Shopify vs osCommerce (Feb 2023): The Basics

How to Choose Between Shopify and osCommerce

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Ecommerce platforms are easily one of the most essential tools in the digital landscape. In a world where customers spend more time shopping online and less time exploring the high street, ecommerce tools are more valuable than ever.

Shopify is probably one of the better-known ecommerce tools on the market today. Brimming with features to bring your online store to life, Shopify stands out as an excellent tool for selling, but it’s not the only option on the market. You can also consider options like BigCommerce, Squarespace, WooCommerce, and many others.

osCommerce is one of the lesser-known tools in the ecommerce platform landscape, but it’s also quickly gaining popularity. We decided to create this comparison of osCommerce vs Shopify to help you discover everything you need to know about the two solutions.

Shopify vs osCommerce: Vendor Comparison

Both Shopify and osCommerce are ecommerce platforms that you can use to sell various products online. Shopify and osCommerce provide a host of important selling features, from a customizable shopping cart, to a powerful set of add-on options and plugins.

Shopify is one of the best-known ecommerce solution providers in the world. Like other solutions should WooCommerce and Prestashop, it helps businesses get up and run online with valuable sales tools. Shopify is an all-in-one platform, so you don’t need to buy things like SSL certificates and hosting separately, like you would with an open source tool.

On the other hand, osCommerce is an open source solution that supports thousands of websites around the world. The self-hosted system means that you’re responsible for handling all of your hosting, patches, and other back-end tech yourself. However, this also means that you have a lot more customization available with osCommerce.

Shopify vs osCommerce: Pros and Cons

When comparing Shopify and osCommerce, it might help you to get a more complete insight into the pros and cons of each solution. Both of these tools have their appealing points to consider. The one that’s right for you will depend on what you want most from your ecommerce store.

Let’s start with Shopify pros and cons:

Shopify Pros

  • Very popular ecommerce service with lots of great features
  • Support for selling through multiple channels
  • Various add-on options through the great marketplace
  • Lots of free and premium templates
  • Integrations with offline selling options
  • User-friendly with everything you need on the back end
  • No need to manage updates and security on your own

Shopify Cons

  • Transaction fees can make running your store more expensive
  • Costs can quickly add up depending on the apps you use
  • More add-ons means more things to learn.

osCommerce Pros

  • Extend and customize your experience however you choose
  • Open-source environment means your website can easily scale
  • Lots of support from community
  • Beautiful templates for a great looking website
  • Constant improvements to open-source code
  • Choose your own hosting and security options

osCommerce Cons

  • Handle your own hosting, site updates, maintenance, etc
  • Prone to errors at times
  • Requires a lot more back-end work

Shopify vs osCommerce: Pricing

There’s more to choosing the perfect ecommerce solution for your website than budget. Whether you’re building a site with WordPress, Opencart, or something else entirely, you have a lot to consider. For instance, how are you going to improve your online ranking potential with SEO? Can you access good customer support? What kind of ecommerce features do you get for your money?

Of course, we all have budgets to consider when it comes to choosing ecommerce software. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at the price of your new ecommerce tools.

Shopify pricing starts from around $29 per month, if you want more than just a button on your website (Shopify Lite).

shopify pricing - shopify vs oscommerce

Pricing options for Shopify include:

  • Shopify Lite: $9 per month
  • Basic Shopify: $29 per month
  • Shopify: $79 per month
  • Advanced Shopify: $299 per month
  • Shopify Plus: Quote only (starts at around $2000 per month)

Like most ecommerce tools, Shopify will give you a discount on your solution if you agree to pay annually, rather than monthly. Subscribing for around 12 months will give you a discount of approximately 10%.

Remember, although Shopify Lite is the cheapest option, it doesn’t provide all the features you need for creating an ecommerce site. You’ll only be able to use this product if you’re selling through a Facebook page or an existing site. Fortunately, all Shopify plans, except for Shopify Lite come with a variety of features, including an abandoned cart saver.

osCommerce pricing is very different to Shopify's pricing. As an open source software, it’s completely free to download and use this solution. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t expenses to consider. For instance, you will need a hosting plan, which means you’ll have a monthly or yearly cost to pay. You’ll also need to purchase a domain name for your store, and think about costs like security, maintenance, third-party add-ons, and even design or template options.

