When you start building up an online store, one of the most crucial decisions you have to make is to choose the eCommerce platform to use on your store. And with the plethora of eCommerce options available, this choice becomes the hardest.
Though there are many eCommerce platforms available, the two that are often pitted against each other are WooCommerce and OpenCart. Choosing between these two is not easy. Both are designed powerfully to offer a pleasant shopping cart experience, both offer many useful features that help you run your store smoothly, and both offer customization options to design your store as you want.
So, how do you pick one between the two?
In this comparative article, we will give you a detailed and thorough comparison of WooCommerce vs. OpenCart. We will cover the various aspects and features of both platforms to help you decide which one is best for you.
So, let’s start right away!
WooCommerce was launched in 2011 by WooThemes. It is an easily accessible open-source WordPress plugin with a plethora of helpful features. WooCommerce is designed to turn any of your existing WordPress websites into a fully functioning online store. You can also use WooCommerce while building a new website from scratch.
On the other hand, OpenCart is older than WooCommerce as it was launched back in 2008. It is also an open-source platform, but it is a PHP-based platform. OpenCart utilizes HTML components and MySQL database.
Now that we know what WooCommerce and OpenCart are at a glance, let’s dig a little deeper to get a better picture of these two loading eCommerce platforms.
WooCommerce is the most popular and sought-after eCommerce platform presently. As per the latest findings, 40% of the online stores are using WooCommerce for their eCommerce needs. One of the many best features that make WooCommerce a leader in eCommerce is that it is created as a WordPress extension. Therefore, if you know how to run a website on WordPress, you can easily use WooCommerce as well.
As soon as you install the WooCommerce plugin on your website, it will turn into an eCommerce store right away. It will have all the basic operations and functionalities of an online store, such as order processing, inventory management, payment facilities, and more.
WooCommerce is an unrestricted and free of cost platform. Apart from the various functionalities built in the platform, you can further install add-on plugins to enhance its features according to your needs. Although OpenCart came into the market a few years before WooCommerce, these unique benefits and features make WooCommerce more popular than OpenCart.
OpenCart is also an open-source eCommerce platform, like WooCommerce. OpenCart also features powerful online store management tools, various extensions and themes, and a robust support system to help you throughout.
However, OpenCart has not been able to grab the market like WooCommerce. There could be multiple reasons behind it. The main reason behind this could be the lack of freedom and customization present in OpenCart. We will look at all these things in the next section to understand why OpenCart could not gain popularity like WooCommerce.
Yet, OpenCart is widely used by new and small-scale business owners. This platform is best suited for store owners who want to have a quick and free setup as it provides excellent features for running a small store with a limited number of products.
Here, we will review some of the primary features and functionalities of both platforms to draw a detailed comparison between the two.
- Ease of installation
WooCommerce is a plugin specifically designed for WordPress. Thus, you can easily install it just like any other WordPress plugin. As it is a free, open-source platform, you do not need to pay any installation or monthly charges.
The method of installation of WooCommerce is quite simple and straightforward. You have to follow these steps:
1. Go to “Plugins” in the left panel of your WordPress dashboard.
2. Enter “WooCommerce” in the search bar.
3. On seeing WooCommerce in the search results, click the “Install Now” button given with it.
4. When installation gets done, click on the “Activate” button, after which you will be led through a WooCommerce setup wizard to fill in some basic information about your store.
And just like that, WooCommerce is installed on your WordPress website. Easy, right?
Now let’s look at the OpenCart installation procedure.
When it comes to installing OpenCart, you have two options. The first setup option involves a one-click installer facilitated by hosting providers. This option commonly costs around $3-$15.
The second setup option involves installing the OpenCart store manually. But this method is very complicated and challenging as you would be required to have basic technical knowledge. You should know about using FTP to transfer the OpenCart archives to your server and then building a database through phpMyAdmin.
Definitely, WooCommerce. Where anybody can install and set up WooCommerce, OpenCart can only be installed by someone with technical knowledge and skills.
- Themes and Design
More than 2,100 free themes and over 30,000 paid themes – that’s what WooCommerce offers. Either you want SEO-powered themes, magazine themes, business-defined themes, or eCommerce themes – WooCommerce has got you covered. Not many eCommerce platforms can compete with WooCommerce in the aspect of themes and designs.
