In recent years, we have seen strong growth in the e-commerce industry. Open source e-commerce platforms have emerged as game-changers, offering unparalleled freedom, flexibility, and creativity to both seasoned entrepreneurs and ambitious startups. This article will show you a list of 21 open source eCommerce platforms used widely in 2023. All of these offer you various customization options, scalability, and enormous community support. Let’s discover now!
What is Open Source Ecommerce?
In the rapidly evolving world of online business, e-commerce has become the backbone of modern retail. As businesses continue to embrace the digital landscape, the demand for flexible and customizable e-commerce solutions has grown significantly. Open-source e-commerce platforms have emerged as a powerful alternative to cater to these needs, offering businesses a unique set of advantages.
Open-source e-commerce refers to software solutions that are made available to the public under a license that allows users to view, modify, and distribute the source code freely. This accessibility enables developers and business owners to access the platform’s core codebase, allowing for greater flexibility and customization compared to closed-source or proprietary e-commerce solutions.
Open-source e-commerce and SaaS e-commerce Comparision
Open-source e-commerce and SaaS e-commerce represent two distinct approaches to building and managing online stores, each offering unique advantages and considerations. Let’s have a detailed look at the different, pros and cons of the 2 kinds of e-commerce platforms
1. Flexibility and Customization
- Open-source e-commerce: Open-source platforms provide unparalleled flexibility and customization options. Businesses can access and modify the source code, allowing them to tailor the platform to their specific needs, create unique features, and design a truly personalized online store. This level of control empowers businesses to stand out in a competitive market and adapt quickly to changing trends and customer preferences.
- SaaS e-commerce: While SaaS platforms offer a range of pre-built templates and themes for customization, their flexibility is limited compared to open-source solutions. Users must work within the constraints of the platform’s offerings, and implementing highly specific or unique features might not always be feasible. However, SaaS platforms are ideal for businesses that prioritize ease of use and prefer a quick setup without extensive technical knowledge.
2. Cost and Budgeting:
- Open-source e-commerce: Open-source platforms are generally free to use, making them an attractive option for budget-conscious entrepreneurs. However, it’s important to consider additional costs such as hosting, domain registration, and potential developer fees if technical assistance is required. While the initial investment might be lower, ongoing maintenance costs should be factored into the budget.
- SaaS e-commerce: SaaS platforms operate on a subscription-based model, where users pay recurring fees for access to the platform’s services. This predictable pricing structure can be advantageous for small businesses with limited upfront capital as it often includes hosting, security, and customer support. However, as the online store grows and generates more revenue, the long-term expenses of a SaaS platform might surpass the costs of self-hosting an open-source solution.
3. Maintenance and Support:
- Open-source e-commerce: With great flexibility comes more responsibility for maintenance and support. Users of open-source platforms are responsible for software updates, security patches, and server management. Relying on community forums and documentation, or opting for paid support plans, ensures businesses can address technical issues effectively. While this requires technical expertise, it also grants greater control over the store’s performance and security.
- SaaS e-commerce: SaaS platforms handle maintenance, updates, and security on behalf of the user. This hands-off approach simplifies the technical aspects of running an online store, allowing business owners to focus on other aspects of their venture. Customer support is typically provided by the SaaS provider, offering timely assistance in case of any issues or inquiries.
- Open-source e-commerce: Open-source platforms can be highly scalable, making them suitable for businesses with ambitious growth plans. As long as the hosting infrastructure can handle increasing traffic and demands, open-source solutions allow businesses to expand and evolve their online stores without restrictions.
- SaaS e-commerce: SaaS platforms often offer various subscription tiers, each with different resource allocations and feature sets. While many SaaS providers can accommodate moderate to high levels of traffic, some businesses might find scalability limitations based on their chosen subscription plan. Upgrading to higher-tier plans can be an option, but it may also entail additional costs.
Top Open Source Ecommerce Platforms To Power Your Online Business
As you might know, Magento is one of the most powerful eCommerce platforms today, with more than 250K store owners, 150K developers, and over 300 solution partners worldwide.
