When launching an online store, choosing the right eCommerce platform is crucial. With a wide range of eCommerce platform options, deciding which option is better for your online store becomes difficult.
Two popular options that often come to mind are OpenCart and Shopify.
Shopify is a complete eCommerce platform that lets you effortlessly launch your online store with all the essentials. On the other hand, OpenCart is an open-source platform that allows you to build your online store functionalities from scratch but requires some technical knowledge.
Yet, both offer some unique features and benefits, and deciding which one is best for your business requires careful consideration.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into a detailed comparison between OpenCart vs Shopify to help you make an informed choice for your eCommerce business.
Let’s get started.
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Before diving deep into the difference between Shopify and OpenCart, let us briefly understand both of them.
Shopify is a popular cloud-based eCommerce platform that allows businesses to start an online store. Using Shopify, merchants can develop a professional Shopify store with minimum technical knowledge.
It offers many tools and features that help you manage your eCommerce store. Until now, 4.4+ million websites across 175 countries globally have their stores powered by Shopify.
The primary benefit of Shopify is that it is a fully-hosted solution; this means it can handle all the technical facets of managing your online store. These facets include security updates, server maintenance, and software updates.
As a result, you can concentrate on growing your business instead of worrying about the technical specifics. In addition, it also offers a lot of customization options and plenty of pre-designed templates and themes.
OpenCart is an open-source eCommerce platform that helps merchants like you to open online stores and sell your unique products online.
This platform gives you more control over your website design and functionality. It means you can personalize your website to cater to your unique business needs and have access to the source code.
One of the main advantages of the OpenCart eCommerce platform is that it is a free platform that can appeal to small or mid-sized business owners planning to take their business online with a limited budget.
On the other hand, OpenCart also has many features and tools to help manage the eCommerce store.
Note that much effort is needed to personalize the store completely, and it might seem more complex than doing it on Shopify.
Now that we have understood the basics of Shopify and OpenCart, let us understand the difference between both these eCommerce platforms.
Shopify provides varied pricing plans to cater to various business requirements. For starters, you can opt for a free trial to get first-hand experience and evaluate and analyze the platform. After the free trial, Shopify offers a basic plan that starts at $29/month.
This plan will give you all the necessary features to get your eCommerce website up and running. As you go up for the advanced plans, you can access more advanced features like gift cards, abandoned cart recovery, and professional reports.
Shopify’s advanced plan costs $299/month and contains all the necessary features of the lower-tier plans, plus extra benefits like advanced report generation and third-party calculated shipping rates.
To meet the evolving demand for expanding your online presence, Shopify Plus is designed and developed for large-scale organizations that cost more than $2000.
These are just plan prices. You should also consider calculating Shopify website cost that includes detailed costing from design and development to marketing and promotion of your store.
On the other hand, OpenCart is a free eCommerce platform. This can be a perfect option for startups or small or mid-sized businesses that are planning to have their digital presence.
Though OpenCart is free, you will still have to pay for a domain name, hosting, and any third-party plugins or themes you want to include in your eCommerce store. For web hosting, OpenCart will charge a minimum of $4/month.
As your business progresses, these fees can go up significantly. For personalization and leveraging add-ons and plugins, you have to pay a one-time or annual fee as low as $10 up to $489.
When it comes to design and personalization, Shopify beats OpenCart. It offers a variety of user-friendly and visually appealing themes.
All the Shopify design templates are mobile-friendly, so they work perfectly fine with devices of all sizes.
You do not need much technical expertise with Shopify to design an eCommerce store. It offers a simple drag-and-drop facility to develop an online store.
On the contrary, OpenCart offers customization options only if you know how to code. While you have the freedom to modify your website how you want it to look, the real pain is that making these changes can be a tad difficult and often takes some time.
Shopify comes with plenty of marketing capabilities, from SEO and email advertising to social media promotion. Shopify provides a complete package of SEO features to help you reach the top of the SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
You can add meta tags, include images using alt text, develop 301 redirects, and create an XML sitemap. Moreover, Shopify provides SSL certificates for all content hosted on your domain and during checkout processes in your shop. This assures shoppers that their data is completely secured and safe.
Whereas OpenCart is already optimized for being SEO-friendly but will not automatically configure itself. You must take time and effort to set up proper metadata, product details, web pages, and categories to match your chosen SEO concepts.
In order to have a simpler experience and better results, various successful SEO extensions are available on the market that can make everything easier.
The platform provides a basic range of SEO functionalities, yet it is up to merchants to optimize them. Sadly, the website does not have a pre-configured search engine visibility like other eCommerce solutions.
OpenCart certainly fails to rank at its best on search engines such as Google if this option is left unchecked.
Shopify is renowned for its exceptional user-friendly interface, featuring a convenient drag-and-drop store builder that simplifies the process of creating and customizing online stores, even for individuals without coding expertise.
