Throughout this guide we will discuss the 6 most popular open source ecommerce platforms and how they can benefit your ecommerce business.
An open source ecommerce platform provides its customers with original source code, allowing your platform to deliver a custom user experience. You receive a flexible platform with a single source of data, allowing you to steer clear of expensive fees that would normally be required by other SaaS ecommerce platforms.
Before we dive into the 6 most popular open source platforms, here’s a brief rundown of open source platforms.
What is an open source ecommerce platform?
Open source ecommerce platforms allow users to create, manage, and customize their online stores. They provide the tools to build a store from scratch, open source allows you to:
Customize the look of the store
Add products and services
Manage orders and payments
Open source ecommerce platforms are a great choice for any business looking to enhance their online presence, and have complete control over their site.
Note: Because of the “from scratch” customizability, certain open source platforms will require back end technical knowledge.
What can an open source platform provide?
Open source platforms have become increasingly important in the ecommerce ecosystem, they are providing businesses with greater flexibility and control over their online presence- making it simple to add integrations as your business grows.
Open source platforms also provide top notch support communities that aid in troubleshooting and identifying issues. Open source platforms provide affordable, customizable, and reliable solutions that give any business the ability to compete in the digital marketplace.
To help you decide on an open source platform, we’ve compiled a list of the 6 most popular open source ecommerce platforms, and bring to your attention a few aspects to consider about each different open source platform. 6 most popular open source platforms:
Shopware is the leading open source platform for all your business and consumer needs—in one comprehensive solution. Shopware is based on open source technology, making it easy to customize and integrate with other systems, Shopware’s open source technology also means you have 100% visibility into your code. Shopware offers a comprehensive and flexible platform. The platform offers a range of features like customizable templates, a powerful product catalog, multi-language support, and integrated payment gateways. Shopware's flexibility and range of features make it an ideal choice for ecommerce automation, allowing businesses to streamline their online operations efficiently.
Shopware provides a range of features that allow merchants to create unique online shopping experiences for their customers including:
Customizable product pages
Flexible pricing and discount options
Best tool for a Magento migration
Shopware developers are constantly working to improve the platform; ensuring that Shopware stays at the forefront of ecommerce technology. Specializing in midsize to large businesses, Shopware's focus on innovation and usability has made it a popular choice for ecommerce businesses.
Pros: PHP-based and fully open-source platform. Very strong B2B capabilities. Offers some of the most impressive ecommerce automation tools (Flow Builder and Rule Builder). AI first approach and headless capabilities. The content management system is known as the best ecommerce CMS on the market. The best total cost of ownership for most mid-market sized businesses (starting at $5m online sales).
Cons: Not the right solution for businesses that only sell a handful of products.
WooCommerce offers high levels of flexibility to established businesses. Powered by WordPress; WooCommerce can guide you in migrating your existing ecommerce site, or help you bring your brick-and-mortar store online.
WooCommerce offers a wide array of payment options ranging from major credit cards or cash on delivery to Apply Pay or PayPal. The WooCommerce dashboard, although regarded as a bit confusing by many, allows you to manage orders on-the-go with automated tax calculations and live shipping rates, WooCommerce also offers a mobile app so you can do business anywhere.
Pros: Flexibility in selling many different products, ranging from downloadable books to charcoal grills.
Cons: WooCommerce is an extension of WordPress, you must use WordPress in order to use WooCommerce.
Magento, now Adobe Ecommerce, is a trusted ecommerce solution with a strong presence and many implementations. Magento offers a wide range of features and extensions, including SEO optimization, multi-store management, and mobile responsiveness, making it a leading choice for e-commerce websites. Magento also offers native multilingual capabilities as well as multilingual documentation.
Pros: 100% international; focused on the demands of several different markets.
Cons: Developers are scarce; typically, a 3-5 month wait to start development. Thousands of Magento 1 and 2 installations aren’t supported anymore. The core platform is bloated with out-of-the-box features with a lot of dependencies and legacy code.
Further reading: Magento migration
4. Drupal Commerce
Drupal Commerce allows you to implement highly tailored ecommerce systems without having to work around limitations in the core framework. Built for growth, Drupal Commerce scales alongside your business– and with Drupal’s theme layer, you have 100% control over your site's layout.
