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E-commerce software reviews

June 1st, 2011

Nowadays merchants are offered a range of various shopping carts with different options and under unlike conditions so it's rather difficult to surf in the sea of software if you're a newbie. In this E-commerce software review, shopping carts are divided into some sections according to some most general features.

Before making an E-commerce software review let's determine with the terminology.

The term of open-source is very often considered equal to “free shopping cart”. It's not the exact meaning.

In general, by the term open-source the access to the source code is meant. Actually most of shopping carts are created using PHP and ASP languages, and it's hard for developers to make them not available. So you'll most likely will have the copy of source code.

Another question is the type of license which determines what you can do with the source code.

Most of so-called Open-source E-commerce software is released under GPL (General Public License) which gives to user the right to copy, modify and distribute (on a commercial basis as well), as well as guarantee that the authors of all derivative programs will have the same rights.

OSL – Open Software License seems to be similar to GPL, however there are some differences in the conditions of distribution of the software.

There is also another type of license – commercial license which restricts a lot what you can do with it. Besides, if you make significant changes to the source code you won't be allowed to start selling it or to give it in any form to third-party. Under commercial license there are also two different types of shopping carts: Hosted and Not-Hosted.

Licensed software (not-hosted): The software is purchased by paying one-time fee, then is downloaded and then installed by user on a Web server. The main benefit of the licensed software is that the merchant owns a license, can access the source code and customize the application by himself.

Hosted service: The software is provided on conditions that is paid monthly/annually and located on a provider's hosted service. It is quicker way to launch your own webstore. There is one disadvantage – limitation of templates and customization possibilities.

Free software doesn't always mean that you can do with the source code anything you like. Many E-commerce platforms with commercial license provide users with free edition, which is usually an analogue of the commercially distributed product but with reduced number of features. You usually get the right to use it only on one web address and you are not allowed to remove the link “Powered by...”.

This is a list of most frequently met carts. If you can propose some more E-commerce solutions that deserves mentioning, please let us know in your comment, the article will be regularly updated. In the "Other features" section there are only general features that shopping cart has. For more details, please, visit official sites.

Avactis

CS-Cart

CubeCart

OpenCart

osCommerce

Magento

PrestaShop

XCart

ZenCart

 

Avactis

1. License type: commercial license

2. Hosted

3. Price: USD 249+free versions available

4. Uses: PHP/MySQL

5. Other features

  • 39+ payment methods support
  • ACL (Access Control List) for administrator users
  • Advanced marketing and sales reports (with Microsoft Excel export)
  • Advanced Newsletter management
  • Affiliate Tracking
  • Built-in Content Management System (CMS)
  • Digital Content delivery system (downloadable products)
  • Gift certificates
  • Multi-Currency
  • Multi-language (export and import of language text labels)
  • Multiple storefronts.
  • Newsletter manager
  • One Step Checkout
  • Strong Blowfish (cipher) and RSA encryption of sensitive data
  • Unlimited number of products and categories

 

CS-Cart

1. License type: commercial license

2. Not-hosted

3. Price: USD 228 +free versions available

4. Uses: PHP/MySQL

5. Other features

  • 50+ payment gateways
  • Block manager
  • Built-in affiliate system
  • Extended import/export
  • Extensive use of AJAX
  • Flexible tax rate system
  • Gift Certificates
  • Gift Registry
  • Inventory tracking
  • One-page checkout
  • Promotion options
  • Real-time shipping rates
  • Return Management
  • Statistics add-on

 

CubeCart

1. License type: commercial license

2. Hosted

3. Price: commercial+free versions available

4. Uses: PHP/MySQL

5. Other features

  • Professionally Security Audited
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • 100% Template Driven
  • XHTML & CSS Valid
  • Number of Skins included
  • Skin Selector
  • Checkout Steps
  • Unlimited Products, Categories & Images per Product
  • Email Marketing
  • Sell Digital & Tangible Goods
  • Inventory Stock Control
  • Related products (based on actual orders)
  • Gift Certificates
  • Module Import

 

OpenCart

1. License type: GPL

2. Not-hosted

3. Price:distributed only for free

4. Other features:

  • 20+ Payment Gateways
  • 8+ Shipping Methods
  • Automatic Image Resize
  • Free Documentation
  • Multi Currency
  • Multi Language
  • Product Ratings
  • Product Reviews
  • Templatable
  • Unlimited Manufacturers
  • Unlimited Products

 

osCommerce

1. License type: GPL

2. Not-hosted

3. Price:distributed only for free

4. Uses: PHP/MySQL

5. Other features

  • Database backup and restore
  • Many shipping options including weight
  • Multi language
  • Multi-currency support
  • Physical products as well as downloads
  • Price and destination
  • Provides an automatic setup of a variety of e-commerce payment systems
  • Supports secure transactions with SSL
  • Taxes (including compounded taxes, etc)
  • Unlimited number of products and categories

 

Magento

1. License type: OSL

2. Hosted

3. Price: commercial+free versions available

4. Uses: PHP

5. Other features

  • Marketing Promotions and Tools
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Catalog Management
  • Product Browsing
  • International Support
  • Shipping
  • Customer Service
  • Order Management
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Site Management
  • Catalog Browsing
  • Mobile Commerce
  • One-Page Checkout
  • Payment gateways

 

PrestaShop

1. License type: OSL

2. Not-hosted

3. Price:distributed only for free

4. Uses: PHP/MySQL

5. Other features

  • Affiliate program
  • Built-in support for PayPal
  • Carriers and destinations
  • Cross-selling
  • Currencies
  • Payment by bank wire
  • Pick up in store option
  • Product attribute combinations and specifications
  • Product search
  • Product tagging
  • Quantity discounts (digressive pricing
  • Real-time currency exchange rates
  • Return of merchandise
  • Sale of services and virtual goods>
  • Search engine friendly URLs (web addresses
  • Shopping cart recall
  • Special deals (reduced price or gift voucher)
  • SSL encryption
  • Tax by state, country, both state and country, zones or no taxes at all the ability to order out-of-stock item
  • Unlimited categories, subcategories
  • Unlimited payment methods
  • Unlimited tax settings

 

XCart

1. License type: commercial license

2. Hosted

3. Price: USD 149

4. Uses: PHP/MySQL

5. Other features

  • "Featured Products" box
  • Ability to modify multiple products simultaneously
  • Automatical currency conversion
  • Configurable search by title, description, category, SKU, price and weight
  • Members-only categories
  • Multi-language: your e-store can work with unlimited number of languages
  • Related products, up selling and cross selling
  • Search Engine Friendly URLs for product, category and static pages
  • Unlimited number of categories
  • Unlimited number of products
  • Wish list

 

ZenCart

1. License type: GPL

2. Not-hosted

3. Price: distributed only for free

4. Uses: PHP/XHTML template system

5. Other features

  • Discount coupons
  • Featured products
  • Gift certificates
  • Multiple ad banner controller
  • Multiple customer modes
  • Multiple display modes
  • Multiple payment options
  • Multiple sales and discounts
  • Multiple shipping options
  • Newsletter manager
  • Quantity discounts
  • Unlimited category depth
  • Unlimited extra pages

 

You might also be interested in

Best E-commerce software

CS-Cart reviews

 

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