If you are still rigid about the brick-and-mortar store and not delving into the internet realm, I am afraid you are barking up the wrong tree. Some of you people are naive about the digital revolution whereas some of you have already become the naysayers but the revolution is unstoppable. My suggestion – go with the trend. It is the most felicitous thing to do.
Plus, there is fierce competition out there and as a businessman – eCommerce is the only arsenal left to defeat the unseen peer pressure. The term eCommerce is pretty known with the high demand for online purchases in regards to food, clothing and accessories, home decor, electronic gadgets, and whatnot. Today launching an eCommerce store is a usual thing to do. Now the concern is if everybody is trying to launch their eCommerce store so how will you shine out or stand above the crowd? However, this is a new predicament faced by most entrepreneurs.
It’s quite simple, try creating your online store based on open source e-commerce platforms or try choosing a PHP-based eCommerce framework. Recently, I happened to stumble upon a post that emphasizes what makes PHP great for an e-commerce store. You must go through it as well. Let’s face it a lot goes into building and launching an eCommerce website but if you make the right start things might become a cakewalk for you further.
The Hype of an eCommerce Platform
There has been a significant uptick in the open-source eCommerce platforms all across the globe. Well, it’s a great thing but at the same time, I am afraid that the sudden inflation might lead to an unknown downward pressure on inflation via several factors like competition and the cost. Also one shouldn’t ignore the fact that the speedy influx of new technology in the retail experience has driven consumers of all ages to expect a convenient and connected experience that seamlessly aligns with their everyday lives.
First of all, why does your business require an eCommerce website in the first place?
1. Marketing becomes easy!
One of the crucial aspects of having your website is that you can market directly to website visitors and customers. People who buy your product are the customers of the marketplace, selling directly to consumers on your website means you get to collect their contact information. Plus, you can send them email marketing promotions, offer discounts, and announce new products.
Also, one must consider that you shouldn’t have direct access to your customers. This gives you fewer opportunities to provide good customer service and promote your other products. Since it’s easier and cheaper to retain a customer than it is to get a new one, communicating with existing customers is a necessary part of generating revenue for your business.
2. Strengthen your Brand
When you sell your products on a marketplace, I am sure they are listed generically. Most of the time, visitors and customers assume your product belongs to the marketplace without realizing you even exist. In other words, those who purchase your product will remember the marketplace instead of you.
When you are running a website, you get to maintain full control, including the way it looks, what it says, and how it works. The possibilities are endless! You can even reinforce your brand during the unboxing experience and use custom boxes to leave a lasting impression on your customers. Best of all, you get credit for your product – not a third-party marketplace!
3. It’s more like Plug and Plays!
Another crucial factor in creating a website, using an open-source eCommerce platform such as Shopify, Magento, Squarespace, and WooCommerce it’s way easier to create as well as maintain. All you have to do is simply enter all the details and choose from free or cheap templates, and create the shopping experience you want for your customers in real-time with site builders that allow you to drag and drop eCommerce store features to your preference.
Moreover, here these open-source eCommerce platforms tend to offer a plethora of do-it-yourself tools that make it seamless for businesses to update content, add products, and make other adjustments all on their own.
Have you realized how much time you happen to spend on the internet via your mobile or laptop devices? You could be doing anything: watching a movie or buying something, ordering food, booking travel tickets, etc. And without eCommerce the world around the internet is impossible and it scares us to imagine. That’s why eCommerce is an integral part of our daily life.
Take Amazon, Flipkart for example, they offer a bazillion of things whether you wish for baby care products or fashion, home decor, festival collection, groceries, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, unlike these open source eCommerce platforms, the brick and mortar stores have become dead ducks. So at the moment: the shift to digital is the only way out!
Now, what has an eCommerce platform got to do with this? Well, the open-source eCommerce platform is the backbone of any online retail enterprise, allowing the front-end and back-end to work in tandem and efficiently. An eCommerce platform is the girder of the building, providing a rigid structure on which a B2B or B2C enterprise is supported.
Do you think an eCommerce platform is simply limited to support? I guess not! Businesses by incorporating an open-source eCommerce platform can provide a seamless customer experience and control their destiny like none other.
What is an Open Source eCommerce Platform?
There is no cookie-cutter solution when it comes to growing your online business. There are a plethora of ways such as a free eCommerce platform or SaaS platforms or Full-service eCommerce stores. Now let me explain to you in layman’s language what they mean.
- SaaS Platform – Imagine a situation where you take public transport. The milestones are already marked right from the beginning, the eCommerce platform will just take you from one point to another.
- Open Source eCommerce Platform – This one is more like driving your car. You can take a detour or change the destination at any point in time. There is only one issue, you have to learn how to drive and maintain this. An open-source eCommerce platform gives online merchants flexibility, but it also comes with challenges.
- Full-service – This one is more luxurious. Imagine you are sitting in a car with a chauffeur. So you can go wherever you wish to. Also, you don’t have to drive instead focus on your core activities. It’s like you have the idea and let others run the trains for you.
