of it, merchants may need to buy some paid third-party extensions.
  • To customize the eCommerce store as per the users’ need, store merchants should possess sound technical knowledge and development skills. Otherwise, they may hire WooCommerce experts who charge on an hourly basis, which can turn out to be a costly affair.

Few users of WooCommerce

Bookriot | Sock Box | Clickbank | The Darkroom | Air Stream

2. OpenCart

OpenCart ecommerce software

(Image Source: OpenCart)

OpenCart is powering over 393,000 live eCommerce sites, and out of them, over 4,000 sites are in the top 1 million sites. This open source platform is quite popular among SMEs because it is easier to use, and is less complicated as compared to other open source eCommerce CMS like Magento.

Launch Year: 2009

Services: Free eCommerce software features

Some of the top features include:

  • Allows merchants to manage multiple stores from a single admin panel
  • Sell unlimited products from 1 to 1,000,000
  • Allows customers to select any of the 36 payment option methods that come integrated with OpenCart
  • Facility to create an unlimited number of categories and even subcategories
  • Doesn’t require much technical know-how
  • Several plugins available for added flexibility
  • Easy on the server, means it will run quickly
  • Loaded with lots of themes, allowing retailers to customize their eCommerce store
  • Simple to download, install and run this platform

Some downsides of using OpenCart:

  • Unless the merchants download and install third-party plugins and extensions, they won’t get a high-performance. In a nutshell, OpenCart relies heavily on plugins.
  • It creates canonization issues for SEO, which is a huge drawback.
  • The checkout process is slower as compared to other open source eCommerce platforms.
  • Retailers may be required to seek assistance from a developer to utilize some of the features.
  • In OpenCart, the customization options are also fewer as compared to other open source platforms.

Few users of OpenCart

Samsungcenter.ir | Svapostore | Choco Concept | Wooden Poster

3. Magento Community Edition

Magento ecommerce software

(Image Source: Magento)

The Magento Community Edition has become a popular choice for eCommerce store development. The software is currently run by over 200,000 users. The best part of choosing the community edition is that it offers a lot of features similar to the Enterprise Edition at no cost.

Launch Year: 2008

Services: Free eCommerce software features

Some of the top features include:

  • Ready for GDPR and commerce security
  • Makes PCI compliance easier for merchants by offering integrated payment gateways
  • Loaded with several options for tracking, analyzing and reporting
  • Fully customizable eCommerce platform
  • Extensive catalogue management features available
  • Supports multiple languages
  • Ability to manage multiple stores (built-in upsell and cross-sell)
  • Scalability and flexibility
  • Compatible with a host of third-party plugins and extensions
  • SEO-friendly and mobile friendly

If you are not familiar with Magento and are not aware of the facilities that the Magento eCommerce development can offer, you can seek assistance from a certified expert or an agency to develop an online store.

Some downsides of using Magento Community Edition:

  • Magento doesn’t provide any technical assistance for the community edition, which merely means that retailers have to fix the problems on their own or with the help of developers.
  • Magento is loaded with features, which make it clunky and resource-hungry. Store merchants should take out some time for optimization, failing which there are chances that their eCommerce store can slow down. 
  • To leverage this robust platform, retailers should have excellent technical skills.
  • Ideally, users can install Magento stores on dedicated servers. Running a Magento store on the shared or normal hosting can render a slow and annoying experience to visitors.

Few users of Magento

Fox Connect | Coca Cola | Ford | Olympus I Nike

4. Prestashop

Prestashop ecommerce software

(Image Source: PrestaShop)

This popular and robust platform is powering over 273,000 live eCommerce stores across the world. This open source eCommerce software is easy to download and install and allows the merchants to set up their online store live in a short period. With the help of the built-in features of this platform, users can create, customize, manage and launch a functional eCommerce store without paying any licensing fee.  Furthermore, it also supports multiple payment gateways like PayPal, Google Checkout and more.

