October 12th, 2009
Once your dropship business gains scale and probably joins the list of big dropship websites moneymakers you will think of developing an e-commerce site and inevitably face with the dilemma what e-commerce platform software to install at your e-commerce website.
There are tens, if not hundreds, options to choose from, but it makes sense to pay attention to free e-commerce software solutions that are popular. Why? They are FREE and POPULAR (that guarantees that you will have no problem with technical support – installations, customization, upgrade, etc. For example, if you research for Magento or OS Commerce hacks you are likely to find a ready solution for any customization you might need). Also need to say that two of the below e-commerce software platforms are compatible (extensions, in fact) with popular CMS systems like Joomla and WordPress.
Below you will go through the list of top five free e-commerce platforms:
1. Magento – undoubtedly, the most popular product in this niche right now. 140,000 users, 1,000,000+ downloads. A product was introduced to the market in 2008 and got popular in no time. You can go through the feature list here Due to its popularity it is easy to find a Magento expert on eLance, other freelance boards or even through the official Magento website
2. osCommerce – Live Stores: 12,700, Add-Ons: 5,724, Community Members: 221,725 Launched in 2003 the software solution was the leader of free e-commerce platforms for a long time. Some weaknesses that shattered osCommerce top positions on the market of free e-commerce solutions were security vulnerabilities. Lack of plugins and add-ons (= not highly customizable) also allowed this software competitors to get its market share.
3. Zen Cart – another popular free e-commerce platform software. Also PHP based solution, this software developed as a branch from osCommerce (unlike osCommerce, it is template based and includes some extra features in the core). Zen Cart comes with many free add-ons that makes it attractive to users (as well as other listed here e-commerce solutions except osCommerce).
4. VirtueMart – a widely used e-commerce solution for Joomla (formerly Mambo) based websites (in fact, it is voted to be #1 Joomla extension). Initially known as mambo-phpShop. At the moment of writing the e-commerce solution had 1,500,000+ downloads. Full feature list is available here Like any other solution in our review it is highly customizable. A perfect solution for Joomla CMS based websites.
5. Instinct WordPress e-Commerce Plugin – one more CMS integrated popular e-commerce solution. For millions of WordPress powered website owners, this can be the right solution. 300,000+ downloads. Compared to top 3 free e-commerce solutions this might look a simpler solution, but for most dropship websites it can be the perfect fit.
The above e-commerce platforms are certainly not a complete list of free e-commerce solutions available on the market. But they are the most popular that provides you with a flexible solution to fit your needs and trouble free support if you need some.