When it comes to creating an online store, merchants have a variety of platform options. The options for eCommerce website development can be overwhelming, ranging from fully-hosted platforms like Shopify to open-source options like WooCommerce. OpenCart, with a 1.76% market share in the eCommerce industry, is one platform that is frequently overlooked but deserves more attention.
What Exactly Is OpenCart?
OpenCart is a free, open-source eCommerce platform that allows small and medium-sized businesses to easily set up and manage an online store. It is written in PHP and stores data in a MySQL database. OpenCart is designed to be user-friendly, with a simple and intuitive interface that makes managing an online store simple for merchants. It is also supported by a large and active developer community, which is constantly creating new extensions, themes, and other resources to assist merchants in improving their online stores.
OpenCart’s Key Features
Here are some of OpenCart’s key features:
1. Inventory and Product Management
Merchants can easily add, edit, and delete products, as well as manage product categories and attributes, with OpenCart. It also includes inventory management tools, such as the ability to set up low stock alerts and track product quantities.
2. Order Management
OpenCart includes an order management system that allows merchants to track and manage orders, such as viewing and updating order status, sending invoices and shipping notifications, and generating reports.
3. Payment Acceptance
OpenCart accepts a variety of payment gateways, including well-known options such as PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net. It also supports multiple currencies and languages.
4. Customer Management
OpenCart includes features to help merchants manage their customers, such as the ability to view and update customer information, create customer groups, and send newsletters.
5. Marketing Tools
OpenCart comes with a number of marketing tools built in, including SEO support, an affiliate programme, and the ability to create discount coupons and gift vouchers.
6. Multi-store Support
OpenCart allows merchants to manage multiple stores from a single installation, which is useful for merchants who want to sell in different regions or manage multiple brands.
7. Order Notifications & Alerts
OpenCart includes features to assist merchants in keeping track of their orders, such as the ability to set up order alerts and notifications.
8. App Support
OpenCart has a mobile app that allows merchants to manage their store on the go, including the ability to view and update products, process orders, and handle customer inquiries.
9. Advanced Shipping Options
OpenCart includes advanced shipping options such as support for multiple shipping methods, weight-based shipping, and the ability to configure shipping zones and rates.
10. Customer Loyalty Programs
OpenCart includes support for customer loyalty programmes, which can help merchants reward their most loyal customers and encourage repeat purchases.
11. Multi-User Administration
To effectively manage an online store, it is necessary to work with a variety of people who have different responsibilities. As a company grows, this becomes increasingly important. Even if you run a small online store, you will almost certainly require the assistance of a developer at some point in order to maintain the online environment. Multiple administrators can be assigned different roles and access levels in OpenCart.
The Benefits of OpenCart
When compared to other eCommerce platforms, there are several advantages to using OpenCart:
1. It is free and open source.
One of the most significant benefits of using OpenCart as an eCommerce platform is that the code is open to the public and can be modified to meet the specific needs of a business. This allows for simple platform customization via custom code, such as adding new features or integrating with other systems. This can be a significant benefit for merchants who want to add unique functionalities to their online store or fully customise the look and feel of their store to match their brand.
2. It is simple to use.
OpenCart is intended to be simple to use, even for those unfamiliar with web development. It has an easy-to-use interface that allows merchants to easily add and manage products, process orders, and handle other tasks associated with running an online store.
3. It has widespread acceptance.
As previously stated, OpenCart is supported by a large and active developer community, which means that a wide range of extensions, themes, and other resources are available to help merchants customise and enhance their online stores.
It also has a large user base, which means that merchants who use the platform have access to a wealth of resources and support. This is especially useful for merchants who are new to eCommerce or are unfamiliar with web development, as there is a large community of users willing to assist and answer questions.
4. It is light and efficient.
OpenCart is a lightweight platform that is simple to set up and manage, even for non-technical merchants. It is also intended to be quick and efficient, which can help customers have a better user experience.
5. It is inexpensive
Because OpenCart is free to use, it is an affordable option for merchants looking to build an online store on a budget. It also has a low cost of ownership, with no recurring fees or commissions to contend with.
6. It has a variety of built-in features.
OpenCart includes a number of useful features for merchants, such as support for multiple languages and currencies, an integrated affiliate programme, and the ability to create discount coupons and gift vouchers.
7. It has high security.
OpenCart is built to be secure, with features such as SSL support and the ability to configure secure payment gateways to protect sensitive data. It is also updated on a regular basis to address any security flaws that may be discovered.
8. It is designed to be responsive.
OpenCart is responsive, which means it looks and works well on a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets. This is particularly important in today’s mobile-first world, where many customers shop online using mobile devices.
Overall, OpenCart is a good option for eCommerce development, especially for small and medium-sized businesses looking for an affordable and user-friendly platform to build their online store on. If you’re considering creating an online store, give OpenCart a shot; you might be surprised at what it’s capable of!