If you dream of having such a fantastic eCommerce website like Samsung, Nike, or Lenovo, which uses Magento Enterprise Edition with the annual cost of $16K, but have just a small to medium budget, go with the Magento Open Source platform.
Despite being just a free version of Magento, this platform provides you with plenty of features specialized for e-commerce, such as responsive design, fast loading page, multi-store/language/currency, SEO support, and so on.
Moreover, Magento Open Source is very flexible, allowing you to customize the platform to build a unique and dynamic website.
This open-source e-commerce platform is suitable for small and medium e-businesses’ budgets and can propel these firms from the ground up.
Examples of Magento eCommerce Stores:
- Christian Louboutin
The second open source shopping cart platform that we want to mention is WooCommerce, an incredibly free plugin for WordPress – the most extensive content management system (CMS) across the globe. With roughly 31 million downloads, WooCommerce now has been powering a quarter of all e-commerce stores.
WooCommerce is an entirely open-source, highly customizable, and flexible eCommerce platform. It offers plenty of eCommerce features from various products and payment gateways, tax control, delivery settings, stock tracking, discounts, coupon systems, etc.
The exciting thing is that this platform enables the firms to create a mobile app for their store at ease by just installing an add-on.
However, WooCommerce’s most significant advantage also is its disadvantage. It’s only an appropriate eCommerce solution for those using WordPress.
Example of WooCommerce eCommerce Stores:
- New Balance
- AB Aeterno
Similar to Magento, PrestaShop has attracted more than 250K merchants worldwide and has been supported by a vast community (over 1 million members)
PrestaShop is a free eCommerce platform facilitating e-businesses in developing and running their online stores successfully.
It takes just a little effort to install and customize this platform since most things are intuitive. And there are 3,000 features and 2,000 templates available for you to choose from. Moreover, it’s up to you to download a fully-hosted or self-hosted PrestaShop version.
Nevertheless, some users complain that there are not many things that you can customize with PrestaShop unless you buy extra themes and dig into its code.
Example of PrestaShop eCommerce Stores:
- Bolina Sail
Despite being less well-known than WooCommerce, WP eCommerce is also one of the best open-source eCommerce platforms developed for WordPress users. It has gained an impressive number of downloads – over 3 million times over the last few years.
WP eCommerce provides us with various useful eCommerce features, such as multi-tier pricing, marketing tools, and shipping methods. Moreover, it gives you the flexibility to choose your payment gateways from PayPal, Worldpay, ProPay to Authorize.net, or Stripe.
What is more, the professional and dedicated support team is a massive plus for WP eCommerce. In most cases, they respond very fast to your queries (within 6 hours on average).
Example of WP eCommerce Stores:
- Mayrun’s Goods
When it comes to an open-source eCommerce platform, 3dcart would be a reliable option for you to consider. This platform is packed with almost everything you need for your online store: a convenient management system for the store owners, an attractive storefront for shoppers, and a friendly website for search engines.
Owing to these features, you can easily overcome all challenges of running an online store, especially from the beginning.
Furthermore, 3dcart offers 24/7 free premium technical support, quick setup, and no transaction fees – the things that we all need from an eCommerce platform.
Example of 3dcart E-commerce Stores:
- Blue Diamond Almonds
- Cool Gem Shop
- TC Life Safety
- Mill Supplies
- KBS Coatings
Another global open source eCommerce platform that we want to introduce is Drupal Commerce, built on Drupal.
Drupal Commerce supports multi-currency, multi-language, intelligent administration systems, easy shopping cart, and checkout. Also, this platform has a high level of flexibility and SEO-friendly nature.
Furthermore, Drupal Commerce has already been integrated with several handy third-party applications.
Example of Drupal Commerce Stores:
It will be a big mistake if we don’t mention OpenCart in this list of top open-source eCommerce platforms. Up to now, OpenCart has been utilized widely by more than 550K eCommerce stores.
Written in PHP, this platform is immensely applicable for eCommerce startups (small firms) who haven’t had much programming experience. Also, OpenCart provides a significant number of plugins and themes to level up your store design and functionality.
In terms of the features, OpenCart enables multi-currency, multi-language and supports 8 shipping methods and 20 different payment gateways.
