OpenCart is a PHP based E-Commerce platform that enables users to build and launch an online store in no time. We believe it offers quite a lot in terms of usability, simplicity of management and growth potential. In this post, we will show you 10 of the reasons why we think OpenCart should be the platform for your new E-Commerce website. Even if you are already running an OpenCart website but in the older version, consider upgrading it to a newer one to boost your performance.
- OpenCart is Free
- Open-Source, Customizable and Flexible
- Responsive Design
- Free and Paid Functionality Extensions
- SEO Ready
- Analytics, Statistics and Advanced Data Tracking
- Secure Payment and Shipping Methods
- Multi-Store and Multi-Lingual Capabilities
- Coupons, Specials, Reward Points and Gift Vouchers
- Large User Base and Community
1. OpenCart is Free
Building your own online shop without paying a dime is a dream for many bootstrapping entrepreneurs. The only thing you need to pay for is your hosting, which some companies like HostGator are offering for as low as $3.5 per month. Cutting costs is a predominant concern for merchants who are just starting their online business. There’s no better way to do that than to take advantage of a free E-Commerce platform. What you get with the standard OpenCart installation is an online store that is packed with features and can start selling as soon as you upload your own products. Something that OpenCart doesn’t do is charge its users transactional fees. Some E-Commerce platforms use this practice as a fee for every purchase made via your store, which decreases your turnover.
2. Open-Source, Customizable and Flexible
OpenCart is an open-source platform that allows anyone with some coding knowledge to make modifications to the code and customize the E-Commerce store into anything they want.
Compared to platforms that are locked for modifications, this gives the ultimate freedom to anyone who wants to tinker around with the code and make a difference with their website.
It’s a real bummer for online customers to shift through thousands of E-Commerce stores that look the same. That’s where an open-source platform like OpenCart can shine. What’s even better is that you can not only customize the front end and design of your website, but also the back end and overall functionality.
If you have some knowledge of coding languages, you will have no problem getting yourself acquainted with the OpenCart MVC technology. Otherwise, you can browse through the OpenCart Partner’s list or some of the freelance websites to look for help.
This means you will be able to start building your own plugins and modules and extend the functionality of your store so you can implement more powerful features.
3. Responsive Design
Since OpenCart 3.0 rolled out, the platform has been fully responsive out of the box. This means that the E-Commerce store you build with it will look awesome on any device – desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
This is particularly important ever since Google rolled out the Mobilegeddon update more than a year back. Basically, the idea is that the search engine will rank websites based on their mobile-friendliness, and OpenCart has you covered on that since it’s responsive by default. No wonder, about 30% of customers abandon their cart if the experience is not optimized for mobile.
What’s even more important is that mobile commerce currently holds 30% of all E-Commerce transactions in the U.S.
4. Free and Paid Functionality Extensions
There’s a huge Marketplace where you can find all the additional functionalities, plugins, modules and themes you need. There are thousands of free plugins that can get you started with customizing your OpenCart. They vary from admin tools that help you save time, social media integrations, email integrations and other tools.
When you pick up the pace and gradually start growing, you can take advantage of the paid extensions, which add another layer of functionality and capability to your E-Commerce store.
Premium extensions give you the upper hand in beating your competitors and adding some serious power to your store in terms of product and order management, conversion and marketing tactics, as well as enhancing the overall customer experience.
5. SEO Ready
Search engine optimization is the most inconsistent but integral part of running any business online. Lucky for you, OpenCart comes with some of the most fundamental attributes for jump-starting your Google positions.
Every new product and category you create can be given a meta tag title, meta tag description, meta tag keywords, in addition to their original name and description.
Next, after you do research for your SEO keywords, there are special fields where you can insert them in your store. Furthermore, you can turn on your SEO URLs and give another boost to your ranking.
All of that comes out of the box. When you begin adding more content, you will start seeing even bigger improvements in your search engine positions.
6. Analytics, Statistics and Advanced Data Tracking
The default OpenCart installation comes with accurate tracking of your customers’ behavior. The dashboard offers a few analytical tools that let you gather important data and make decisions.
First, there is a world map that informs you about which part of the world is your strongest market. There’s a section with sales analytics giving you information about the number of orders and customers you have.
OpenCart lets you create new marketing and affiliate campaigns with tracking codes, by which you can also track and measure the success.
However, when it comes to analytics, the most serious step of gathering the most important data is to integrate Google Analytics into your store.
7. Secure Payment and Shipping Methods
The primary function of an E-Commerce website is to be able to accept payments and process orders online. OpenCart has you covered. The checkout works flawlessly and the platform comes with a large variety of shipping and payment methods.
The only thing you need to do is configure the particular delivery and payment methods you prefer with a few clicks and fill the required details.
The default OpenCart installation comes with 12 shipping and 39 payment methods. More than enough to get you started, right? They are easy to configure and you can add new ones if you don’t feel like the native methods aren’t enough.
8. Multi-Store and Multi-Lingual Capabilities
With OpenCart, you can have multiple online stores from a single installation and database. What does that mean?
It means that you can reach a broader audience, even on an international level. By multiplying your E-Commerce store, you can set the appropriate languages and currencies for each of the respective countries you are expanding to.
Speaking of languages, the free platform can be set to use any language you choose. You can add multiple languages, as well as currencies for people who visit from different countries so they can feel welcome.
9. Coupons, Specials, Reward Points and Gift Vouchers
If you have a passion for marketing your products, you can get very creative in many ways. You can create incentives for your customers to make more and bigger orders. OpenCart comes with a versatile discounting system that allows you to run different campaigns for separate customer groups.
The coupons let you create limited offers that make customers buy faster. The reward points allow the creation of exclusive products that can only be bought once a customer has made enough purchases and reward points for it.
This is just the beginning. Once you launch your store and begin noticing the behavior of your customers, you will know how to use the discounting system to increase the conversion rates.
10. Large User Base and Community
BuiltWith says they know of more than 300,000 E-Commerce websites running on OpenCart, and that’s just official data. The OpenCart forums hold more than 110,000 members who help each other out and form one of the strongest communities in the E-Commerce sector.
There are many other places around the web where OpenCart users share their knowledge and tips with other entrepreneurs and new store owners. There is a topic in Quora where all manner of questions about OpenCart are discussed. We also have a large collection in Google+ that is growing every day. You can even check out the subreddit with OpenCart essentials.
As you see, OpenCart is a pretty huge deal. It’s a platform that not only works well for new E-Commerce websites, but also for advanced businesses that aim to achieve growth. If you are planning for eCommerce, don’t ignore OpenCart, or you can join with 20,000 other business owners who move from their current platform to OpenCart. In this case, we are offering more than 25 migration tools which help you migrate to OpenCart safely and easily.
Please feel free to contact LitExtension support team for detailed information!