Although osCommerce can be relatively cheap depending on where you get all of your must-have features, it can also be more expensive than Shopify too. It’s up to you to shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Shopify vs. osCommerce: Features

Pricing doesn’t matter much if you don’t know what you’re getting for your money. The tools you choose for your ecommerce store should support the workflows, reports, and processes important to you and your team. That’s why we had a closer look at the features of both Shopify and osCommerce for you.

Shopify Features

Shopify comes with everything a business owner needs to begin selling online. The solution is one of the most comprehensive tools on the market, catering to all sizes of business, with the option to take payments from around 70 providers in total. You can unlock a host of fantastic capabilities with Shopify, including editing options so you can adjust the CSS and HTML of your pages.

Shopify comes with free and premium templates to choose from, or you can access more customization if you need to. There’s also payments with PayPal and credit cards available, as well as the opportunity to take global currencies. Shopify even gives you the power to understand your customers better with reporting and analytics. There’s even a content management system for blogging.

The feature you can get from Shopify will depend on which package you go for when buying your plan. Capabilities available include:

  • Domain name purchasing
  • SSL certificate
  • Free and premium themes
  • Dozens of payment choices
  • Website builder with a drag-and-drop editor
  • Abandoned cart recovery
  • Customer profiles and accounts
  • Dropshipping and fulfillment options
  • Social integrations for multi-channel selling
  • Inventory and order management
  • Product reviews and testimonials
  • Marketing and email templates
  • SEO and blogging functionality
  • Customer profiles and accounts
  • Automatic tax calculation

The features available for Shopify are constantly growing too, with new functionality like AR tools and advanced reports showing up regularly. There are also plenty of integrations so you can adjust your service to suit you.

osCommerce Features

osCommerce is a convenient and flexible open-source ecommerce platform. There are thousands of add-ons to choose form, so you can adjust your website to perfectly suit your needs. Additionally, you can start building for free, because the osCommerce software is free to download.

Due to its open source nature, osCommerce is easy to use when you want to create a website that’s perfect for you. You can modify your site freely without worrying about what you’re allowed to do. Plus, although osCommerce might not be as simple as a pre-built website solution with drag-and-drop functionality, it is very easy to use.

If you’re looking for something that’s quick and easy to help you launch into the world of ecommerce as quickly as possible, then v could be just the thing for you. Some of the features of this service include special offers and voucher codes, review and testimonial management, customer accounts and management, and reporting too. Capabilities of osCommerce include:

  • Advanced customization options
  • Order processing and inventory management
  • Reporting and analytics to get to know your audience
  • Tax handling and accounting extensions
  • Special offers and discounts
  • Product catalogue management for unlimited products
  • Currency and language settings
  • Customer accounts and management
  • Cache control and database control
  • Fully-featured security checks
  • Lots of product categories and options
  • Robust community
  • Easy modifications
  • Plugins and add-ons for every need

Shopify vs osCommerce: Design and Customization

There’s more to running a successful ecommerce store than just listing products online. With so many stores available today, it’s important to ensure that yours stands out from the crowd.

Shopify is a great tool for customizing your ecommerce website. Although you don’t get a drag-and-drop builder like you do with some other solutions, it’s easy enough to change everything from your home page to your checkout, with instructions to guide you every step of the way.

To make things as simple as possible, Shopify provides plenty of keyboard shortcuts and easy undo functionality so you can jump through design changes fast. Aside from offering excellent ease of use for customization, Shopify also makes it easy to get started with tons of themes to choose from.

You can launch your store and choose a theme in no time, then use the customization features to ensure that your site doesn’t look just like any other solution on the web today.

Although Shopify isn’t a website builder as much as it is a set of ecommerce solutions, it has a lot of excellent design options too choose from, and a simple back-end that earns it plenty of market share.

