Introduction to our OpenCart Reviews:
Welcome to our OpenCart reviews!
In a world where subscriptions and paywalls prevent you from accessing software, open-source platforms are nice to have. OpenCart breaks convention in the eCommerce space. The most popular brands, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, are subscription-based – but OpenCart isn’t. It's completely free; well, almost completely free, since you're going to be paying for added functionality.
Like other free stuff, you might be wondering, “what’s the catch?.” In this article, we’re going to learn more about this open-source eCommerce platform that might be just what you need to launch your online store. Let's take a look at its ease of use, features, support, eCommerce features, SEO and mobility, and of course, pricing.
We're also dropping recommendations on OpenCart alternatives for you to check, so make sure you read through this Open Cart review!
Well then, let's get started.
OpenCart's original creator is Christopher Mann who developed the eCommerce software in 1998. When he couldn't sustain the project, Daniel Kerr took over and registered the expired domain in 2005. Today, OpenCart is based in Hong Kong.
The platform that it is the eCommerce platform of choice for more than 472,000 entrepreneurs worldwide.
Ease of Use:
An eCommerce platform should be user-friendly to be any good. In this OpenCart reviews, how much of a learning curve can you expect from this platform?
To be honest, using OpenCart for the first time isn't straightforward. Signing up may be easy, but beginners may find it tough to navigate as they go along the process of creating their online store. Don't worry though – it's not impossible to use and you will learn eventually. The platform provides a step-by-step tutorial to help you breeze through installation. It’s not a walk in the park; it will take time. However, it can be done without you asking for help from a developer.
Roughly, the steps are:
- Downloading OpenCart from the website;
- Installing it on a web server.
To support OpenCart website builder, your web server must have these minimum requirements:
- Curl enabled;
- With a database; and
- Running at least PHP 5.4.
Features and Flexibility:
In this OpenCart reviews, let’s take a look at some of the features you might expect from this open-source platform.
The thing about OpenCart is that it operates as a modular system. You begin with a barebones set of features then extend functionalities through their marketplace of add-ons.
OpenCart’s basic feature set includes the following:
- Administrator dash and user management
- Unlimited categories and products
- Marketplace of extensions
- Shipping, payment, and reports
- Marketing tools
Themes and Templates:
As OpenCart website builder is open-source, it doesn't have its specific template suite like some eCommerce builders. You can download themes from third-party providers like ThemeForest and Template Monster. The OpenCart extension page hosts the full collection of free and commercial themes.
In this Open Cart review, can you do your own branding and design?
After choosing from a collection of themes, it's possible to make slight changes to the design, such as adding or rearranging modules in the design panel. However, If you want a large-scale makeover, you'll need to dig deep and write code. Therefore, coming up with an OpenCart website that reflects your individual style may require professional help.
When it comes to customising your online store, OpenCart website builder lets you play around with product options so that you can insert a range of attributes to your products, specifically length, height, colours, and others.
The website builder also allows unlimited product categories and subcategories, the number of products, product reviews, selling of digital products, and reward systems.
3rd Party Integrations:
What we like in this Open Cart review is that there's so much room to grow for your website.
Like other open-source platforms you've probably used, OpenCart website builder offers you just the bare essentials to get you started. To really create a functional website, you'll need to install plugins. Fortunately, OpenCart gives you access to a whopping 13,000+ add-ons for your online store!
To enhance functionality and upgrade user experience, you can integrate plugins for shipping, payment, service integrations, social media, sales, accounting, and language packs. A caveat, however; these extensions are mostly commercial and can cost you as much as $300. This is indeed something to think about as the pricing may not be straightforward like OpenCart alternatives.
In this OpenCart reviews, the platform is self-hosted. In other words, OpenCart website builder has no built-in OpenCart hosting service. There are two routes here. You can perform an OpenCart download, but you need to purchase hosting from a third-party provider. Or, better to choose their Trusted OpenCart GOLD level partner A2Hosting since they provide a supportive hosting environment for OpenCart.
Manual backups are allowed, but you can also add extensions that do automatic backups.
Migration for OpenCart is done via Cart2Cart and supports OpenCart latest version, with instructions on how to migrate from an older version. It simplifies the migration process so you can do it yourself. However, if you're not confident, they offer professional services dedicated to migration.
SEO and Mobility:
Your website won't be worth much if your target audience can't find you – hence the importance of SEO. In this OpenCart reviews, how does the platform perform?
SEO-wise, you'll have nothing to worry about in this Open Cart review. The platform has built-in SEO tools where you can edit the following:
- Meta descriptions
Plus, if you want more advanced SEO features, you can purchase extensions from the OpenCart Marketplace. You can also integrate it with Google Sitemap, Google Base, and OpenBay Pro to monitor how search engines are looking at your online products.
