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A Beginner’s Guide to OpenCart

OpenCart logo

What is an OpenCart website?

OpenCart Definition and Overview

OpenCart is a free, open-source ecommerce platform that enables the selling and purchasing of online products. This means that OpenCart provides access to its source code in order to modify and customize the online store. In order to begin creating an OpenCart website, a business needs to download the OpenCart program and then upload the files to their server.

OpenCart Background

OpenCart was founded by Daniel Kerr after he registered the newly expired domain when the original developer, Christopher Mann, was unable to keep up the project. Currently, there are 292,051 live websites using OpenCart.

OpenCart Features

OpenCart list of features

OpenCart has many features that supply both the essential and additional operations of an ecommerce platform. Below are a few main OpenCart features; to view a full list of OpenCart features, click here.

1. Admin Dashboard

The administration dashboard provides insight on how your OpenCart website is performing including access to orders, customers, sales analytics, etc. In addition, you can customize the reporting tools to make tracking and improving strategies simple for your business.

2. User Access

Your business can differentiate your OpenCart users by roles to regulate your team’s website access. This protects your ecommerce store by controlling who can edit what to avoid potential mishaps.

3. Discounts, Coupons, and Specials

OpenCart understands the influence discounts, coupons, and specials have on your sales and attracting customers, therefore OpenCart incorporates this feature to better your store.

4. Unlimited Products and Categories

OpenCart’s unlimited product feature allows your business to sell all its products online without paying an additional fee for surpassing a certain amount of products. Furthermore, OpenCart makes product organization convenient by allowing your business to group and assign products in an endless number of categories.

5. Payment Providers

OpenCart works with almost all current payment processing providers, without charging an additional transactional fee. This provides your business with flexibility on how they want to process payments without the consideration of additional costs.

6. SEO Friendly

The OpenCart website clearly outlines what SEO content is needed, making the creation and management process straightforward while ensuring your website aligns with SEO best practices. In addition, OpenCart is by default mobile responsive which further maximizes SEO standards

OpenCart Pros and Cons

OpenCart Pros

OpenCart pros

Free to Download

An OpenCart platform makes an ecommerce store affordable by providing a free download with only additional costs coming from hosting fees and extra paid extensions.

Comes Pre-Equipped

OpenCart websites come preloaded with many features, as outlined above, that equip a business to initiate its online store. This allows the business to develop their basic OpenCart store in a quick and simple manner while maintaining sufficient functionality.

Abundant Extension Options

To further expand and personalize your online store, OpenCart offers numerous extensions to improve the standard OpenCart website. The extensions can enhance the design, functionality, and operations of the ecommerce platform.

OpenCart Cons

PpenCart cons

Need for Technical Knowledge

Since OpenCart is an open-source platform, meaning the source code is open for manipulation, there is a need for website development expertise in order to effectively improve the overall performance of the OpenCart website. While some businesses may have a developer on staff, many businesses lack this resource, therefore requiring outsourcing that increases your website costs. In contrast, with a developer’s attention, the OpenCart website can be customized to align with the business’ needs.

Limited Functionality

In addition to the potential developer need, in order to maximize your OpenCart website, you need to add extensions. Although some extensions may not work with your website or the different combinations may be faulty. This causes extra time and resources to test extensions that may not work properly, therefore hindering the full advancement of your online store and significantly limiting its functionality.

Restricts Scalability

Furthermore, the inconsistent dependability of large-scale extensions deters your OpenCart website from growing to a larger and more complex online store. The inability of Opencart to support high-level functions in an uncomplicated manner restricts the website’s capability to scale even as your business escalates.

OpenCart offers a simple and affordable platform for businesses who are just jump starting their ecommerce store. The features equip a space to learn more about how an online store operates and what your business needs to succeed. Although, when looking to expand or you have a larger company, the structural backend and extensions can limit scalability.

Contact us to learn more about the benefits of OpenCart, as well as other ecommerce options! Evolve Systems can evaluate your business’ needs to recommend the best ecommerce solution in order to optimize your online store.