Review of the best Open Source online eCommerce applications

You might be asking yourself, “How do I pick the right eCommerce option?”. No matter what size your business, given the current competition there are about five practical and powerful eCommerce platforms available these days. Accordingly, below is an assessment of the top notch eCommerce platforms. The summary below  aims to educate UK eCommerce business owners how to go about choosing a suitable eCommerce site.

Magento (free):


Samsung, The North Face, Stussy and Nespresso all use it to power their online stores, Magento is an open source eCommerce platform, which uses the newest technologies on the web. Magento has even replaced the word eCommerce (see article).

  • Support for multi-store and multi-language retailing all from the same backend
  • Easy integration to third party API with the store
  • Many add-ons for helping to improve efficiency
  • Great for large traffic and transactions
  • Though “state-of-the-art” technology, unless you have a developer who knows the Magento ins and outs, don’t expect a slick site without proper management and development

Prestashop (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. If you know what you’re doing you can get a shop up and running with little to no cost outside of development time. There is also a growing community of PrestaShop users who make the shopping cart better every day.

  • If you don’t need huge functionality (difficult settings for shipping and taxes, multi stores, attributes)
  • Need website for a straighforward shop, less then 1000 items.
  • Main advantage – speed

Cubecart (only the previous version is for free):


If you wish to have a professional and credible website Cubecart does the job, although they expect you to have a good understanding of how PHP, MySQL, and GD work for you to set up the software. While downloading this shopping cart is simple, configuring it to your hosting server is not.

  • Easy to use control panel
  • Quick to implementation
  • Looks very professional from the customers’ point of view
  • For use by store owners who are technical saavy
  • Required payment for any good upgrades

Zen Cart (free):


Zen Cart is the outcome of continuous development by shop owners, programmers, designers and consultants. It is a free and user-friendly shopping cart, and is distributed as an open source software.

  • Straightforward ecommerce platform
  • Free and practical
  • Not recommendable to someone who doesn’t want to spend time/money customising it
  • Online presence for cheap – for a slick and polished store go somewhere else

WordPress eCommerce (free):


WordPress e-Commerce is a free shopping cart that lets customers buy your products, services and digital downloads online. This plugin is a Web 2.0 application designed with usability, aesthetics, and presentation in mind.

  • Good usability
  • Great use for a simple store with not a lot of items
  • Lack of official support
  • Far from being a “state-of-the-art e-Commerce platform”

If you have any questions, there are a plethora of forums and reviews regarding these platforms. We are also available for any advice regarding the correct software for your eCommerce upgrade. Optimise Web was one of the first UK companies specialising in Magento. We are Optimise Web, the Magento experts.

We wish you luck!