OpenCart Review 2020: The Free and Open-source eCommerce Platform

OpenCart offers a rich set of tools, features, and options to build an online business. With 13,000+ modules and themes, and 342,000 e-commerce entrepreneurs using the platform, OpenCart ranks among the highest-quality, open-source website builders on the market.

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Table of Contents

    Our in-house experts reviewed all aspects of OpenCart and this is what we've found:

    Features

    Design and themes

    OpenCart is an all-encompassing online store management program with multiple themes and templates for clients. At the time of our review, there were six pages of themes and templates to choose from, spanning the full spectrum of business ventures.

    These include:

    • Furniture
    • Automotive
    • Apparel
    • Beauty and make-up
    • Cuisine
    • Entertainment
    • FinTech
    • Communications

    The design of OpenCart facilitates ease of use, with an administrator dashboard, and a structured user management system. Multi-store functionality is available, through one admin interface.

    Apps and Addons 

    Apps and Addons are listed under extensions.

    These include free extensions and commercial extensions.

    With some 13,000+ options to choose from, businesses won't be wanting for variety. Some 31 pages of extensions are offered on-site, with thousands more supported across the board.

    These ‘modules’ are geared towards business growth and include the following options:

    • Microsoft Excel
    • WordPress
    • Facebook
    • Google Analytics
    • MailChimp
    • Amazon
    • eBay
    • PayPal

    A feature known as an ‘Extension Installer’ allows business owners to incorporate new modules into their business site, with zero technical experience required. 

    Language Options

    OpenCart recognizes that online stores serve an increasingly globalized market.

    It is possible to add language to the administration or change a language in the storefront at the click of a few buttons.

    Localization language options allow for the addition of multiple languages by entering the ISO language code, or the locale.

    Examples of available languages include:

    • English
    • Chinese
    • French
    • German
    • Spanish

    Variants of individual languages by country or region too.  

    Marketing 

    Social Integration and Sales Channels

    Selling on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and others are facilitated with a variety of extensions that are available. These include premium and free options like Facebook Shop where you can import your store to Facebook, the PagePlugin for promoting your store, and the Facebook Like Box for growing your community.

    Another useful option is Social Buttons PRO -VQMod for promoting your product range and/or services on Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook et cetera.

    SEO Tools 

    OpenCart features lots of info on SEO. One option is known as an SEO Backpack. This is a 1-stop resource for all aspects of your Search engine optimization, including 12 months of complimentary technical support, documentation, demos, and powerful modules.

    The Extension Store is home to scores of world-class applications and add-ons that you can incorporate into your online store.

    These tools are available at a premium, or for free. The complementary tools include options like SEO Module URL, Keyword Lite, and Admin Enhanced Tools.

    Custom Fields

    Custom fields are particularly helpful to bridge the gap between what customers want and what businesses are offering. By providing the option of customer input via chat boxes, feedback and comments, businesses can learn from their stakeholders and implement the necessary changes.

    Reporting Tools 

    Analytics, research, and data-driven reports can all be found by navigating to the OpenCart Extension Store. Reports and reporting tools include many free and premium options such as Orders + Options Excel Export for OpenCart 2 &3, Convead, and PayPal Marketing Solutions.  There are dozens of extensions that can be added to buttress your reporting abilities.

    The range of offers available for marketing reports is extensive, particularly with daily, weekly, and monthly reporting options.

    A useful extension is EndOfDayWeekMonth for detailed historical records vis-a-vis returns, new customers, reviews, and sales records. These types of reporting tools and resources have been developed by the OpenCart community, and come complete with documentation and 12 months of free support. 

    Email Marketing 

    OpenCart offers a mail system that allows you as the site owner to email specific customer groups. The feature is useful for relaying information vis-a-vis product specials, store information, newsletters, and discounts, coupons, et cetera. 

    Configuring email options is all possible through the ‘Mail Tab’. The following fields are displayed: mail protocol, mail parameters, SMTP host, SMTP username, SMTP password, SMTP port, SMTP timeout, new order alter mail, new account alert mail, and additional alert emails.

