E-Commerce Websites

by Managing and Controlling your own Ecommerce Website


Ecommerce Statistics

In 2013 91.9% of Australian businesses had internet access, less than half (44.6%) had an online presence. If we drill down a little further, we see that its 41.6% for small businesses (0-19 employees) and 44.4% for small and medium businesses combined (0-199 employees). This compares to 97.0% of large businesses (200+ employees).

Fast forward to 2018 and most of us have NBN with reasonably fast connections. Almost all of us have engaged in some form of online shopping. If you are one of those businesses that is not yet engaging online, then you’re missing out on a huge market share.

For more E-Commerce Reports and Statistics please read the following PDFs:

Australia PostInside Australian Online Shopping 2017
Ecommerce Wiki – Australia B2C E-commerce Report 2016


When it comes to open source E-Commerce platforms, finding the perfect platform is not easy. However the information below should help guide you in the right direction.

Each Open Source Solution has its own set of pros and cons and has been designed with a slightly different user in mind. Uploading products and customising your store can be very time consuming. To save you time we can make recommendation as to which solution we think will be best suited for your business. However we encourage you to do as much research as possible before making your final decision.

General Trends in Open Source Ecommerce Software

It’s quite clear that WooCommerce is dominating the space right now due to the amount of WordPress websites on the internet. It’s important to remember that WooCommerce is not a fully designed E-Commerce platform but an plugin that is integrated into WordPress websites. This plugin should only be considered for very small online stores running WordPress.

A couple of years ago the entire E-Commerce platform landscape changed with OpenCart, Prestashop and Shopify jumping into the scene.

PrestaShop’s popularity has grown steadily but the Prestashop developer community is currently divided with how Prestashop Core Developers rolled out their latest version 1.7

OpenCart is the fastest out of all the open source e-commerce solutions. Probably even faster than Magento. It’s popularity has doubled over the past year. This is indicative of the project’s ability to provide a good e-commerce platform to online entrepreneurs.

Then we have Shopify, with it’s ease of use and set and forget hosting system, they’re competing strongly for E-Commerce market dominance and have gain strong public support.

osCommerce and Zen Cart seem to be on their way out — interest in these e-commerce solutions is decreasing. There was a time when osCommerce was extremely popular, but those years are done. Zen Cart didn’t even reach the peak of its glory because of new platforms like Magento.

E-Commerce Platforms Market Share

According to Cart2Cart migration statistics in 2016, there are 5 top eCommerce platforms that store owners are switching to. They are WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify, PrestaShop, and OpenCart.

Here you can see the chart showing the most worldwide used solutions with eCommerce platforms market share.

Popular E-Commerce Platforms

OpenCart Logo

“A powerful Open Source Shopping Cart system that is designed feature rich and user friendly”
Opencart Website – Source: http://www.opencart.com

OpenCart is a turn-key ready “out of the box” shopping cart solution. You simply install, select your template, add products and you’re ready to start accepting orders.

It has order management and multiple payment gateways already built in and we provide lifetime free support and free software updates.

Not only does OpenCart look great, it’s extremely scalable. You can create an unlimited number of categories, sell an unlimited number of products, accept multiple currencies, use multiple languages, and choose from over 20 payment and 8 shipping methods. It’s user-friendly and search-engine-friendly too, so will help your prominence in Google. Customers can even review and rate the items you sell. It’s not as popular as osCommerce, so help and guidance is not so freely available, but it’s a darn sight better looking.

OpenCart’s administration panel is intuitive and easy to control. What I like about OpenCart is that you’re not overwhelmed with a lot of functions you probably won’t ever use; it just has a well-thought-out set of extremely useful features.

Being a relatively new shopping cart, you should be aware that OpenCart is still under development. Though OpenCart is new, it looks to be a very strong e-commerce solution. It’s a good choice for first-time online merchants.

Prestashop Logo

“PrestaShop is the most reliable and flexible Open-source e-commerce software. Since 2007, PrestaShop has revolutionized the industry by providing features that engage shoppers and increase online sales. The PrestaTeam consists of over 70 passionate individuals and more than 500 000 community members dedicated to innovated technology.”


PrestaShop is another robust, professional-grade e-Commerce solution that you can download, install, and use for free. On the back end, you’ll use a full-featured back-office application to manage your online business (including inventory, orders, shipping, and customers) in real-time. Your customer’s payments are sent directly to your commerical bank account using the latest security technology.

Being not so highly targeted towards web developers, PrestaShop has an emphasis on user-friendliness. Though in order to do some advanced customization which may require a developer.

PrestaShop has been around for more than five years and it currently powers 130,000+ active online shops. This open source e-commerce solution has been downloaded 2.6 million times. PrestaShop, out of the box, provides shoppers with a smooth shopping and checkout process.

PrestaShop is a great choice if you find Magento or osCommerce overwhelming or too complicated.

PrestaShop is a very powerful shopping cart solution aimed towards both developers and end-users. It’s much simpler and more user-friendly compared to your other options.

