Choosing the Most popular and free shopping platforms for an online store is a complicated issue for most of those who are starting their online business for the first time. Therefore, in most cases, internet marketers try to postpone the decision on the choice of platform for as long as possible. So, what is the best shopping cart for your online store? In this text, we will try to investigate this issue and help all internet marketers who have exactly this dilemma.
We have collected all available information on the most popular platforms and, based on that, created a “for and against” list. But before the list itself, we must first understand the basic elements of modern shopping cards.
So what are the most popular and free shopping platforms?
A) Saas eCommerce shopping carts. Simple and easy to implement and use. At the same time, they are limited in functionality because they are hosted by the company that made and maintains the shopping cart. Recommended for beginners in the online store. Due to various limitations, it may happen that the trader will not be able to fully adapt the store to all his wishes and preferences.
The cost associated with such solutions is usually a monthly fee, which in addition to using the software, includes hosting and security features (SSL).
B) Platforms hosted by the merchant. These are the solutions of the so-called “open source”. They can be downloaded and used for free. But, unlike hosted solutions, here the merchant has to take care of the hosting himself and buy his own SSL certificate. In addition, managing such shopping cards can be more complicated compared to hosted solutions. Site maintenance as well as changes are completely under the control of the merchant.
A significant advantage of such solutions is that the retailer, with the help of developers, can access each line of code and adapt the store to any specific needs and desires. In addition, with such solutions, there are thousands of add-ons (plugins, modules, extensions) and patterns (themes, templates) that can be purchased free of charge or purchased.
So, what most popular and free shopping platforms?
The self-hosted platform, The popular “Woo” is, in fact, a module built by the WordPress team. Woo is best known for its plugins and is ideal for small and medium retailers who need an online store to sell fewer products and services.
Pros: Free and easy to install. With unlimited customization options and a large number of available extensions. And the biggest advantage is that there are millions of individuals working on this platform in the world, so it is possible to get help relatively easily. So, if you already have a WordPress site, all you need to do is install the free WooCommerce and then access the thousands of available visual templates and modules.
Cons: As one of the most popular platforms, WordPress is also the most attacked by hackers. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of and regularly update the new available versions of the system. A large number of available plugins also often leads to suboptimal use, which further leads to a slowdown in the store. Our opinion is that such a solution requires the trader to hire a person who is in charge of taking care of the platform.
Is one of the platforms whose importance and the number of users is constantly increasing.
Pros: It has probably the best-reviewed and simplest user interface. All default themes contain a decent set of functionalities. In addition, the settings are easy to change and adjust. It has a large number of integrated modules for deliveries and payments.
Cons: Limited number of additional functionalities. Limited flexibility. Problems with SEO are known. It is not the most suitable solution for large online stores.
– (platform hosted by the merchant) This is probably the best solution for large online stores. It is the result of many years of experience in the field of online commerce.
Pros: One of the most advanced platforms. Offers customer support features. Existence of a marketplace for extensions where users can find a large number of tools, extensions, templates, etc. The big advantage, as with WooCommerce, is that a large number of developers work on the platform, ie there is healthy competition.
Cons: The administrative interface is not always easy to use and you need to get used to it. But we believe that the biggest problem with Magento is his “slowness”. Of course, this “slowness” is relatively easy to solve with a more serious hosting package, which brings the store’s performance to a satisfactory level.
Cloud Industry delivers excellent high availability Magento hosting packages.
Certainly, the most popular solution in this category is Shopify with over 100,000 online stores. It is ideal for small and medium online stores. By the way, Shopify is a favorite platform of so-called “dropshipping” retailers).
Pros: The platform is extremely easy to set up with a choice of well-designed templates. Includes iOS application for online store maintenance, administration
Most popular and free shopping platforms in 2021