For most small office home office (SOHO) businesses and entrepreneurs, breaking into ecommerce can have a hefty start-up fee. There's a lot of software to consider, and the costs to license or own that software can add up quickly.
Other than the obvious benefit to open source ecommerce software-none of the licensing fees that come with proprietary or off-the-shelf packages-you'll find open source software provides access to communities of users, including developers and other storeowners, who freely offer help and add-ons to enhance the software package.
If you find that open source software requires more technical know-how than you can manage, there's also free hosted ecommerce software to choose from. These are not open source software packages per se, but they are free for smaller businesses to try and will certainly get the job done when you're starting out. If you like the service and see positive results, you can always upgrade to a basic subscription plan.
13 Open Source Shopping Carts to Get You Started
Some ecommerce software requires a bit more investigation that others. When choosing an online shopping cart, there are two big considerations: How well the software meets your own business objectives and how it complies with ecommerce industry standards.
1. AgoraCart This customizable and secure open source ecommerce shopping cart can be integrated in to an existing website. Expect to find cart features such as customizable templates to design your Web shop, support for multiple product categories and options for different tax rates in addition to back-end store management tools. AgoraCart is PA-DSS and PCI-DSS compliant and supports more than 10 payment gateways. The free community edition (5.2.x) is supported though online community forums.
2. Batavi Batavi is a flexible open source ecommerce system for running a high-end Web shop. Features include a template-based system for pages, a full content management system and a robust architecture that can process very large numbers of products, visitors pages and orders. There's also built-in integration with product content providers, Google Analytics and a number of payment providers. Batavi is licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2.0 (GPLv2).
3. Broadleaf Commerce This enterprise-level e-commerce platform can be customized to specific business needs. Broadleaf Commerce features options to manage customer accounts, upsell, create promotions and also manage email marketing campaigns and social media integration. The Broadleaf Commerce community provides an online forum for discussion and contributions, articles, development guides and project API documentation. Broadleaf Commerce uses the Apache license.
4. Commerce.CGI Commerce.CGI is a free Perl shopping cart for Unix-based servers, although developers claim it runs on Windows NT with minor code changes. Commerce.CGI can be an add-on for existing websites or installed and configured to manage a new product website. Standard shopping cart features include templates, email management, product search and payment methods. Commerce.CGI also supports sales tax, multiple shipping options, discount calculations and other options for customer check out. Commerce.CGI is free and supported through the online mailing list or a bulletin board system. User-contributed modifications are freely distributed.
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