The Prestashop community is currently divided regarding the latest release of version 1.7
Only time will tell how Prestashop will respond. Will they listen to the community or go their own way?

Woo Commerce Logo

“WooCommerce is among world’s most respected shopping carts. It comes as a free plugin to Industry dominating content management system- WordPress. It is a perfect solution for those who want to build their own web store from the ground up or start selling products using their existing WordPress blog or website.”


WooCommerce is the extendable, adaptable open source solution. That means its code is freely available for you to view, modify, and contribute. It makes WooCommerce a highly-flexible platform.

WooCommerce has all of basic eCommerce features e.g numerous product types, payment gateways, delivery settings, tax control, stock tracking, coupon system, discount coupons etc. In addition, this platform is fully extendable both with WooCommerce native plugins and WordPress extensions and themes. WooCommerce itself offers a wide range of official extensions and templates, over 350, to be more precise.

Shopify Logo

“If you’re looking to sell products online but don’t have a ton (or any) experience in web development or coding, don’t worry. Shopify offers a comprehensive eCommerce web builder complete with hundreds of templates ready to go right out of the box.”


Shopify is a hosted shopping cart. What that means is that all the core source code issues are handled by Shopify. While this does have its advantages it also has some disadvantages. Shopify provides developers and store owners  full control over the coding of your site (HTML & CSS) but you’re stuck hosting with Shopify. So hypothetically if  Shopify were to increase their hosting fees then you have no choice but to stick with Shopify. Open Source solutions on the other hand allow us to choose who we host with. One disadvantages of hosting your own web host is you’re more than likely going to need a developer when ever an update is required. In our experience hosting and extensions are much more affordable with alternative Open Source solutions so you would need to do you own research and weight up whether this is important to you or not.

Today Shopify is one of the best and most reliable eCommerce software that serves over 325,000 of businessmen worldwide. If you are looking to build a complex, still easy-to-use online web store to sell goods, Shopify is worth considering.

Being one of the most dynamically developing eCommerce solutions, Shopify is famous for implementation of groundbreaking and unique features first. For instance, recently Shopify has integrated with Amazon.

OS Commerce

“Have you seen old screenshots of Internet Explorer 4 — remember when it came out and it was cool but now you look at it and laugh and remember the good old days and Melrose Place and what not. osCommerce is the Internet Explorer 3 of shopping carts. Technically it might still work but it will be the worst online experience of your life. Please think of the children, don’t even visit the site it just encourages them.”

osCommerce is absolutely free under the GNU General Public License and caters very well to most people’s needs. Unsurprisingly, considering how easy it is to set up and run, it’s extremely popular, powering over 228,700 online stores. Such popularity does come with a significant downside however- it makes it harder for you to differentiate your store from the thousands of others out there. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’re going to need to use some of the 5,800 add-ons available, some of which cost money.

osCommerce is one of the oldest open source shopping carts available in the market, being around in existence since March 2000. The project originated from Germany.

This popular open source e-commerce solution is used by close to 13,000 websites. In the course of over 12 years, osCommerce has formed a huge community around it consisting of 270,000+ members, so you’ll be able to lean on thousands of osCommerce experts and web developers specializing in the e-commerce platform.

osCommerce is known to be a modular system — that is, you can enhance its out-of-the-box features by installing add-ons. There are over 7,000+ add-ons that will allow you to extend the software’s functionality.

Throughout its history, osCommerce has been vulnerable to major security issues. For example, in 2011, 4.5 million osCommerce web pages were infected due to a security hole that permitted the attackers to inject affected sites with malicious code. These security issues are generally patched quickly, though.

Magento Logo

“Magento is a leading enterprise-class eCommerce platform, empowering over 200,000 online retailers to date and chosen by 1 of every 4 online businesses.

Offering powerful and flexible features Magento’s intuitive administration interface provides advanced marketing, search engine optimisation and catalogue-management tools to control the look, content and functionality of every retailer’s unique ecommmerce website.”

Magento Website – Source: https://www.thepixel.com/magento-ecommerce/

You’ve only got to look at Magento’s client list to realise what an excellent piece of open-source software it is. Samsung, The North Face, Stussy and Nespresso all use it to power their online stores. It’s used by 30,000 merchants and is the world’s fastest growing ecommerce platform. You have to pay for the Enterprise Edition, which is packed full of extremely useful features, but the Community Edition, meant for developers only, is free to download and use.

Magento can be compared to WordPress in that they both revolutionized and dominated the space they targeted — Magento in e-commerce, WordPress in blogging and content management.

Magento can be the best solution for those who must manage multiple stores from a single admin interface and database, and for large enterprise stores that expect to spend a lot on website maintenance and customization.

Magento is not the solution for everyone! We would consider other platforms before recommending this solutions to our clients

Which solution is best for your business?

Our personal preference is OpenCart followed closely by Prestashop.

We recommend spending time to research each option as choosing the right platform is an important step before venturing online.

If you would like us to advise you on our experiences then please feel free to get in touch with us.


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