On the other hand, there’s no direct design and customization “feature” in osCommerce in the same way. You get a very basic template for your small business store so you can sell products. However, that’s about it. There’s nothing particularly impressive available to help you improve the quality of your storefront.

If you want to stand out online, then you need to take the time to look for more information from other developers who know how to work with osCommerce. There are themes out there that you can find from third-parties, but even then, you’re going to need some support from an expert to customize.

Front-end editing just isn’t what osCommerce does best, and because it’s open source, the technical support is practically non-existent. You’ll even need to consider getting extra support if you want to install a new cart like zen cart, and make sure you can ship outside of the united states.

One good thing about the osCommerce opensource platform, despite it’s lack of a monthly fee, is that If you do have developer knowledge, then you can really get into the fine details when it comes to customization.

Shopify vs osCommerce: Sales Management

As mentioned above, one of the things that makes Shopify so appealing to any online business is the fact that it features so many amazing ecommerce tools to get you started. You can track sales in real-time and set up alerts to help you monitor your inventory.

Shopify integrates with other selling platforms like eBay, Amazon, and even social media environments like Facebook. You don’t need to be a PHP or HTML expert to start selling. Everything your online business needs is available already.

Compared to other leading tools for site-building and website hosting like Squarespace, Wix, and Nopcommerce, Shopify is one of the most comprehensive tools for sales available. You can:

  • Attract customers to your online store with SEO features that help you to rank more effectively with Google
  • Present your products with a zoom function, picture gallery, video, and more. You can even create product variants and set up user ratings for social proof.
  • Manage abandoned carts and set up marketing campaigns to bring people back to your website if they leave.
  • Work with over 100 external payment processors to ensure that your customers always get the option that suits them.
  • Sell physical or digital goods in a safe environment, with coupon codes and discounts available, as well as a customer log-in area for repeat sales.
  • Set up shipping solutions with leading providers, or access dropshipping functionality through apps like Oberlo
  • Handle tax settings to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes with your taxes. Accessing product data and analytics is easy too.

Unfortunately, in comparison, using osCommerce isn’t nearly as intuitive. While most people with a little bit of time will be able to figure out how this system works, the platform is quite outdated and complex. You’re left to do a lot of the work on your own.

The tools are extremely lacking compared with options like Shopify. If you want access to things like modules for extra features, then you need to work with the Community, or access a developer that knows how to master osCommerce.

Although you can access all the features that you need to set up a store and make sales, it isn’t easy to set up advanced features like dropshipping or abandoned cart recovery. You can access features like currency exchange rates, multi-currency supports and statistics, but things just aren’t as intuitive as they are with Shopify.

osCommerce vs Shopify: Verdict

Both osCommerce and Shopify have their benefits to consider.

The biggest benefit of osCommerce is that it’s open source, so extremely flexible. Using the support of the osCommerce community, you can accomplish almost anything. This powerful tool integrates with virtually any web server or site using PHP and MySQL functionality.

If you’re looking for a flexible online store system, osCommerce is a convenient free software that works with the GNU license for the general public. You can really keep your budget as low as possible here. There’s also plenty of add-ons available to help you add extra functionality to your store if you know how to use them. However, you do need to handle things like setting up email marketing, web hosting, and other features yourself.

Alternatively, Shopify takes all the stress of building your online store and simplifies it. You don’t need to worry about finding someone to help you build all the functionality you need, because there’s a good chance that Shopify already has it. You can choose from a variety of payment gateways, and upgrade your store however you choose.

Designing a website with Shopify is extremely easy, and you have the added benefit of one of the most advanced marketplace options in the world available. You can easily add extra functionality like dropshipping and SEO grading.

Good luck finding the best ecommerce platform for your needs.

Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter is an experienced content creator, news reporter, and blogger specializing in marketing, business development, and technology. Her expertise covers everything from artificial intelligence to email marketing software and extended reality devices. When she’s not writing, Rebekah spends most of her time reading, exploring the great outdoors, and gaming.

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