Launch Year: 2007

Services: Free eCommerce software features

Some of the top features include:

  • Supports one-page-checkout
  • Allows merchants to add a product search box in all 404 error pages
  • Shows your physical store locations on the Google map
  • Ensures the checkout process conform with the European (German) laws
  • Allows merchants to configure taxes on products automatically depending on the locations
  • Reduces shopping cart abandonment rate by sending reminders
  • Allows cross-selling 
  • Loaded with thousands of templates and modules to augment the core functionality
  • Intuitive back-end interface

Some downsides of using Prestashop: 

  • PrestaShop is ideal for only small and mid-sized business enterprises.
  • It is not fully customizable. Those who want to customize every single feature of their eCommerce store may have to look at any other platform.
  • The default theme, which comes with Prestashop is not as appealing as one can find on other open source eCommerce platforms. 
  • For any customization in a PrestaShop store, store merchants have to either purchase add-ons or hire a developer.

Few users of Prestashop

Decathlon.in| Bein Manger| Hatshowroom | Tracia | Champagne De Lozey

5. Zen Cart

Zencart ecommerce software

(Image Source: Zen Cart)

This open source eCommerce platform has been around for years and Zen Cart powers today over 285,000 live websites. The best part of choosing the Zen Cart software is that it is ideal for product management. Using this platform, retailers can do almost everything from managing inventory to creating sales and special discounts. Furthermore, this open source platform has strong community support of over 150,000 members. However, this eCommerce software solution does tend to slow when someone adds hundreds of new products. In other words, this eCommerce platform may not be ideal for businesses that sell millions of products online.

Launch Year: 2003

Services: Free eCommerce software features

Some of the top features include:

  • Allows merchants to modify the source code
  • Freedom to choose any hosting service provider
  • Ready to run quickly
  • Built-in popular payment gateways to accept payment quickly across the world
  • Supports a significant number of add-ons
  • Easy to update
  • Secured and scalable

Some downsides of using ZenCart:

  • Users should be familiar with PHP.
  • It doesn’t provide any official support. The only way to get technical support is by hiring experienced developers.
  • Average templates and no good layout, which means, store retailers have to customize it.
  • Fewer additional modules.
  • On adding hundreds of products, a ZenCart powered store will be slowed down.
  • Though it comes with an SEO tool, it is limited to certain features. For advanced SEO features like custom creation of Meta tags, URL, and sitemap, store merchants have to shell out some extra money.
  • Complex and stressful upgrade. In the past, many store merchants have complained that they’ve lost some of the custom features on upgrade.

Few users of ZenCart

Cosmic-gestiox | Bread and Butter (Co.Nz) 

6. Drupal Commerce

Drupal commerce software

(Image Source: Drupal Commerce)

Those who are familiar with Drupal admin panel, Drupal Commerce might seem an ideal choice for them. This open source eCommerce platform is relatively easy to use, highly flexible and offers multilingual and multi-currency support. It is SEO friendly and easily integrates with several third-party applications. Furthermore, there is an active community of experts behind Drupal that helps store merchants in troubleshooting any issue. 

Just as WooCommerce can be used with WordPress only, Drupal Commerce is exclusive to Drupal. It comes with some basic features for running an eCommerce store. However, one can extend the functionality of the store by availing a “Commerce Kickstart” package. 

Launch Year: 2004

Services: Free eCommerce software features

Some of the top features include:

  • Safe and secure eCommerce platform 
  • Adapts with your business and scales up as it grows
  • Developed to support the global currency, tax, and language needs
  • Mobile ready
  • Supports multiple languages and currencies
  • License-free
  • PCI Compliant
  • Easy to use for those who are familiar with the Drupal ecosystem
  • Seamlessly integrates with several third-party extensions

Some downsides of using Drupal Commerce:

  • Just like WooCommerce, Drupal Commerce is compatible with Drupal only. The store merchants who wish to use Drupal Commerce with other platforms may feel completely out of luck. 
  • It is not easy to learn. For a newbie, it would be challenging to manage a Drupal-powered eCommerce store, since the queries answered in the community or forums are by more experienced developers.
  • With Drupal Commerce, there is no chance of paying a nominal amount for hosting as it requires a dedicated or VPS server.
  • Even the experienced developers find the interface of Drupal Commerce complicated.

