If you want to have an online store, you need some kind of shopping cart application. OpenCart is a popular open source shopping cart application that makes it easy to start selling anything from your website.
There are many different shopping carts to choose from, and you want to find one that’s easy for customers to use and has all of the capabilities you need. It also helps if it’s affordable. OpenCart is simple, full of features and the best part is – this is a free shopping cart! In this review we’ll be discussing some of the features and benefits of this shopping cart application.
The purpose of any shopping cart application is to make it as convenient as possible for customers to buy products from your website. Customers don’t care what brand of shopping cart you use. They only want to be able to easily view products and make purchases.
OpenCart gives you all of the features you need to set up your online store quickly. Some of the good features that I find useful for any online stores are:
- Unlimited products and categories
- Product ratings and reviews feature
- Choose between templates
- Supports multi languages
- Supports multi currencies
- Resize images automatically
- More than 20 payment choices
- More than 8 shipping methods
These are all features that allow you to set up a professional shopping cart that you can customize based on your own needs. Products and categories are the basic elements of any online store. You want to be able to sell whatever items you want and list them under the appropriate categories.
You also want to be able to include images and perhaps reviews and ratings. All of these make it easier for the customer to browse your site and make a choice. If you want to maximize sales, people must be able to get as much information as possible about products in which they’re interested.
Then, if they want to buy something, you have to make it easy for them to checkout and pay. This means giving them a user friendly interface and plenty of payment and shipping options. OpenCart provides all of this, which is all you can ask from a shopping cart application.
OpenCart is a Free Open Source Application
One of the best things about OpenCart is that it’s open source software. This means it’s free to download. You get many of the same features you’d get with shopping cart applications that you have to pay for – a good example will be CS-Cart. Some are quite expensive, whether they charge a one time or monthly fee. With OpenCart, you can set up your online store for free.
Active online community
Even though OpenCart is free, that doesn’t mean there’s no support for it. On the contrary, when you install this shopping cart you instantly become part of an active online community of other users. This is typical of open source software, where people are very willing to share their knowledge.
Open source applications also tend to be very dynamic, as many people contribute to their development. While other types of software also evolve, with open source it remains free to the public.
There are community forums where you can ask questions and find information on just about any OpenCart related issue. The OpenCart website also has a list of companies that offer professional support, if you want someone to install or customize your site.
Although the basic software is free, there are a good list of extensions you can purchase that can make OpenCart even more powerful. Here are just a few of the extensions you can purchase at reasonable prices:
Specialized Themes and Templates
Such as jewelry stores, fashion, slideshows and many others. Of course, you can further customize these themes to your requirements and preferences.
Canonical categories, tag generators and other features to make your online store more SEO friendly.
Offer promotional coupons from your online store through OpenCart.
Mobile and Tablet Version Generators
More and more people shop online through their mobile devices. Do not ignore these customers, allow them the flexibility to shop on your website through their iPads and tablets.
Social Media Tools
Leverage on the power of social media to bring you more traffic and sales!
There are many different extensions, and they mostly cost between $10 and $25. Considering that it doesn’t cost anything to download and use OpenCart itself, this is a really small price to pay to gain some additional customization for your online store.
You can view a demo of OpenCart before deciding whether or not to install it. Even though it’s free to download, you may not want to take the time to do so before having an idea of what the results will be.
The demonstration will show you what the storefront looks like and give you an idea of how the different features work. The demo will display sample products and categories. This means that you will naturally have to imagine what your own store will look like. Yet it still can give you a pretty good idea of how your site will look using OpenCart.
While you have quite a few choices for shopping carts, OpenCart is the leading option if you want a free and open source application. It provides you with a long list of features and access to an online community of fellow users.
Open source software is always evolving, so you can expect OpenCart to develop new features in the coming months and years. You also have the chance to add many useful extensions, for instance if you want a specialized theme or SEO tools.
There’s not much to risk with OpenCart, except for the time it will take you to install the application. You can even check out the demo first if you prefer!