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.

The Advantages of an eCommerce Design for Your Website

An ecommerce design for a website is a bit more expensive than a
standard static website, but for an ecommerce business – an
internet-based business that conducts financial transactions
online – an ecommerce design for the website is fundamental.

When considering your website development needs, you may wonder
if there are easy ways around getting an ecommerce design for
your website since an ecommerce design is more expensive than
getting a site without ecommerce design features, especially if
funds are tight starting out.

There are a few alternatives to an ecommerce design that could
get you by until you can afford the development expense for an
ecommerce design, but if you take your ecommerce business
seriously, you really do need an ecommerce design because of its
many advantages over other websites.

As an alternative to an ecommerce design, you could use your
website as a lead generation tool without actually conducting
financial transactions online. If you use your website for lead
generation rather than getting an ecommerce design for your
website, you will have many manual tasks to accomplish that will
be time consuming.

You can use a contact form, email, a fax line, or a phone number
to accept orders offering payment options such as sending in a
check or money order or providing a credit card number by phone,
if you have a merchant account.

This is not a very good option for you or your customers;
however, for more than one reason. Your customers may not take
your ecommerce business seriously if you do not have an ecommerce
design website that accepts payments online. Online shoppers are
also generally impulse buyers.

If the process of purchasing something from your company is too
cumbersome, many will just surf the net and find another
alternative, so your sales potential will be diminished. You will
also have to manually process orders and payments and matching
the order to the payment can be a complicated task at times, so
your order fulfillment process might be inefficient.

That results in poor customer service, angry customers and
negativity against the reputation of your business. Really, it is
a vicious circle.

A more beneficial alternative to an ecommerce design is the use
of PayPal’s automated payment features. PayPal enables you to
place “Pay Now” buttons on your website which will enable your
customers to make online payments to your PayPal account.

This is certainly a better alternative than having no online
payment option on your website; however, a website with an
ecommerce design will likely be much more appealing to your
website visitors.

The benefits of an ecommerce design are that it enables your
customers to place orders quickly and easily, especially if you
have a shopping cart feature in your ecommerce design. Multiple
products or services can be purchased at one time, the order
(including tax and shipping) can be automatically totaled, and
the customer can make an online payment for the complete order.

Some ecommerce design features may even send the customer an
order confirmation and if you have shipping tracking built into
your ecommerce design, you can update your database when an order
ships and a tracking confirmation will be automatically sent to
your customers via email so they can keep tabs on the status of
their order.

The main advantages of an ecommerce design is that it automated
the sales process, improves customer confidence, increases sales,
and saves you loads of time in the order processing and follow-up
processes.

An ecommerce design might be a bit more costly than other designs
in the website development phase, but over the long run, your
ecommerce design will pay for itself ten-fold at least in
increased revenues and saved time.

Advantages of Ecommerce – 5 Real Advantages of Online Marketing to Ponder About

Within the last 10 years, Ecommerce has seen a surge in profitability. Many businesses, both large and small, are looking to the web for increased consumer patronage. Here are some real advantages of Ecommerce:

1) Open 24/7. Ecommerce systems are operational all day, every day. Consumers can visit your site any time, day or night, regardless of whether or not your physical storefront is open for business. Even if you are operating a service-based operation, reservations and/or inquiries can be made any time of day to increase interest in your business.

2) A global market. Web sites transcend all physical boundaries. If your consumer has a computer and an Internet connection, he/she can do business with you.

3) Instant gratification. The Internet affords immediacy. Orders can be made and payments processed almost immediately online. Long gone are the days of catalogs and lost orders. With Ecommerce, your transactions will run more smoothly and efficiently.

4) Increase profits by reducing costs. One of the real advantages of Ecommerce is that you can truly cut costs. Physical store fronts require constant manpower. A good website can take the place of several salespersons. In addition, original manufacturers can often be identified and worked with to cut out the cost of the middle man supplier.

5) Let the customer help himself. A great facet of Ecommerce is that the customer initiates the business interaction by accessing the web site when it is convenient for him/her. Because of this, the consumer provide almost all of the transaction data that would otherwise be entered by a staff member. This kind of customer out-sourcing allows for you to cut costs.

The advantages of Ecommerce are plenty, and I have listed only a few. The clever investor will seriously consider Ecommerce as a new venue for his/her business.