Looking for the best e-commerce open-source platform for a start up? Here’s the solution.



FIRSTLY, WHY E-COMMERCE?
The e-commerce platform is rapidly growing in the current scenario. With each new trend in the market, the expectancy of online retailers is increasing from the e-commerce providers. With each new innovative technology, the new right set of circumstances are opening up for small business entrepreneurs.
Advantages of E-Commerce over traditional business platforms.
• Communication with customers becomes easier compared to traditional business platforms.
• A supple way to reach new audiences.
• Secured platform.
• Manageable expenditure.
• Business can be managed and developed with ease.
• Features like scalability and customization attract the users most.
It may seem like a facile task while augmenting an e-commerce website, but in reality, the task becomes complicated in choosing the right platform for the e-commerce business. Few popular e-commerce platforms are- Magneto, PrestaShop, OpenCart, WordPress, BigCommerce, Squarespace, etc.
In this article, we are going to comparatively discuss the three most suitable open-source platforms for startups, available over the web, namely, WordPress, PrestaShop and OpenCart.


WordPress– WordPress is a popular, free content management and blog publishing software available on the web. Though first released in 2003 as a basic blog engine, it has now become a full-featured, fully customizable web creation tool used by millions of individuals and organizations today. It is open-source which enables it’s all codes and files to be used free of cost, customized and enhanced. Its important features are a templating system, thousands of free plugins, search engine friendly link structures and more. It allows the business to maintain the content, engage in social media, and perform well in search engines and minimize out of house costs.
OpenCart– OpenCart is an open-source PHP-based e-commerce application which enables users to set up their online store, run their business at minimal costs. It is adaptable and simple to manage. There are thousands of extensions and modules available to increase the functionality of OpenCart. It is available under the GNU at free of cost. It comfortably unites the store with popular payment gateways like- PayPal and shipping methods such as UPS & USPS.
PrestaShop– PrestaShop is a free e-commerce solution that lets users build their online store or business enterprise. Though the application is free, users still have to pay for credit card processor, monthly fees for web hosting and domain fees but other than these, it does not cost them a penny for the actual program. It’s a professional, advanced and customizable program that lets users add certain features by downloading additional modules. Another important feature of PrestaShop is that it has an active community and foundation.




WHICH ONE IS THE BEST AMONG THE THREE?
Developers and Plugins– WordPress offers a vast number of free plugins, but most of them are trial versions, like- Elementor, Ninja Forms, WooCommerce, etc.. To operate the business in the long run, users are obliged to buy the premium versions.
OpenCart also provides its users with a wide range of extensions and templates, but there is a scarcity of free-basic extensions and for this reason, users have no choice but to empty their pockets for these basic extensions.
Over 3,000 Plugins are available in PrestaShop. The free plugins available are enough for startups. But to convert the site into a vast market place, users are obliged to buy premium extensions, which make it a bit costly.
Thus, WordPress emerges out as the clear winner, in terms of plugins.
User-friendly– According to numerous sources WordPress is utterly amiable, as various tutorials are available over the web on how to use WordPress, but the reality is quite different. By default, WordPress is not an e-commerce application, it has to be converted into an e-commerce platform by the user. Thus, the user should have adequate knowledge in this field.
OpenCart allows its users to comfortably edit, modify or add within the platform with negligible effort. Because of its well-designed interface, OpenCart is equitably accommodating, when compared to its counterparts. But compared to a developed or a fully designed WordPress site, OpenCart is a bit complicated to use.
On the other hand, Prestashop is a complete e-commerce market place. Everything including from SEO to invoices is available in this platform. Presence of add-on modules and a sleek dashboard makes it easily adaptable.
Thus, Prestashop is the most user-friendly platform, as any individual having a basic knowledge of computer and web can operate the app.
Pricing– As discussed earlier that though WordPress has an immense number of plugins available at free of cost, eventually users have to use premium versions. For example, the most used invoice template in WordPress is WooCommerce and the premium version of which costs around $30. Thus, for a startup WordPress is not a budget-friendly option. Users have to pay even for GST.



OpenCart is quite less expensive as compared to WordPress. The extensions cost around $20. But the disadvantage is that users have to buy basic extensions like colour switches, size variations, etc., to perform higher-level functionalities.
PrestaShop is a complete market place, unlike the other two. One can directly start the business by changing the basic settings like logo, adding a brand, payment gateway, products, etc. From shipping invoices to designs all are available in PrestaShop, but if one wishes to purchase add-ons, the charges range between $50 to $150 per module.
Thus, PrestaShop is the best one for startups while keeping in mind about investments.
Power– PrestaShop & WooCommerce both can easily hold more than 1 lakh products. On the other hand, Opencart can easily hold up to 75,000 products. But the capacity of holding the products is majorly depended upon the hosting of sites. If the site is not hosted by authorized organization users can face problems even before reaching the limit of allocation in the platform. For example, the capability of allocation of products in WooCommerce is up to 1 lakh, but if one has a shared hosting he/she will be successful in allotting only up to 4,500 to 5,000 products, on outstretching this value the user may face problems accompanied by a slow interface. On the other hand, in OpenCart this problem starts after allocation of 7,000 products. Thus, Prestashop is the most powerful in holding products compared to OpenCart and WordPress.
THE VERDICT
Thus, viewing all the points Prestashop is the best one among the three as it is a complete package for a startup. But if one has got heavy pockets he/she should try WordPress after getting it converted into a full e-commerce site from a developer. Another point that one must keep in mind is to ensure the availability of payment gateway in his/her respective platform.

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