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Online cart software overview

E-commerce Shopping cart solutions

The definitive list of webshop software.

Finding the commerce solution for your website can be hard. The first step is getting all serious contenders in a list, which is what we’ll be doing with this blog post. Note: we will only be covering webshop software that has international traction.

Free / open source e-commerce solutions

Online cart software that can be downloaded as a package and installed relatively easy by somebody with some technical knowledge.

Magento: the most used and most popular platform today for a reason, coming with lots of features. Now owned by eBay, who promised to keep the open source downloadable version of Magento alive. Time will tell. One of the biggest plusses of Magento compared to the other software in this listing is its innate ability to do multi-domain / multi-webshop environments well out of the box. If you need any kind of customization done, you need a programmer with ample Magento experience. Places a considerable demand on hosting.

OpenCart: Looks to come with all the regular functionality you need to start selling, out of the box. Offers much design flexibility and is quick to pick up for developers, who say this solution is less “bloated” than Magento.

OSCommerce: Not recommended. Popular a long time ago, mainly due to a lack of alternatives. Was never really suited for bigger sites. OSCommerce sites can still be found easily in the wild but new shops generally don’t pick it. Several solutions have OSCommerce as their basis, such as ZenCart, CubeCart and CreLoaded.

Virtuemart (needs Joomla): tied to Joomla means great CMS possibilities. OK for getting a shop up quickly if you already run a Joomla site and just need a way to capture orders.

Prestashop: looks like it’s a friendly system suitable for smaller shops, and can be used to set up your shop relatively quickly.

WordPress plugins: WordPress was never designed to be a shopping cart solution of course, but still there are some interesting possibilities for small shops nowadays. See our former article on WordPress e-commerce.


Paid / downloadable webshop software

Webshop tools that can be purchased as a package.

XCart: last time I’ve been working with it was a couple of years ago. Looked to be struggling to catch up to Magento then, not sure what the current status is.

ShopFactory: suitable primarily for smaller shops. The designs in the showcase look a bit outdated.

Intershop: completely different price range from the above paid solutions, license costs can run above >100k per year. Solid platform for eCommerce websites that have the money to run an Intershop project. Has an impressive list of customers.

Magento Enterprise Edition: the paid version of Magento, costs roughly $12k per year. Biggest plus is you get some extra features like RMA and gift cards. During bidding / selection processes for eCommerce projects, Magento (Enterprise Edition) is now often running against Intershop, for projects for established brands or market entrants with a good budget.


Hosted eCommerce (software as a service / ecommerce as a service)

ShopIgniter: has a distinct focus on social commerce, and looks like the only e-commerce system we found that has social baked into the product’s core.

Shopify: very popular, easy to use while still offering a lot of design freedom. Excellent when you need a transaction engine for your products and don’t need customizations.

Magento Go: Magento’s hosted branch. Magento started out as a downloadable open source tool and was ported over to a hosted solution much later. One of the biggest advantages of Magento – extendability – is somewhat lessened in Magento Go, as many extension modules are not supported for Magento Go.


E-commerce platforms

These are the bigger budget ecommerce platforms where longer implementation trajectories with a boatload of specifications and demands are involved.

Generally purchased by larger organizations who choose a long-term development partner to implement. These are less an out-of-the-box webshop and more a framework on which to build a shopping website to your wishes.

When a large e-commerce site (think Best Buy, etc) is not powered by a custom-made solution, chances are it’s running on one of these:  DemandwareHybrisATG (Art Technology Group)IBM WSC (IBM Websphere Commerce).



Additions and opinions on this overview are most welcome of course.

The Author of this post is sander

Versatile web enthusiast. Especially interested in user experience design and blogs about that on GraphicMania.

7 Responses »

  1. Hi Sander,
    nice article.
    But when i read the sub-headline again, The definitive list of webshop software, i couldn’t
    resist thinking: But where’s OpenCart then ?

    I mean you list something obsolete like OSCommerce but forget to mention the Magento alternative OpenCart. In my opinion, when you don’t need the power and the massive-ness (in options,server-power and more) of Magento, OpenCart is a great alternative. It supports multi-shops as well, for instance.

    Love to hear your thoughts on that.

    I’m off to discover the rest of this site :)


  2. Hey Sander,
    Splendid work!

  3. Sander,

    Nice overview as this is a very broad space and confusing for newbies with 100+ players. This is a nice breakout of the players in the manner that you’ve approached it.

    Here’s something with a slightly different view:

    With so many choices, it’s good to look at the space from a couple of different angles…depending on the merchant’s size, a company that has international traction may be a factor that ends up being irrelevant in the selection process.


  4. Sander,

    Invite you to review Shopnix


  5. Yes nice overview but what is the best platform (from SEO perspective)
    I don`t like (for example) that magento generate alot of duplicate content (and you must pay for extensions to fix that)

    By the way, love your site. I found in this alot of useful information.

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