21 listings of free and open-source eCommerce software
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Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce or eCommerce, consists of the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. The amount of trade conducted electronically has grown extraordinarily since the spread of the Internet. A wide variety of commerce is conducted in this way, spurring and drawing on innovations in electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web at least at some point in the transaction’s lifecycle, although it can encompass a wider range of technologies such as e-mail as well.
When viewing an online store, eCommerce software is the framework or engine that’s powering those product categories and product listings. It’s the system that allows business owners to easily manage their product inventory, add products to the store, remove products, calculate shipping costs and taxes on the fly, and fulfill their orders as products are purchased.
With the ever-growing popularity of buying and selling products online, eCommerce software and scripts have become increasingly high in-demand. New technologies are driving software developers to create innovative and complex feature-sets for their tools, including eCommerce systems that piggy-back off important technology such as mobile commerce, supply chain management, electronic funds transfer, SEO friendly URLS and internet marketing, online transaction processing, automatic data collection, and inventory management. These are just some of the many useful technologies that eCommerce software utilizes and it’s what has kept opensource eCommerce scripts thriving.
What makes eCommerce software useful?
By simplifying the complex processes involved in running an online store, eCommerce software makes running an eCommerce business easier. It provides a user-friendly interface to access the intricate features of the script. Today’s eCommerce systems are very advanced, multifaceted tools. However, to the administrator, everything is easy to access and streamlined. Adding, editing, or removing products takes just seconds. Changing prices, product settings, or even store-wide settings is easier and code-free.
Opensource eCommerce software is often self-hosted
Most of the time, an opensource script is self-hosted. That means it must be installed and managed on your own server or web hosting provider. This is often preferred among developers or those with a baseline of technical experience. Often, you will have to do your own troubleshooting and updating for the software. However, it also means you have access to the opensource code and are able to make changes and customize the platform to your needs.
What about SaaS?
SaaS or software as a service solutions are sometimes still opensource but it’s a rare find. These are packages that you subscribe to on a month-to-month basis. You’re provided a secure installation and hosting service for the eCommerce software of your choosing. Generally, updates are automatically installed for you and it’s far more hands-off. Many eCommerce software developers have gone this route for providing their system.
What can eCommerce software do for your website and store?
In almost all eCommerce scripts, including opensource and SaaS, there are some essential features that you can expect to find. The common feature-set for eCommerce software is straightforward but it’s generally extendible through plugins and addons. Modular extensibility is often a priority among eCommerce software developers. Providing store owners with additional features that are unique to their store’s requirements allows their system to be applicable for a wide-range of industries.
Automate shipping and taxes – Let’s face it, these are two expenses you probably don’t look forward to. Fortunately, eCommerce software automates your shipping labels, calculates your sales tax based on the location of the buyer, and sends email notifications automatically.
Product management – The most important of all features for an eCommerce script is product management. From SKU handling to product variations, eCommerce software allows you to customize product names, images, prices and more using a simplified interface.
Marketing management – SEO friendly URLs, easy meta-detail access, and other features make running an online store more profitable by getting you ranked in search engines.
Order management – Let’s face it, setting up and managing the website is really the easy part. Taking orders, shipping products, and staying on top of order management is complicated. Your eCommerce software will make it easier, whether it’s an opensource tool or a SaaS subscription. You can filter orders, track order status, and make changes to your orders easily.
Customer management – When you receive an order, it’s important for that customer to be added and tracked in your system. Customer management makes this possible. Many eCommerce tools even integrate with CRM systems to add customers into third-party software.
Provide a better user experience – Ultimately, your success is about how well you impress the buyer and provide a good experience. Shopping cart software helps you do that efficiently. It makes the checkout process easier and helps customers find the products they’re looking for in real-time.