ecommerce web development

A grand comparison – free ecommerce platforms

Rushik Shah User Icon By: Rushik Shah

Ecommerce Platforms

Online sales is now serious business. While it was still its initial stages prior to the year 2000, at which time very few people actually trusted the websites enough to make purchases on the Internet with their credit cards, we have seen a complete reversal consumer behaviour post the year 2000.

The total sales make online has only gone one way since then, and this is up. This has been further aided by the fact that the online stores offer many more payment alternatives as compared to earlier.

The market in USA has been growing at a staggering pace with many firms setting shop exclusively online, besides the existing brick store owners grabbing nice domains names in a race to be on the top for all of the consumers searches made on search engines like Google and Yahoo. But this trend isn’t exclusive to USA, even in India for example the trend shows that the confidence of the average buyers to make purchases online is on the up.

A recent study that was conducted and published online suggested that the online sales in USA will reach as high as $250 Billion by the year 2015, furthermore the same study predicts that by the year 2016 there will be 175 million people shopping online. Take India for example this year two online shopping giants increased their investment to complement their ecommerce strategies. Though the ecommerce market in India is nowhere near what the USA market it is, it is has seen steady and rapid growth in the past few years. It is estimated that the current Indian e-commerce industry can be compared to then 2003 market of USA and 2007 market of China. The bottom line being no matter where in the world you own a store or an online e-commerce website, the ecommerce industry is going only one way and that is up.

There are many was to set up your e-commerce website; however the quickest way to do so is by choosing an open source ecommerce platform. That is exactly what this article is about. It compares several e-commerce open source solution hence giving you a better idea of what to expect from each.


The Magento Community edition is an open source software that is free to download. It is possible to modify the core code to add customized functionality and it is also possible to add features and functionality by installing an extension. Although Magento is already very feature rich there are many additional features that are available in the form of extensions. Many of these are free however some come at a cost. Hire Magento Web Developers today with Alakmalak!


  • There are several advantages of opting as mentioned below:
  • Magento uses a built in and stable MVC structure that is very reliable.
  • Being Open source has its advantages too.
  • There are a large number of features already present in the basic Magento installation.
  • The number of businesses option for Magento is on the rise. As per the last figure 150,000 businesses were using Magento as an e-commerce solution.
  • The companies using Magento include Nike, Lindt, Samsung, Olympus, Officemax to name a few.
  • The search engine optimization (SEO) features are very good.


  • Magento is very much alive and evolving and thus there is plenty of support available. The latest stable version is and is available for download on the Internet. On the whole Magento is a safe bet. It is feature rich and hence that is a big advantage. On the other hand it has a steep learning curve and you are most likely to need a professional web developer.
  • As far as the maintenance is concerned, Magento demands more maintenance than the others too. Thus Mangeto is good but if you are on a low budget or not a very big business, I would suggest you give Magento a skip.


Open Cart too is an open source solution for an e-commerce website and it is very user and search engine friendly. It includes the basic features and many more. Some of the features include Order Management and Product Management which are quite intuitive. Using OpenCart is as easy as first installing with the desired template and then adding the products you supply and hosting it online. Hire Opencart Web Developers today with Alakmalak!


  • The advantages of opting for OpenCart are many too, as listed below:
  • OpenCart supports more than 20 different payment gateways.
  • 8 different shipping methods are supported
  • It is fool proof and easy to install and setup; with an interface that doesn’t take doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to figure out.
  • Ability to create an unlimited number of categories and sell an unlimited number of products.


OpenCart is a fairly new open source e-commerce solution. It is well built and easy to use especially for a complete novice. This is a very good option if you require to set up multiple stores and have only one admin interface. Thus on the whole it is good and it really depends on your needs in terms of e-commerce website.


  • ZenCart is also a free open source shopping cart application that has been written in PHP.  It is very simple to install and setup. It makes use of templates and there are many to choose from online. Alternatively you can also create your own template. The product management section is very easy and intuitive; thus this usually never requires any viewing of tutorial videos online or help from a developer to master.
  • This is not the easiest software when it comes to installing it though. The installation of the template and any additional plugins or modules will most certainly require knowledge of PHP and HTML. Thus setting up Zen Cart is usually the job of a professional web developer and may not be something you can do yourself. Hire ZenCart Web Developers today with Alakmalak!


  • ZenCart is very popular and there are several advantages to use it:
  • A very big following with lots of people to support
  • The core code has been designed very nicely in modules.
  • As a Web Developer, ZenCart is very easy to understand and hence it can be customised just as easy.
  • It is actively maintained and is evolving for the better.


If you are someone who wants a shopping cart with a quick and easy setup process and do not care much about he looks then this is good for you. The reason being that if you need to change the template with a template of your choice you will need to have PHP and HTML skills. Thus Zen Cart is also good for the web developers and skilled people who have some programming knowledge. On the whole Zen Cart is a software that has learnt a lot from OS Commerce and is a very good solution.

Os Commerce

osCommerce is a shopping cart solution that can be easily configured and it is a good place to look if you are starting off with an online store. It is kind of  the ‘Grand Daddy’ of ZenCart since a lot of the code used in ZenCart has its origin in osCommere. That is not to say osCommerce is obsolete. Hire Os Commerce Web Developers today with Alakmalak!


osCommerce is very versatile software that has been around since a while. The new version of osCommerce has loads of new features. There many add-ons available from the community members as well. It is very feature rich however almost certainly requires help from a professional web developer to setup.


osCommerce has been around for a long time. When it was first introduced there were not may other options available. osCommerce seemed good at that time due to that. The osCommerce effect is slowly fading though and may people looking for alternatives since there are many available. On the whole osCommerce is a good ecommerce solution and is optimal for those who want a rapid low cost solution. It is very user friendly and customization too.


PrestaShop is a modern open source shopping cart solution with everything that you could possibility imagine. It has an extensive catalog and inventory management feature. This is one of the newer e-commerce solutions that hasn’t been around for a long time; but is already very popular. Hire PrestaShop Web Developers today with Alakmalak!


  • PrestaShop has many good features already built-in besides it has several other advantages:
  • It has a very simple user interface that is easy to grasp.
  • The installation process and setting up including the choice of a template is fairly simple and usually will not require extensive programming knowledge.
  • This is so feature rich that you many never need to look at the plugins to add functionality or custom make the functionality.
  • Features like the ability list third party products from listing such as eBay, Amazon, Google Shopping is already present.


This one cool pick and is already the preferred by many. Overall a good option for an shopping cart with many features.

Alakmalak’s solution:

Alakmalak having been around since a while and having designed and  developed more than 2000 website has a vast experience that spans many different e-commerce web solutions. When you pick us you can be assured that you will get the optimal solution.


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