3 things to keep in mind while choosing your ecommerce software
- Your product to sell
- Targeted audience
- Number of sales intended per day
- Amount of transaction included
- Your budget
- And most important of all the time you intent to spend on this
If you are a low budget beginner, but still need a very professional e-commerce site you can consider online tools like Shopify (http://www.shopify.com/). Sites like Shopify works like your Gmail account where you get a domain name for your e-shop and get a tool to manage design. And once site is up all the content and admin features can be managed from the site admin panel. And these features roughly cost around 100 USD per month..!!
The disadvantages of these online tools come when you need a feature and you find out it’s not offered. Then you prefer to go to a web company where they can either create a custom e-shop or customize Opensource packages. And the three things which you should consider when choosing an Opensource e-commerce package are
- Foundation or the software
- Design or visual simplicity
- Flexibility and robustness in managing
Foundation or the software
This is the core of your e-commerce application. This can be developed from scratch using different frameworks, which will take more time and effort and also require re-creating already existing simple features like registration, CMS etc. This can be overcome with Opensource e-commerce packages.
Beauty of Open source and PHP
This is where PHP and Opensource come in. With the Opensource and free software gnu license a lot of companies create Opensource packages and distribute for free and with the ease of PHP language it is easy and less expensive to customize a Opensource package.
The basic factors to consider when choosing Opensource e-commerce software
- Availability of features: This defines the basic and advances features available in the package so that they don’t have to be custom programmed. Magento (http://www.magentocommerce.com/) which has around 50000 shops running on it has a good CMS with strong features.
- Flexibility: So what if you need an additional feature than the basic available feature, then you have the plugins or extensions which are developed by other programmers and available for free download. And if you still can’t find the feature you need then you can custom program it with the help of a programmer and that’s where a web development company comes in to your rescue.
Design or visual simplicity
Creating a user friendly design is a big factor in creating your e-commerce site especially if you are competing with other e-commerce site and if you are new. Then people tend to go existing competitors which they are familiar with. Using a User experience designer can help you to develop a good user friendly design. This basically means it takes the customer from product listing to payment smoothly!!!
Freedom to custom create templates
With Open source e-commerce packages you can custom create a template / design and integrate it to the e-commerce system. That is one of the flexibility of the Opensource packages, and one important thing to keep in mind is to design the elements in the structure of the e-commerce pattern. Even an entirely different structure is possible to integrate, but then you need an experience developer and designer for that particular package to do the integration.
Use of free templates
Another beauty of this Opensource package is the availability of free or paid templates. You can download free or purchase templates for most of the popular Opensource packages. Sites like Template monster can be of help (http://www.templatemonster.com/)
Flexibility and robustness in managing
And once your e-commerce application is launched, your work starts depending on how simple it is to manage your new e-shop. So choosing a flexible, simple and yet robust software makes a big difference in how much time you need to spend to manage your site.
Two important factors are products and payment. Ease of use in managing products, like adding new products and changing the availability of products should be easy to do. And also adding the images and video of the product are also easy in carts like Prestashop (http://www.prestashop.com/) and Magento (http://www.magentocommerce.com/). And the payment, managing of the payments and option to use different payment methods are a good advantage for your shop since it will help more payments done without hassles.
- Prestashop http://www.prestashop.com/
- Opencart http://www.opencart.com/
- Magento http://www.magentocommerce.com/
- Cube cart http://www.cubecart.com/