    Importing and Exporting Products

    OpenCart makes it really easy to conduct product import/export activities online.

    The extension – Product Import Export Suite – facilitates such activities. This extension, like many others available on OpenCart makes it easy to import and export products to your site or from your site using multiple methods such as CSV, XLSX, and XLS.

    Multiple filters are possible, such as import custom fields data, import additional images, and import reviews, with multi-language functionality.

    Pricing

    OpenCart is free to use. There are no monthly fees and no hidden charges with this customizable platform. Apps, add-ons, and extensions are readily available, some of them free and others come at a premium.

    Other Features

    SupportYou can easily contact support any day from 9:30 AM through 6:30 PM Hong Kong time. The email address is OpenCart@Zendesk.com.
    SecurityDirectory protection is possible through the admin folder, and it is recommended to rename the admin to prevent unauthorized access. Further protection is necessary for the system folder and file permissions must be set to specific file types such as 444 or 644 to prevent unauthorized access Hackers will be deterred with 2 files in the admin folder, .htaccess and htpasswd. 
    ShippingMultiple extensions are provided for product shipping. These extensions specify the types of shipping methods that are available for product delivery.
    Payment optionsOpenCart provides dozens of core payment methods. These include popular options such as e-Wallets, bank transfers, debit cards, credit cards and the like.
    TaxIt is relatively simple to set the tax parameters at OpenCart. These can be found in the Localization section with specific products.
    DropshippingThe extension store lists options for many dropshipping apps and addons including Aliexpress, Kunaki, MWP OpenCart Indonesia, Brands Distribution Feed Import, Multi-vendor Multi-Seller, and others.
    Abandoned cart recoveryExtensions are available for abandoned cart recovery at OpenCart
    Managing store on a mobile deviceWhether you are using Android or iOS smartphones and tablets, OpenCart provides user-friendly options for mobile access to your site. The mobile app is a native app which allows your e-commerce platform to function optimally on mobile devices.

    What is Easy for Users on OpenCart?

    • Quick and easy to install and it is 100% free to use.
    • Ideal for anyone with a low-budget wanting to build their business.
    • It allows you to choose free and premium extensions based on your budget and needs.
    • Offers a wealth of options when it comes to applications, add-ons, and extensions.

    What is Difficult for Users on OpenCart?

    • Technical proficiency remains a source of concern with many SMEs who use OpenCart.
    • Many of the themes provided by OpenCart are seriously lacking.
    • The extensions on OpenCart can get really expensive, particularly if you have lots of them running at the same time.

    Examples of Opencart Users

    • Kleshna - http://www.kleshna.com/ 
    • Everbuild - http://www.everbuild.co.uk/ 
    • ArrowFile - http://www.arrowfile.com/

    Alternatives to OpenCart

    OpenCart is great as a free online store manager, however, you want to check out the following options:

    Volusion – Sleek and stylish templates and platforms for SMEs. 
    Wix - simple online store creator, no-frills, but maybe lacking for bigger companies.

    Prestashop - if you're on a tight budget, you may wish to consider this option although it's lacking in features and functionality.

    OpenCart FAQs 

    Am I allowed to use my own domain name with OpenCart?

    Yes. You can transfer your own domain name to OpenCart.  

    Does OpenCart have an SSL certificate?

    SSL certificates are offered at domain level.

    You can enable it by going to admin-system-setting-server tab and use SSL.

    Does Opencart provide any hosting?

    OpenCart is an e-commerce store, and as such, you must choose your own hosting for it. Hosting partners include A2 Hosting in the United States and SiteGround in Bulgaria.

    Can I change my account at any time?

    You can easily edit account information.

    Is OpenCart a good option for e-commerce activity?

    Superb! It’s stylish and sophisticated and ideal for eCommerce activity with many powerful marketing features, payment options, and integrations.

    What is the best alternative to OpenCart?

    One name keeps coming up time and again: Shopify. This is a cloud-based solution for your website builders needs. It’s also hosted, has great support, and you don't have to worry about technical glitches.