Best PHP Based ECommerce Platforms

In addition to being the most popular server-side programming language, PHP has been evolving consistently to simplify development of websites and web application. The latest version of PHP also comes with several new language features, enhanced speed and reduced resource consumption. Hence, you can always consider developing your ecommerce application with PHP 7 to make the website load faster. The enhanced loading speed will boost the search engine ranking of the website and keep the visitors engaged.

You can even avail the resources provided by various PHP-based ecommerce platforms to build a custom web store without putting extra time and effort. Also, you can take advantage of these ecommerce platforms without increasing project overheads as most of them are open source and free. Also, you have option to choose from a number of PHP-based ecommerce platforms according to your business model and needs. However, it is also important to compare the features and tools provided by various PHP-based ecommerce platforms according to your specific needs.

Brief Overview of 7 Widely Used PHP eCommerce Platforms

1) Magento

You have option to choose from various editions – enterprise, enterprise cloud and community – of Magento. The community edition of Magento is open source and free, whereas other are commercial and paid. But the community edition of the ecommerce platform lacks technical support. The themes and modules provided by Magento will help you to customize the look, feel, and functionality of the web store without writing additional code. You can further download a variety of themes and extensions from online marketplace. However, you have to incur additional expenses to avail the additional features provided by commercial editions of the ecommerce platform.

2) WooCommerce

The PHP ecommerce platform is supported by WordPress. You can even use WooCommerce as a plug-in to integrate ecommerce functionalities into an existing website developed with WordPress. The themes and plug-ins provided by WooCommerce will make it easier for you to customize the web store and shopping cart according to your business model. Despite being highly customizable, WooCommerce also allows you to choose from a variety of extensions. However, some of these themes, extensions and plug-ins are paid. But you can always take advantage of the resources provided by WooCommerce to simplify custom ecommerce application development.

3) OpenCart

The open source ecommerce platform was initially rewritten in Perl. But the developers subsequently rewrote OpenCart in PHP. In addition to providing an out of box shopping cart, OpenCart also provides a variety of themes and plug-ins to simplify ecommerce website development. Also, it supports multiple languages, currencies, tax rates, and payment gateway. The built-in SEO feature of the platform further enables you to increase the ecommerce website’s search engine visibility and ranking without deploying skilled digital marketers.

4) ZenCart

ZenCart is originally designed as an ecommerce shopping cart program. But the features provided by ZenCart enable you to set up and run a custom web store within a short amount of time. You can take advantage of the themes and plug-ins provided by the shopping cart program to customize the ecommerce website according to your business needs. At the same time, ZenCart supports multiple languages, currencies, payment options, shipping options, and discount coupons. Also, it boost customer buying experience by keeping the checkout flow and process simple and fast.

5) PrestaShop

Unlike other PHP-based ecommerce platforms, PrestaShop supports over 60 languages. You can take advantage of the multiple language support provided by PrestaShop to promote and sell your products to customers residing in various regions and speaking different languages. At the same time, the modules and layouts templates provided by PrestaShop make it easier for you to customize the web store without putting extra time and effort. Also, you can avail an array of useful features provided by PrestaShop like customizable themes, mobile-friendly design, and professional ecommerce website templates. However, you have to incur additional expenses to avail the paid modules and layouts templates for PrestaShop.

6) VirtueMart

The open source ecommerce platform is designed with features to complement Joomla CMS. VirtueMart scores over other ecommerce platforms due to its enterprise grade security features and performance. But many developers use VirtueMart for developing small to medium web stores. You can always opt for VirtueMart to avail a number of robust features like varying product edit options, creating and managing shopper groups, generate invoice, and a unified calculator. Also, VirtueMart supports multiple currencies, shipping options, payment options, and payment gateways.

7) OSCommerce

In addition to being a mature ecommerce platform for PHP, OSCommerce is also supported by a large and active community. OSCommerce developers can take advantage of the free add-ons uploaded by members of the community to add functionality to the web store without writing longer lines of code. OSCommerce further provides a shopping cart which is developed with PHP and MySQL, and can be integrated seamlessly into an existing website. Also, the ecommerce platform supports multiple currencies, unlimited products and categories, payment process systems, and tax rate. Further, it simplifies the billing and invoice generation process by updating currency exchange rates automatically.