OpenCart website builder is designed to be mobile-responsive. Therefore, it will look great whatever screen size the device has.
In this OpenCart reviews, let's review what it offers for your online store.
For its eCommerce functionality, OpenCart does not disappoint. It has the following primary eCommerce features:
- Unlimited number of products
- Multiple stores from a single admin
- Shipping calculator and guest checkout
- Support for 40 languages and currencies
- Coupons and discounts system
- Digital product selling
- Comprehensive reports on sales to customers
- Recurring payments
- Payment support for 1,000 channels
- Search filters for better user experience
- Support for multiple languages and currencies.
Of course, you can have extended functionality if you install plugins that can perform a host of marketing and sales tools. This includes:
- In-person selling through Square
- Module that lets customers make side-by-side product comparisons
- Lots of marketing modules
- Email verification
- Module that lets customers upload their product photos, and more.
Support and Resources:
In this OpenCart reviews, how does the platform help you in your time of technical need?
Like other open-source platforms, OpenCart website builder doesn't rate well in terms of customer support. If you have issues or concern, you can submit a service ticket.
Other than that, the platform has a thorough knowledge base and community where you can read and develop a better understanding of the platform:
- Documentation, for more extensive information about the platform and its processes;
- Video tutorials to walk you through the nitty-gritty of the OpenCart website builder
- Community forum and blogs
- Commercial technical support
What's the cost like in this OpenCart reviews?
OpenCart is open source and completely free software to download. This might appear like good news for your initial investment cost, but be reminded.
As you go along, costs are going to be incurred. For instance, you might want more visually appealing templates because you're unsatisfied with the free ones. Here are some additional costs that can't be ignored:
- A hosting plan – A2Hosting Trusted OpenCart GOLD level partner
- Domain for your online store
- High-quality design or template from $39
- Additional plugins, add-ons, or extensions
OpenCart Free trial/refunds/money-back guarantee:
As we said in this OpenCart reviews, the software is completely free. But if you're not even sure if you want to download the software, you can avail of a demo version.
If after you have purchased an extension / theme in OpenCart marketplace, their refunds page states you can apply for the refund within 60 days of your purchase with order ID.
Conclusion and Recommendation to our OpenCart Reviews:
To wrap up this Open Cart review;
What is it best for?
It would be an ideal choice for small and medium-sized businesses who can afford to hire a developer if the need arises.
What is it not best for?
Like we said previously in this OpenCart reviews, customising the site means you need to dive in a write lines of code. If you're a beginner and you have no knowledge of code, then it can't be done. If you're a beginner and you want a code-free life, there are several OpenCart alternatives to help you.
While it may seem like OpenCart can be good for large enterprises, the lack of built-in features and reliance on extensions can make the platform overly complicated. In this case it is best to look for OpenCart alternatives built for large businesses.
You can consider the following OpenCart alternatives:
|1||Shopify (and Shopify Plus)||Best All-In-One eCommerce solution|
|2||Squarespace||Best for design and creatives|
|3||Webflow||Best for advanced design tools|
|4||Square Online||Best for ease of use|
|5||BigCommerce||Best for medium to large stores|
|6||WooCommerce (with Nexcess)||Best for Wordpress Users|
|7||Wix||Good for general use|
|8||Big Cartel||Best for very simple sites|
|9||Ecwid||Best for adding to an existing website|
|10||Volusion||Best for advanced analytics|
OpenCart Reviews Final Word:
In conclusion, this Open Cart review discussed the features that one might expect from this eCommerce website builder. It has all the basic features to get you started, and it's free. However, you might rack up costs if you go for more functionality.
Still, we recommend OpenCart for small and medium businesses that have some technical experience. But you shouldn't take our word for it. Continue researching for OpenCart alternatives if you don't think it's the right fit for you.
Can I install OpenCart if I don't know code?
Yes, you can. It's not impossible to do since there are several informative video tutorials from the site itself or thru the A2Hosting site.
Is OpenCart great for SEO?
To be fair, it has basic SEO tools. However, if you want to rank high, you'll need more functionality from SEO extensions - which you can get from the Open Cart Marketplace.
Is OpenCart free?
Yes, the software is completely free. However, an OpenCart website isn't. You'll need to pay for hosting, domain, themes, and extensions.
That’s all for now:
If you've read our Open Cart review up to here, we are grateful. Remember always to keep abreast of the latest developments on website builders, eCommerce, and other articles, such as the ones below;
- Best Shopping Cart Software 2022
- What is Outbound Email Marketing?
- What are the changes google is making to call extension?
- Best Free eCommerce Software
- Best Joomla Security
Please share any comments below!