Technically speaking, open-source eCommerce platforms are eCommerce website builders that allow the source code to be freely available for anyone to view, modify and contribute. Here you can customize it whenever and wherever you wish to. Also, there is a 100% possibility of creating an online store that aligns with your specific business objectives. Unfortunately, this level of control cannot be attained with hosted platforms. The only concern is to fully optimize your online store, you do require tech know-how and coding skills.
Apart from that, you can set up open-source eCommerce platforms in any particular region. This also indicates you don’t have to stick with a single or centralized host, therefore, you can change the hosting service if your store outgrows the current provider.
Benefits of using Open source eCommerce Platforms
Like I said before free eCommerce platforms are software applications whose code is not owned by anyone. As a result, businesses are free to modify and customize the code to suit their business goals. On the other hand, proprietary software is owned software that cannot be modified in any way. Additionally, most of these come with a licensing fee that needs to be paid before they can be used.
Benefits of the Open source eCommerce platform include
Establishing an eCommerce platform is not easy. After all, you need to consider several decisions and factors. A lot of them can be expensive, stretching your budget thin. An open-source e-commerce platform is the perfect budget-friendly option as it does not have any vendor lockdown. Thus, there is no licensing fee attached to using this software.
There are online store owners who view open-sourced software as a more secure option. The source code is visible to all and anyone can modify the code and submit an update. This means that any errors that were made by the original authors can be swiftly fixed. With so many programmers looking at the code without needing to ask permission, they can fix and upgrade the software, making it far more resilient to attacks.
Unique and creative
With an open-source eCommerce software businesses are constantly looking for ways to stand out from the competition. Businesses can customize the platform to best suit their business. In addition, there are numerous options available to design the platform. This allows businesses and website designers the creative freedom to create a unique and attractive platform
You are finally willing to create an online store or eCommerce store or an eCommerce website, so it’s time to make the most of it. Now while developing an e-commerce website what happens is that you may need to ship a product, but you likely need to get the tracking from another service. Though Your store may sell products in other states, you’re going to have to calculate the taxes that apply to every different jurisdiction.
Here come third-party integrations to the rescue! And here’s the best part: you don’t have to carry expertise in all these aspects. Fortunately, open-source eCommerce platforms do allow third-party integrations that work the best for business owners.
In comparison to proprietary eCommerce software, open-source software is often much cheaper. So in addition to the previous eight great benefits of using open source eCommerce software, we can pass the savings onto you meaning you get much greater value from your money.
Top PHP Based eCommerce Frameworks to Consider
Moving on, it’s time to decide which type of platform is right for you. If you’re looking for a cheap or free open source eCommerce platform, you’ve come to the right place. And the best part here is the majority of them are rather inexpensive as it is.
The most preferred and popular e-Commerce platform is Magento 2. It comprises a vast range of features and functionalities. This accounts for 12% of all online stores. You would be surprised to know that it is downloaded 5,000 times a day. Some of the prominent users of eCommerce stores include Jaguar & NCG, Nestle Nespresso, JCB, Canon, Nike, Land Rover, Jack Daniel’s, Paul Smith, etc.
What makes Magento 2 a cut-above?
- Seamless configuration deployment
- Increased speed of production deployment
- Customers, loyalty, customer service, and store operations
- Cross Compatibility
2. Drupal Commerce
Drupal is among the E-Commerce platforms which is specifically designed for large-scale initiatives. It is one of the most high-performance E-Commerce platforms. The Drupal content management system is specially designed for large-scale initiatives. It is one of the most high-performance.
The e-commerce platform comprises a security system that’s extremely good and it protects users against any internet malicious activities.
After drupal commerce, Prestashop is a popular eCommerce software that allows you to create a next-level eCommerce store and grow your business multifold. Some of its outstanding features include rich functionality, low maintenance, and cost-free solutions. Prestashop has an add-on marketplace having a lot of modules available.
Its benefits include:
- Multilingual and multi-currency platform
- Inventory management features such as item tracking and out-of-stock alerts
- Large selection of Payment methods
- Sales and order statistics
- Customizable checkout process
- Compatibility with a large number of add-ons and 3rd party integrations
OpenCart is another PHP eCommerce framework that is free for all users to use. The interface of the software is really simple and easy to use. You can choose among a lot of methods of shipping that are available on the platform.
You can also build multiple stores. It also has a built-in SEO feature. You can also include your social media on the platform. A lot of extensions are available for the people. You will get reliable support and a vast community to showcase your problems.
VirtueMart is an easy-to-use eCommerce store whether you are a beginner or an expert. Here you will be able to create custom fields while using this platform. Editing taxes and calculation rules are quite easy with this platform. There are different types of features available in this platform to make it very user-friendly.
You can easily search for what you are looking for. You can also easily list your products and organize them yourself. You can create a lot of categories and categorize your products accordingly. Product reviews are also available on this platform. People can easily leave ratings on this platform.
An open-source eCommerce platform may be a good fit in some situations; in others, it may prove too limiting or complex. So choose wisely! But all in all, open-source eCommerce platforms have proved beneficial for most businesses. It doesn’t only give the companies an online presence, but the customers looking to buy authentic and genuine products trust only the brand’s official website. So having a PHP-based eCommerce store is a winning move.