When I built my first ecommerce website in May of 2000, the popular choice for an open source shopping cart was osCommerce. At the time you could either build your own shopping cart from scratch, using existing scripts online or opt in for the easy to use PayPal shopping cart. Of course I tried everything from perl scripts to PayPal but when I found osCommerce, it answered the needs of the time. There were challenges using osCommerce back then, but what it had going for it was it’s large community of members and its free templates and plugins. Sounds almost like WordPress’ website.
As time progressed other open source shopping carts rose from the depths of the web. Soon there were versions of osCommerce available such as Zencart. Zencart took much of osCommerce and made it better. Yet it still had its challenges. But what made me drop osCommerce and progress with the times? The main issue was that osCommerce never went beyond verion 2.x. At the time version 3.x was in development and it took a long time to make any progress or resolve existing issues. Even today, if you visit osCommerce’s website, you will still see version 3.x still in development stages.
Since those early days of osCommerce many new and better open source shopping carts have emerged. Shopping carts such as Magento, Prestashop and my personal favorite Opencart. I know there are many other open source carts on the web today, but I personally believe these carts are a great choice to choose from. As seen in the Google Trends chart, osCommerce and Zencart’s popularity have been declining over the past several years. However, the new open source carts have been gaining much momentum, especially Magento. What makes Magento different from other open source ecommerce solutions is the fact that Magento has a permium service and a free community service. This is a big plus for anyone that wants to pay professionals to setup their website from the start.
If you are a DIY guy, then Magento’s community version may be what you are looking for. Prestashop and Opencart are also great shopping cart that are also increasing in popularity. Prestashop has an easy to use backend dashboard and the fact that the Prestashop’s logo is not all over the place is a great start for anyone that wants to build a custom cart for a client. Opencart, another up and coming shopping cart, is also gaining momentum. It is my personal favorite and I personally think it is the easiest of the open source shopping carts to learn, both from a developer point of view and for clients that need to learn a shopping cart quickly.
I know there are many more popular shopping carts on the web. The old giants of open source ecommerce are declining and making way for some new power houses. So what open source shopping cart are you using and why do you like it so much? Feel free to share in the comments below.