Besides, an active community is a strength of this platform. You can quickly get support from more than 110k users of this OpenCart around the world.
Example of OpenCart E-commerce Stores:
- Missy Empire
- British Red Cross
- Shore Lines
osCommerce is one of the most long-standing open-source eCommerce platforms with nearly 20 years of development. Over time, it has built up a bank of roughly 9,000 free add-ons and powered over 20,000 eCommerce stores.
osCommerce is growing up in strength with more than 300k store owners, developers, and solution providers. Therefore, it would be fast and easy to seek help from the community whenever there is a problem with your site.
Moreover, you will enjoy a variety of customization options to enhance your storefront look and functionality.
On the flip side, this platform is quite old and stagnant compared to other open-source eCommerce platforms. For example, its front-end demo looks like an archaic site of Amazon.
Example of osCommerce Stores:
- Lanbo’s Armory
- Bio Manantial
- Moto Parts Max
CubeCart is a noticeable British free eCommerce platform powering thousands of global e-businesses to sell products online. It’s 100% customizable and responsive – nicely displayed on all devices from desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The platform also allows you to upload and manage unlimited products/ customers/orders, integrate social media add-ons, and popular plugins like Mailchimp.
Example of CubeCart eCommerce Stores:
- Planet BMX
- Mata Traders
- Richo Soft2
Just as WooCommerce is exclusive to WordPress and Drupal Commerce is exclusive to Drupal, VirtueMart can only be used with Joomla.
VirtueMart still provides you with essential elements to get your store up and running despite fewer features than other open-source eCommerce platforms. For instance, it allows you to create a multi-language store to meet global needs. Moreover, this platform is SEO-friendly, helping your site drive more traffic and get optimal search engines’ optimal positions.
You might be surprised knowing that VirtueMart was developed and operated by just a small team – only 3-5 developers actively working on it. However, this platform attracts nearly 350k users, mainly in the US and Russia.
Example of VirtueMart E-commerce Stores:
- Terre des Thes
- Hanz de Fuko
- Cerjo USA
Spree Commerce is a scalable open-source eCommerce platform built on Ruby on Rails. Owing to its flexibility, Spree can meet the needs and requirements of different e-business types, from a content-driven website, an eCommerce store, to a multi-vendor marketplace.
Spree will help you to build a comprehensive online store with appealing design and lean functionality. A unique thing about this platform is the combination of API omnichannel with the multi-stock location, which means that it will scale with you when your business grows.
Up to now, there are more than 45 thousand eCommerce stores have been built on Spree Commerce.
Example of Spree E-Commerce Stores:
- Me Undies
- R Polo Shirts
- Prize Candle
- Lula Lu
nopCommerce can be considered one of the pioneer open-source eCommerce platforms written in ASP.NET. Its number of downloads has reached more than 1.8 million times over the last ten years.
nopCommerce provides you with a wide range of features and capabilities to create an eCommerce store, from multi-store, multi-vendor, stock management, fast one-page checkout, SEO support, discount coupons, to web services API, etc.
So far, nopCommerce has released 35 official versions, all of which can be easily downloaded and installed.
Example of nopCommerce Stores:
- DHC Skincare
7 years ago, Pimcore was built on 100% API-driven architecture and based on a technology stack of MySQL, Mongo DB, PHP, Symfony, Varnish, and Elastic Search. This platform can satisfy both B2B and B2C entrepreneurs’ different needs due to its excellent design and functionality.
Pimcore has now become one of the most influential open-source eCommerce platforms, powering plenty of worldwide e-businesses.
Example of Pimcore E-commerce Stores:
- Martha White
Inherited from osCommerce’s code, Zen Cart has become one of the most impressive open-source eCommerce platforms for free download since 2003. It has been supported by many more than 150k members who have contributed to 200k threads so far.
Now, this platform offers over 1,800 plugins divided into 16 different categories. Both Zen Cart and its add-ons can be installed at ease, even with essential website development expertise.
On the other hand, the Zen Cart platform has some disadvantages. For example, its storefront is not good-looking enough to attract customers, and the site speed will be plodding if you upload plenty of products.