Few users of Drupal Commerce

Royal Mail | Chais d’oeuvre | Carteir

7. VirtueMart (Joomla)

VirtueMart ecommerce software

(Image Source: VirtueMart)

This eCommerce extension allows the retailers to set up and run an eCommerce store quickly. This open source platform is ideal for those merchants who want to sell overseas since it supports multi-language capabilities. There are currently over 68,000 websites using VirtueMart, of which 795 websites are in the top 1 million sites. Furthermore, VirtueMart is SEO friendly, which means it can help the store merchants drive more organic traffic to their eCommerce store when leveraged rightly. 

Launch Year: 2005

Services: Free eCommerce software features

Some of the top features include:

  • Allows merchants to greet customers in their native language
  • Guest checkout option available
  • Enables store merchants to add unlimited products and categories
  • Multi-language and multi-currency support
  • Supports dynamical calculator for discounts and taxes
  • Easy for online buyers to create accounts, make purchases, track orders, and access the order history
  • Shop statistics option to help store merchants analyze sales information by month, by day, by products, etc.  

Some downsides of using VirtueMart:

  • It works with Joomla only. Those who are not familiar with Joomla may face difficulty in running an eCommerce store on VirtueMart.
  • It doesn’t offer plenty of features like other open source eCommerce platforms.
  • It has a complicated payment process. Also, there are not many options on payment gateways too.

Few users of VirtueMart

Stand Up Paddle Sports| Straight Razor Designs

8. Spree Commerce

Spree Commerce ecommerce software

(Image Source: SpreeCommerce)

Based on Ruby on Rails(ROR), this open source eCommerce platform allows store merchants to customize their store and stand out from the competition. It looks quite modern, appealing and different from other platforms, which have a large community of developers.

Launch Year: 2007

Services: Free eCommerce software features

Some of the top features include:

  • Blazing fast search when combined with Elasticsearch
  • Multiple payment gateways - all major credit and debit cards are accepted
  • Supports a powerful taxation engine for not only products but also for all the jurisdictions (EU, US, CA) and zones, where your multiple storefronts operate in
  • Allows merchants to capture emails to drive upsell and cross-sell, user retention, hand out rewards, stimulate loyalty, etc.
  • Modular architecture, which makes it easy to learn, configure and upgrade

Some downsides of using Spree Commerce:

  • A limited number of themes
  • Requires technical assistance
  • Small user base than other open source platforms

Few users of Spree Commerce

Nubikk | Farmdrop | Pack help

Wrapping Up

eCommerce software solutions come with a lot of features and functionalities that easily addresses small to large retail segments. Many businesses are opting for free and open source eCommerce software solutions as it gives them the flexibility to limit their budget.

The above listed free and open source eCommerce software solutions will give a good understanding of each software solutions and allow the store merchants to choose the right platform as per their requirements. Those who wish to go for high-end features can choose high-performance platforms like Magento, WooCommerce, or Drupal Commerce. However, those who are looking for a basic eCommerce store features and have limited requirements can go for simpler eCommerce platforms like VirtueMart.

Moreover, for more options and better clarity, you can also have a look at the all-inclusive list of the best eCommerce software solutions created by GoodFirms. The options cited will address the requirements of all businesses right from small mom & pop shops to corporate giants.

Vachel Ladd
Vachel Ladd

Vachel Ladd is a Senior Web Developer associated with Magnomates for the past five years. He has developed robust and scalable eCommerce stores for both large and small scale enterprises. In his spare time, he shares his vast knowledge through writing articles and blogs on popular publications.

Responses (4)
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jijitia juby
May 17, 2019 13:35

Nice one, thank for sharing this article

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June 22, 2019 06:40

Your blog is very nice... I read more information about your blog page... Thanks for sharing your information...

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July 22, 2019 09:11

Your blog is very nice... I got more information about your blog page... Thanks for sharing your information...

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Dennis Walters
September 7, 2020 12:46

Wow, excellent post… This is really a great article and a great read for me. It’s my first visit to your blog and I have found it so useful and informative specially this article. Thank you so much…

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September 9, 2020 08:03

Thanks Dennis. Glad that you liked the article. Do come back, and check our other software category blogs too.

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