On the whole, you have to choose from several ecommerce platforms written in PHP. But you must remember that these ecommerce solutions differ from each other in the category of learning curve, technical support, maturity, and compatibility. That is why; you must evaluate the pros and cons of each PHP-based ecommerce platform, and choose the one that meets your precise business needs and objectives.

Make Your Ecommerce Business Wildly Successful

The ecommerce industry is poised for significant growth in the near future. But, you can only expect to see results if you approach it the right way. The very first step is to develop an ecommerce website with all the relevant features that you would require for your business, for customer interactions and marketing campaigns.

If you are ready to launch your ecommerce business and see it grow into a successful online venture, here are a few tips for you to consider:

Don’t rush the launch

This is one of the biggest pitfalls. Forcing or rushing a launch could be your worst mistake. It’s OK to register a domain name, and put up a ‘coming soon’ page, but the real launch should be planned more carefully. Make sure that you launch only when you have some substantial groundwork done such as search engine optimization, content marketing plan, social media and paid advertisements etc.

Place your focus on the user

Right from the development phases of the website, make sure that the focus in on the user experience. Add every feature that will make it convenient for shoppers to buy from you. Keep the pricing, shipping policy and the return policies transparent. Also, ensure that the check out process is simplified.

Test absolutely everything

Prior to the actual launch, make sure that you test absolutely everything. Invest time and money in testing. It will definitely be worth it in the long term. For a moment think like a customer and figure out what they want and what’s not working.

Work closely with social

Social media is the heartbeat of an ecommerce business. It is extremely important that you include social media features on your ecommerce website so that customers can easily share their recent purchases with their friend and family. Maintain separate social media pages and ensure that you keep it ‘live’ with interactions.

Go mobile

If you aren’t thinking of a mobile strategy for your business, you may soon see the negative impact it has on your customers and your brand as a whole. When all your potential customers are mobile, make sure that you are not missing out on your probable sales by not having a mobile compatible website or a mobile app for your business.

Stay on top of SEO

As more and more ecommerce businesses are launched the competition gets fiercer. It is important to have a clear search engine optimization strategy in place so that you stay at the forefront always. It is important for long term success.

Continue evolving

Finally, it is important to note that you cannot simply launch your website and then step away. You will need to stay on top of things and understand the latest trends and implement them to your advantage.

Ecommerce businesses require a lot of planning and work before they are launched. Make sure that you take into consideration all the above factors and do not rush the launch of your ecommerce site.

The Financial Advantages of Ecommerce

When you have a local store in the market place your customers are limited. When you have an online store, the world is your market literally. This is one of the advantages of ecommerce. With the use of major search engines, your customers can find you a lot easier as well. One of the best things about ecommerce is lower costs for you to run a business. You can definitely save with advertising and marketing plans.

With visibility on all of the major search engines you can find tons more customers by utilizing ecommerce for your business. These search engines have the ability to hook you up to more visitors and customers than you ever thought possible. It also enables you to hire less employees to do jobs that can be done with software online.

This may sound silly, but an ecommerce store does not need a physical location. Of course you will then save on real estate costs and taxes as well. Customers can also navigate through an ecommerce site rather quickly and find what they are looking for. In a store it takes a lot longer to wheel your way around and find what you need.

Customers no longer have to travel to buy those special items on their list. All they have to do is sign online and find what they need to purchase in a click of a mouse. Ecommerce is also conducive to comparison shopping. Prices can very easily be compared from site to site online. Ecommerce websites can make more information available to their customers than a physical store can. This way you can list more bargains, discounts and coupons. Most of the info is provided by vendors to and is free to maintain.

Ecommerce sites can stay open all of the time. Physical stores can’t do this. This enables the business owner to make more sales around the clock. A customer always thinks an open all the time store is more convenient. Ecommerce also presents a golden opportunity for niche markets that they can’t find in the physical world. The internet has a vast array of niches available and many customers willing to shop at these sites. There are many advantages to ecommerce, but you must thoroughly research it first before setting out on an adventure of opening up your own online business. If you do so you can look forward to great success utilizing the principles of ecommerce.