Pros: Built-in caching leads to lightning fast CMS speeds.
Cons: Installation and configuration can be very difficult for someone not familiar with FTP.
Joomla offers over 70 languages and over 8,000 extensions to broaden your website's functionality. Joomla lets you create as many menus and menu items as you need, and allows you to monetize your site by adding banners and ads.
Easy-to-use CMS management lets you keep your site up-to-date with a single click. Joomla also offers a help forum with a community of developers and business consultants at no extra cost.
Pros: The Joomla CMS community provides excellent support for any questions or problems you may run into.
Cons: Plug-ins don’t always update at the same time as Joomla itself, leading to problems for anyone with slightly more complex websites.
OpenCart offers a free-to-download and free-to-use open source platform; OpenCart allows ecommerce businesses unlimited products and categories for their site.
OpenCart offers multi-currency and multi-lingual features so you can sell all over the globe. Over 30 payment methods come fully integrated with OpenCart as well as hundreds more available for download. OpenCart allows you to set-up recurring payments if you’re offering a subscription based service, or want to give customers the option of breaking up their payments.
Pros: Easily create a world-wide market presence with OpenCart’s extensive currency options, languages varieties, and global shipping options.
Cons: Difficult to find a combination of add-ons and plug-ins that run smoothly together.
Choosing your open source ecommerce platform
The 6 different ecommerce platforms we’ve discussed all possess different advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to understand what you wish to get out of your open source ecommerce platform before making a decision.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind when making your decision:
Price: Yes, you can access and edit the platform's source code for free, but if you’re looking to upgrade with different extensions and add-ons, you’ll want to compare those different prices with your specifications in mind.
Usability: Whatever platform you choose should have a helpful technical support system, or at the very least- an active support community that can assist you through challenges as they arise. However, once your business reaches a certain size, make sure to be able to access professional support.
Functionality & Scalability: As you grow, adding new features and extensions to your site can create problems and hinder the user experience, make sure the options you plan on choosing won’t create a headache in the long run.
Integrations: If you’re looking to integrate parts of your existing platform with a new one, it’s important to confirm that these functions can be easily integrated.
FAQ - The best open-source ecommerce platforms
What is an open-source ecommerce platform?
An open-source ecommerce platform is a type of software that enables businesses to build and manage their online stores. It is open-source because the source code of the software is freely available and can be modified and customized by developers.
What are the benefits of using an open-source ecommerce platform?
Some benefits of using an open-source ecommerce platform include cost savings, flexibility, and customization. Because the source code is open, developers can customize the platform to meet the specific needs of the business. Additionally, open-source ecommerce platforms often have large communities of developers and users who contribute to the development and improvement of the software.
What are some popular open-source ecommerce platforms?
Some popular open-source ecommerce platforms include Shopware, Magento, WooCommerce, OpenCart, Drupal Commerce, and Joomla.
Which is the best open source platform?
Shopware is the best open-source ecommerce platform with a user base of more than 100,000 online shops around the world. With Shopware you own your data, and with full access to the source code, your data is truly yours—no lock-ins, no compromises, no limits.
Do I need technical skills to use an open-source ecommerce platform?
While some technical skills may be required to install and set up the platform, many open-source ecommerce platforms offer user-friendly interfaces and do not require extensive technical expertise to use.
Are open-source ecommerce platforms secure?
While no platform can be completely immune to security risks, open-source ecommerce platforms are generally considered to be secure. Because the source code is open and can be reviewed by developers, vulnerabilities can be identified and addressed quickly.
Is support available for open-source ecommerce platforms?
Many open-source ecommerce platforms offer community-based support, where users and developers can provide assistance to each other. Some platforms also offer paid support options.
Can I integrate an open-source ecommerce platform with other software?
Yes, many open-source ecommerce platforms offer integrations with other software, such as accounting software, shipping software, and marketing automation tools.
Are there any licensing fees associated with open-source ecommerce platforms?
Generally, there are no licensing fees associated with open-source ecommerce platforms. However, businesses may need to pay for hosting, support, and customizations.