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Go Digital with Open Source E-Commerce Mobile App Solutions

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e-commerce

When you decide to take your business digital, there are various factors that you need to consider. It would help if you thought profoundly about how you plan on getting your products from your warehouses into the hands of customers. These tools and factors can be helpful and support your e-commerce business to have the appropriate mobile app solution.

It is essential to discuss how you plan on branding yourself and promoting your brand among the largest section of prospective customers. Additionally, you might also need to conduct some market research into who your ideal customers are, competitors in your niche and whether your product is even required in the market.

Above all, taking your business online revolves significantly around when, how, and how well you build your online portals. Formerly, merely having a website was generally enough when it came to indulging in e-commerce. However, as a more significant proportion of the population has gained access to the internet through their mobile phones, mobile apps have become equally – if not more – important.

As on websites, on mobile phones too, the foundation of your e-commerce transactions is the e-commerce platform you choose. Open-source e-commerce platforms are platforms for which the source code is freely available on a website, allowing users to adapt it as per their needs.

There are also a host of open-source e-commerce software that you can utilize to create your e-commerce app by hiring freelance web developers or software development companies.

Open-Source E-Commerce Mobile App Solutions

Let us look at the best options among open-source e-commerce software available online.

1. Square

Square is among the most preferred open source e-commerce platforms, primarily because it is free and easy to use. It was founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and has grown into one of the largest e-commerce platforms for both web and mobile. Its main aim is to bring those who are not technologically inclined, into the online market.

Advantages

  • You can create a complete e-commerce website completely free using Square.
  • If you do not like how your website translates to its mobile version, you can integrate the Square API that comes with a whole host of third-party applications, retaining the platform while changing the design.
  • Square has a streamlined payments system which makes the task of real-time transaction management really easy.
  • It also contains inventory management capabilities, booking and scheduling, employee management, inventory management, and every other job you require completed while running an e-commerce business.

Disadvantages

  • While setting up a business using Square is free, it does charge a flat rate of 2.9% and 30 cents for each transaction. This can be quite a handful during your initial days in the business when you supposedly carry out high-discount-low-margin transactions to gain market share.
  • The Square Online Store blocks a significant proportion of legitimate transactions on account of being suspicious, which might create some difficulties for your customers.
  • Square is a robust solution if you consider only the simplest or most basic e-commerce setups. When your transactions become a bit more complicated, there is a chance of your platform unravelling.
  • There have also been some issues with users attempting to contact Square customer support in the past.

2. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is another prevalent e-commerce platform. It is built on WordPress and has been focusing completely on e-commerce since 2017. WooCommerce is active in more than 30 countries and is completely owned and run by Automatics, the company that also owns WordPress.

Advantages

  • In comparison to other such open-source e-commerce platforms, it is easier to set up. All you require is a WordPress website and the WooCommerce plugin.
  • All the major payment gateways are covered aptly by the WooCommerce plugin.
  • The WooCommerce plugin also offers the capability to provide discounts, offers, and deals.
  • The extensions library on WooCommerce is immensely diverse and contains all sorts of add-ons that help you expand the platform’s capabilities.
  • WooCommerce support is available through multiple methods and avenues.

Disadvantages

  • While WooCommerce does bill itself as a free and open-source e-commerce platform, several charges can come with it if you want to use it to its complete capability.
  • If you wish to connect your WooCommerce-based website to an app, the WooCommerce app builder will be an extra cost.
  • Similarly, the extensions for offers and discounts can be an added cost.
  • The theme, hosting, and domain name are all added prices with WooCommerce.
  • If you wish to get the best out of WooCommerce at a low cost, you need immense programming knowledge, in the absence of which, you might need to hire custom software development companies

3. nopCommerce

nopCommerce was founded in 2008 and currently has more than 250,000 members in its community. The platform is developed on the foundation of ASP.NET. It was the first truly open-source e-commerce platform that did not levy any sort of fees for scaling.

Advantages

  • nopCommerce is a genuinely free and open-source platform.
  • It is ideal for all types and sizes of businesses.
  • You get two different options to install the platform. You can either access the source code and play around to tinker it as per your needs and requirements or download a one-click installer that will download nopCommerce onto your system without asking too many questions.
  • The platform contains most of the essential requirements of setting up an online e-commerce store.
  • Being open-source, it also has a vibrant community of developers who are continually working to improve its capabilities and update its integrations.
  • nopCommerce has a wide range of updated third-party integrations, including the ability to build it into a mobile app through the source code.

Disadvantages

  • nopCommerce is not ideal for all types of e-commerce business owners, especially not for those who do not know much about web development.
  • Even though nopCommerce is free, you might incur charges of site and app development.
  • Customer support for nopCommerce is not that robust, and you will have to rely heavily on the online community.

4. X-Cart

X-Cart is one of the fastest-growing and most scalable open-source e-commerce software. It offers free and paid plans, and the features you get are naturally in line with what you pay. It brands itself as “The Last eCommerce Platform You Will Ever Need”, and prides itself on long-lasting customers. Over 20 years old, X-Cart is operative in over 100 countries and has more than 30,000 active online stores running on it.

Advantages

  • X-Cart offers integrations with almost all the major payment gateways you can think of.
  • It supports multiple languages and multiple currencies if you are looking to conduct offshore e-commerce.
  • You get the option to add integrations manually if you are aware of PHP programming.
  • You will find developer support for X-Cart on various forums across the internet as it is open source.
  • Multiple levels of control are possible with X-Cart and depending on your web development proficiency, you can potentially scale it up no end.

Disadvantages

  • The X-Cart official customer support is only available for a fee, in the absence of which, your primary source of help is only the X-Cart documentation.
  • If you opt for one of the paid plans, you must pay for hosting, which might seem unfair if you have already chosen a hosting plan.
  • The paid plan costs are considerable.
  • The platform is not entirely code-free and wouldn’t be recommended if you are entirely new to the world of programming.

5. Zen Cart

Zen Cart is among the oldest open source e-commerce software and has been in use by some businesses for more than a decade. It is available free to all under the GNU General Public License. It was first released in 2003 after separating from osCommerce and has cross-platform capabilities. 

Advantages

  • Zen Cart is the closest a citizen developer can get to setting up an e-commerce business without needing code.
  • The number and kinds of customization options that Zen Cart provides are unprecedented for any similar software.
  • Its security features allow for the security of transitions and your data. Its details are laid out in the security documentation that Zen Cart provides.
  • Zen Cart contains a large directory of plugins. It is created by other developers, which you can download to extend your app or website’s capabilities.
  • Zen Cart contains a vibrant developer community, and support is mostly available in the form of old posts.
  • It can carry out transactions in more than one language.

Disadvantages

  • Zen Cart doesn’t have a customer support setup and relies purely on the developer community.
  • There have also been instances of old features becoming incompatible as the developers upgraded the software.
  • Even with many plugins available, all of them might not be compatible with each other.
  • You might need to invest in better templates.
Conclusion

The above open-source e-commerce software easily doubles up as mobile app solutions. It is simply due to the virtue of their source code being accessible to developers. Over the years, each of these platforms has been mapped to mobile apps, either through a native mobile app builder or third-party software. With this knowledge, you can now proceed to build a successful e-commerce business!

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Mayank Pratap
Mayank Pratap

Mayank Pratap Singh Top writer at Entrepreneur.com, the startup, Hackernoon, StartupGrind | Helped 500+ founders to build awesome Web & App products, Hire Remote Engineers | 30+ funded, 6 selected in Y-Combinator | More than 50 founders from MIT DeltaV & Harvard innovation lab has used Supersourcing

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