Table of Contents
- Easy to learn and use
- Extensive community support
- Open Source means it can be modified to suit specific needs
- It's free
- UI is not as easy to use as more recent ecommerce platforms
- No hosting service
- Limited options for mobile
Introduction: Meet osCommerce – open-source online store builder
The emergence of Shopify and, in this case, osCommerce, has revolutionized the scene by making it much easier to create and manage online stores. The osCommerce platform known as Online Merchant boasts 352,924 members and the creation and management of 21,076 live online stores. In this osCommerce reviews, how well does this open-source builder stack up in an increasingly competitive market? What features does it have, and is there osCommerce hosting? Is there osCommerce WordPress migration functionality?
Ease of Use:
To start this, osCommerce reviews – is it easy to use? Because osCommerce was introduced in 2003, its user interface is, in all honesty, a throwback to the point-and-click site builders that were so common in the late 1990s. In theory, this makes the platform easy to use. However, in practice, it’s somewhat clunky in the sense that it doesn’t utilize the drag-and-drop mode that has become standard among page builders. While the base UI is intuitive, you can expect that administrative work on any store built on the platform to be more time-consuming.
On the other end of the spectrum, that of your customer’s, an osCommerce site is easy enough to navigate and shop through – but, visually, it’s not that appealing.
Features and Flexibility:
Upon installation, you will find the following features at your fingertips:
- Multiple languages and currency support for overseas shops;
- Archival function for customer history and orders;
- Zone-specific tax handling functionality;
- Unlimited auto-generation for product attributes;
- Order processing facility;
Themes and Templates:
In this osCommerce reviews, while there are design options and osCommerce templates free of charge, giving your web store a more contemporary look means going farther out the net for themes and templates.
Moreover, if you want to spruce up your site, we recommend that you look into user-created themes which are available for download on the osCommerce community page or you can download osCommerce WordPress themes and templates from sites like ThemeForest, Template Monster, ColorLib, ThemeLock, and SoloMono (one of the platform’s official design partners.)
osCommerce boasts over 9,000 add-ons – mostly user-developed – that its clients can use to make their sites more visually appealing or perform more effectively and efficiently. These tools include themes and templates and modifications for payment, customer service handling, inventory, taxation, and SEO.
But what if an online store owner can’t find a mod or app that fits their needs? In our osCommerce reviews, that’s where osCommerce’s Open Source nature comes in handy. This enables anyone who has specific requirements to easily modify and tailor the platform to exactly what they need. Naturally, to take full advantage of this, you need to have a programming or software development background. However, I find it useful to do a live test of your store through osCommerce Demo.
3rd Party Integrations:
Integration with leading payment portal PayPal is pre-built into the osCommerce Online Merchant interface. The platform also offers integration with SagePay, and the UI contains security functions developed by NS8.
It is interesting to note at this point, that one will need to do a custom workaround to get osCommerce WordPress functionality. For instance, you need to install the osCommerce WordPress Product Display plugin if you want your products shown on your blog.
For this osCommerce reviews, sites built with osCommerce are mostly self-hosted: the site owner has to upload the site to a third-party host – which is something that those using more recently developed eCommerce site builders don’t do anymore as they offer dedicated hosting to their clients.
osCommerce hosting does have tie-ups with four hosting providers that offer discounted plans for sites built on the platform. These are osCommerce hosting partners:
SEO and Mobility:
osCommerce users have access to a handy tool called Ultimate SEO URLs. Specifically, this tool enables site owners, developers, or system administrators to create search engine-friendly and cross-server compatible URLs for their web stores. This functionality is compatible with both *NIX and Windows/IIS servers.
Officially, osCommerce doesn’t have an official edition for either Android, iOS or any other mobile operating systems. Fortunately – and, we cannot emphasize enough how much osCommerce’s Open Source foundations help in this – developers who are part of the platform’s online community have taken the initiative and created apps like Pinta Webware’s osCommerce Mobile Admin (available on Google Play) and a community-developed version for iOS which is compatible with the most recent desktop release of the platform.
The osCommerce App Marketplace offers a plethora of options when it comes to productivity tools for those doing business online. You have plenty of choices regarding payment tools, shipping facilities, and capabilities for order processing. The current lineup also includes a migration tool called Cart2Cart which helps online vendors move data from an existing site built on a different platform to a new one built on osCommerce; Easy Populate for stocking, inventory, and cataloguing; and Tawk.To, a live chat interface for customer service. Should you require osCommerce WordPress data migration, you can use the Cart2Cart Shopping Cart Migration service.
Support and Resources:
Aside from the user-developed downloads in its App Marketplace, osCommerce offers a wealth of technical resources through its extensive online community where users and developers share information and offer assistance in osCommerce forums whenever necessary. But that's about it.
osCommerce downloads and for its community-specific version, osCommerce Phoenix is free. However, if you’re going to use third-party apps, mods, or integrations, these might need to be paid for.
Conclusion and Recommendation:
Who is osCommerce best used for?
osCommerce is recommended for those who are just wading into the waters of the eCommerce sector. Despite its somewhat archaic UI, new users can easily find their way through the program. It is also an effective platform for small businesses.
Who is osCommerce not best used for?
However, if you belong to a medium to large enterprises or small businesses looking to scale, this isn't for you. Scaling osCommerce up can take a lot of time and effort; probably not a prudent thing to do with the rapidly evolving nature of today’s online marketplace.
There are several osCommerce alternatives you could consider. Shopify has become the gold standard for online commerce. In my view, it's the best of osCommerce alternatives. Also along the website builder front you can also consider Weebly and Wix for a good general use website allowing for easy expansion into a Wix eCommerce store.
Nevertheless, WooCommerce is rapidly becoming a viable open source osCommerce alternative, particularly for those who already have some experience with basic CMS platforms like WordPress.org. Likewise, WooCommerce already has built-in functionality for mobile conversion as well as dedicated mobile development editions. Also along the open source CMS route you can consider Drupal and or Magento for larger scale business but inline with open source platforms.
However, if you’re just getting started in eCommerce, you should give osCommerce a try as a way of getting your feet wet and learning the ropes of the field. osCommerce is now under new management releasing v4 in 2021. Thereafter, you can scale up to the more complex platform as your business grows.
How much does osCommerce cost?
osCommerce can be downloaded free of charge directly from the developer’s website.
Can I modify the osCommerce platform if I want functionalities that are specific or exclusive to my shop?
Yes. osCommerce is an Open Source program that can be hacked and revised to suit your needs.
Can I download templates or osCommerce addons?
Yes, there are numerous options available via the official App Marketplace.
That's all for now:
Thank you for reading our osCommerce reviews! Don’t forget to keep an eye out for our ever-growing blog of review and comparison articles of eCommerce platforms, SEO software, screen capture tools, webinar and conferencing software, education platforms, website builders, and more such as;
Not only the best tea/coffee maker on the team Sophie keeps the many marketing projects flowing ensuring completion on time. Skilled across multiple marketing skill areas Sophie is our all rounder and a great asset to the team. Sophie is a website building trainer and tech writer who takes pride in helping small businesses and startups build their websites and launch their eCommerce platforms. Sophie is also the practical joker of the team and always wears a smile on her face. In her spare time she likes to spend her time with family. She loves going on holidays and spending time with friends.