This intuitive platform empowers beginners to establish their online presence effortlessly. Additionally, Shopify boasts a clean and well-organized admin panel, enhancing the overall user experience by providing easy access to vital store management tools.
This user-centric approach has made it a preferred choice among entrepreneurs and small business owners seeking a hassle-free eCommerce solution.
With its intuitive design and accessible features, Shopify facilitates efficient store setup and management, ultimately enabling users to focus on growing their businesses.
Its user-friendliness extends beyond just aesthetics, making it a powerful tool for individuals looking to enter the world of online retail with confidence.
On the other hand, OpenCart leans towards being developer-oriented due to its flexibility. While it maintains user-friendliness, it often demands technical expertise for comprehensive setup and customization.
The platform’s extensive customization options enable developers to create unique and tailored online stores, but this might overwhelm newcomers.
OpenCart’s learning curve may necessitate additional time and effort to grasp its full potential. In summary, OpenCart’s balance between user-friendliness and customization potential makes it suitable for those willing to invest in technical knowledge.
Shopify is a fully hosted platform, meaning it manages hosting, server upkeep, and performance enhancements on behalf of its users.
This approach ensures outstanding speed and uptime for Shopify-powered websites, as the platform’s infrastructure is finely tuned for reliability.
Shopify’s architecture is adept at handling heavy traffic loads, making it a preferred choice for eCommerce businesses with diverse needs.
OpenCart is a self-hosted eCommerce platform requiring users to source and handle their hosting infrastructure.
The quality of your hosting provider and the allocated server resources directly influence the platform’s performance.
This setup offers greater control but places the onus on the user to optimize their online store’s performance for optimal results.
Shopify offers a comprehensive suite of tools for effective store management. These tools encompass inventory control, streamlined order processing, and user-friendly product listing capabilities.
Furthermore, the Shopify App Store offers an extensive selection of apps and plugins, enabling users to enhance and customize their online stores to meet specific needs and goals.
With these resources, Shopify empowers businesses to create and manage successful eCommerce ventures.
Whereas OpenCart is known for its adaptable store management capabilities, offering a fundamental feature set.
Users can enhance their online stores by integrating numerous extensions and themes accessible in the OpenCart marketplace.
However, harnessing this flexibility may demand extra configuration and ongoing maintenance efforts to ensure a seamless and customized eCommerce experience for customers. It’s a trade-off between versatility and the need for administrative attention.
Shopify offers a diverse selection of payment gateways, notably its native solution, Shopify Payments.
Users can seamlessly integrate these gateways into their online stores, streamlining the payment process.
Additionally, the platform provides integrated shipping solutions, easing order fulfillment management.
Shopify’s automatic tax calculation feature ensures accurate taxation for transactions, reducing administrative burdens.
This comprehensive approach simplifies the initial setup of payment and shipping procedures for eCommerce businesses. With numerous options and automated features, Shopify empowers merchants to focus on their core operations and customer satisfaction.
Ultimately, this convenience contributes to a smoother and more efficient online retail experience.
Whereas OpenCart offers flexibility with multiple payment gateways and shipping methods, manual configuration and installation might be necessary for some.
This allows for tailored choices but demands a meticulous setup. Merchants can choose from various payment options, from PayPal to credit card processors. Similarly, diverse shipping methods such as flat-rate or weight-based are available.
However, each gateway and method may involve different integration steps, which could be time-consuming. This hands-on approach ensures adaptability to specific business needs but necessitates careful attention to ensure seamless functionality.
Shopify provides round-the-clock customer support through email, live chat, and phone, ensuring assistance is readily available anytime.
Additionally, their extensive knowledge base and thriving user community offer valuable resources for users seeking answers and guidance.
This robust support ecosystem enhances the overall user experience on the platform.
OpenCart is open source, relying on community forums, third-party developers, and support documentation.
Official customer support is limited, and users often depend on the community for assistance.
This decentralized approach fosters a collaborative environment for problem-solving and customization.
Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of Shopify and OpenCart.
In conclusion, both Shopify and OpenCart provide impressive eCommerce solutions, each catering to differing requirements and preferences.
Shopify stands out as an outstanding all-in-one platform, ideal for merchants searching for user-friendly features such as extensive design choices and top-tier customer support, plus access to an expansive app ecosystem. Shopify excels in simplifying eCommerce experiences.
OpenCart stands out by providing unparalleled flexibility, control, and customization options – perfect for technical experts looking to customize their online store to their exact specifications.
Still confused about which eCommerce website development platform is best for your business? Don’t worry, we’re here for you.
With experience of more than a decade, WebDesk Solution is a leading eCommerce website development company. Our developers have developed some of the best online stores for our clients. Our team of experts can help you choose the right platform for your business.
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