Example of Zen Cart E-commerce Stores:
- Mini In The Box
- Tiny Deal
- Isabel Harris
Since 2000, Shopware has powered thousands of e-businesses of all scales worldwide. Undoubtedly, Shopware Community Edition is an ideal solution for entrepreneurs who desire advanced eCommerce websites while having a limited budget.
You will have many customization options and access to a bank of plugins and templates to create a unique store using this framework.
Thanks to Shopware’s high-end software architecture, you will get huge benefits from ElasticSearch, API, and PHP7.
Furthermore, its backend was carefully structured to simplify your daily management work and save your time.
Example of Shopware Ecommerce Stores:
- Green Cup Coffee
These APIs aim to help you merge eCommerce features into your current website. Another fantastic benefit from KonaKart’s APIs is saving your time, money, and effort when upgrading your site to the latest version.
Besides, it’s worth noting that you or your developers must have solid Java development knowledge and experience to monitor a Konakart based store.
Example of KonaKart Ecommerce Stores:
Like all mentioned open source eCommerce platforms, X-Cart is fully customizable and packed with all the merchants’ eCommerce features. It accepts multi-currency, multi-language so that you can approach the global audience. Moreover, the search engines will love X-Cart-based stores due to their SEO-friendly nature.
You might want to know about this platform because X-Cart provides us with both hosted and self-hosted options.
Example of X-Cart E-commerce Stores:
- Relax Home
- Circa Max
- Zeff Zone
- Coast Furniture
- Behind The Mask
TomatoCart is an osCommerce branch applying the ExtJS RIA framework. It has many advantages, such as being 100% customizable, lightweight, feature-load, versatile, and SEO-friendly. Besides, it allows your store to integrate with multiple payment gateways, apply various marketing campaigns (sales and discounts), and so on.
The only disadvantage of TomatoCart is that it’s still a young platform with fewer options on plugins and themes.
Example of TomatoCart eCommerce Stores:
- ACI Hellas
- Foto De Vakman
Oscar is a unique open-source eCommerce platform for Django. There are some outstanding benefits of using Oscar.
Firstly, since this framework is domain-driven, it facilitates both the custom function and maintenance processes. Secondly, although Oscar doesn’t have a vast community of users like other open-source eCommerce platforms, it offers comprehensive and detailed documentation for you to find how to handle common problems. Thirdly, the platform supports up to 9 different payment gateways.
Example of Oscar eCommerce Stores:
• 500 accessories
• Chocolate box
Sylius’ open-source platform was released in 2016. After just 2 years, it has gained incredibly 4 million downloads. This is a flexible platform designed with integrations in mind and is easy to host and scale. It is also compatible with most well-known hosting platforms (e.g., Google Cloud, Heroku, and Platform.sh).
As a result, it saves time and money for scaling and implementing new functions while ensuring high performance.
Sylius utilizes PHP and has doctrine as ORM, database abstraction, and TWIG – secured templating engine for PHP. You can modify the core data models, forms, controllers, repositories or insert new fields in customization.
Finally, Sylius provides immensely comprehensive technical documentation, including not only cookbooks but also detailed tutorials.
Example of Sylius eCommerce Stores:
The last free eCommerce solution that we want to mention is RokQuickCart. This platform works well with some standard payment gateways such as PayPal, Google Checkout, and Amazon. On the web page, products will be displayed as blocks in a grid (selected by the users).
Moreover, this software is lightweight and gives you a fast loading speed. On the back-end, the administrative controls are intuitive and easy to use. Last but not least, RokQuickCart accepts multi-currency (up to 23 different currencies).
Example of RokQuickCart eCommerce Stores:
- Byk Bikes
- Skydive Moab
- Simply Survival
We have shown you all of the potential open-source eCommerce platforms on Top 30. If you want to add more frameworks to the list, please leave a comment below. Hoping that you can choose a proper foundation for your store.
Founded in 2012, Tigren has profound experience in eCommerce website development, especially Magento. If you want to start an online business, Magento is unquestionably one of the best choices. And we will be one of the best Magento web design and development companies that you can trust. Contact us ([email protected]) to discuss your project right now!