The Future Of Ecommerce Store Development!
As a long-time web designer, I have dealt with many e-commerce options over the years. In general, you’ve always had two main options:
1) You build and code from scratch. This required extensive knowledge in various coding languages in addition to the ability to design an attractive interface that would work within the structure of the site.
2) You pay a company with pre-made systems. Not only was this extremely expensive, but it rarely allowed you the freedom to create any kind of pleasing design as it would have to conform to their limited header/footer customization.
Well, now I’ve seen the light! The future is here and (unfortunately for people in “the business” like me) it’s incredibly easy.
These free solutions are Open Source-based online business e-commerce solutions available under the GNU General Public License. All include a rich set of pre-defined online shopping cart features that allow store owners to set up, operate and maintain their online stores with minimum effort and no costs, fees, or restrictions. Most of these open source solutions provide an e-commerce platform that includes the powerful PHP web scripting language and the fast MySQL database server. They can run on any web server supporting PHP 4.1+ and running on Linux, Solaris, BSD, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows without any special requirements.
Unbelievable, right? Well, it’s true and I love it.
Besides the obvious benefits of these open-source stores, there are many less obvious benefits such as
– Active user forums where you can get most questions answered without having to deal with fees or “canned answers” from a for-profit company.
– The ability to change the design of your store almost instantly by simply selecting a new “template” from your admin panel
– Countless free “plugins” and “modules” that add all types of extra functionality to your store.
– As projects continue to grow and stores improve, you can upgrade, and of course, upgrades are also free.
In my opinion, one of the greatest features of the above is the ability to change the design and/or look of your site easily with a few uploads and button clicks (IF YOU HAVE THE DESIGN DEVELOPED). The most common complaint I found from OS users was the same one I’ve heard about other eCommerce packages. People weren’t aware of how much work it would take to put together an original design. They will reach a certain point, hit an unexpected bottleneck, and be unable to continue. Most of the work involved in getting your store up and running was getting the design to work within the limits and constraints of the store code. Every implementation runs into these problems and everything takes longer and costs more than you plan, whether it’s proprietary or open-source. Now they exist; however, there are easy solutions to this problem that will prevent you from being overwhelmed. Many web template development companies on the web have entered a whole new era in the template design. They have started developing amazing designs for open source eCommerce solutions such as OScommerce, ZenCart, and CRE Loaded (the most popular of these open source e-commerce solutions). This allows you to easily implement the perfect store design in minutes. While these design templates aren’t free as an eCommerce website development solution, they’re worth an average price of just $50, saving you weeks of frustrating design.
You can find more information about these Open Source eCommerce Solutions on their hub pages. Just type the name of the OS solution you want to explore into your search engine and it will bring up their home page. The most popular solutions are ZenCart, OScommerce & CRE Loaded. But there are many others to choose from; however, these three have proven themselves over time and have such large user bases and support groups that I’d recommend trying one of them first before diving into lesser-known solutions.
To sum it all up. While large companies will always need a custom-built solution for their online stores, the average small business no longer needs to spend five or ten thousand dollars to develop a quality store. Using a free OS solution along with a cheap design template will allow you to sell online for pennies on the dollar compared to a custom-built store. Even if you don’t think you have the skills to work with OS solutions, you can hire any competent developer to implement them for you. Sure, you will be charged, but the price will be a small percentage of what you would have paid.
read also: Decentralized applications
Leave a Reply