The design plays a significant role in the success of an online store, and WooCommerce understands that. That’s why they have created a platform that integrates seamlessly with most themes available in the market. Mostly, you can select any WordPress theme you want and make it work perfectly well with WooCommerce. So, the options become unlimited!
Unlike WooCommerce, OpenCart offers quite limited options when it comes to themes and designs. It only offers a sum of 500 free and paid themes, where their cost varies between $60-$70. Plus, working with the available themes also requires the user to have all the CSS and HTML skills. If not, you might need to hire a professional to conduct the customizations for you.
It’s a no-brainer. WooCommerce is still a winner in this aspect as well. The aesthetics, the unlimited options, the ease of use, and the simple customizations in WooCommerce make it miles ahead of OpenCart.
Both WooCommerce and OpenCart are free, open-source eCommerce platforms. However, even though the platform itself is free of cost, there are still some charges that are associated with running an online store, such as:
Both the platforms require you to have a hosting service that usually costs anywhere between $5-100 per month, according to the service you choose.
- Domain Name:
The charges of domain name also apply to both the platforms and commonly costs $10 per year.
- Any additional extensions:
In case you use any added extensions such as paid premium themes, those charges also get included in the total cost of running a store.
- SSL Certificate:
You need an SSL certificate to be able to accept online payments safely, and that is another expense that you will have to cover.
It’s a tie! Yes, this aspect is the same for both platforms as both are free to install and use, yet require the same amount of extra expenses.
WordPress has a huge SEO advantage over other CMS, and thus, so does WooCommerce. WordPress is created on an SEO-friendly PHP code that is highly preferred by Google as well as other search engines. Consequently, any website built on WordPress automatically gains better SEO.
In addition to that, there are tons of WooCommerce SEO plugins that provide added variety of SEO functionalities, such as flexible URLs, Google Analytics, robots.txt, sitemap generation, meta descriptions, and much more.
OpenCart does not offer the built-in advantage of SEO-friendly programming. However, you can edit the Metas of your store while using OpenCart as your eCommerce platform. Plus, you can also use search engine optimized URLs for your online store and product web pages. However, if you need to employ better SEO functionalities in OpenCart, you would need to hire an expert.
WooCommerce easily wins this one as it offers strong SEO features that do not require you to deal with technical SEO issues.
WooCommerce is based on PHP and is also integrated with WordPress, which means that when you are using WooCommerce, you have straight access to the code through FTP. If you are tech-savvy or are open to hiring experts, you will have a remarkably high level of control over every area of your eCommerce store.
You can also use REST API, which allows you to add an extra layer of functionalities. This will further enable you to customize your website. In simple words, in WooCommerce, everything can be customized according to your unique business needs.
While using OpenCart, you will find that OpenCart is highly customizable, but only if you can take advantage of the underlying code. If you do that, you can easily customize functionalities to have a unique eCommerce system. However, you will need to have high-class coding skills to be able to do that. Plus, you can always hire expert developers to help you in that manner.
It’s a tie! Both the platforms are open-source and thus enable you to make deep customizations to your store, but only if you have the technical knowledge or can hire professionals.
- Supported Product Types
Both the platforms, WooCommerce and OpenCart, enable you to have unlimited items, product categories, and product descriptions on your store. Moreover, you are allowed to sell all types of products on both:
- Physical Products:
WooCommerce and OpenCart both allow you to sell physical products online. You can easily maintain your product catalog, price the items, manage your orders, calculate all the taxes, and perform many more physical product selling activities on both platforms.
- Digital Products:
In addition to selling physical products, both platforms also support selling digital products. Digital products include all those items that can be purchased and downloaded directly over the internet, such as an eBook.
Well, it’s pretty obvious. WooCommerce and OpenCart are both the same in the aspect of supported product types. Thus, it’s a tie!
- Extensions and plugins
WooCommerce allows you to extend and increase the functionality of your online store in various ways. As of now, the WooCommerce extension store has over 400 extensions. These extensions improve the functionality and/or outlook of your store. The extensions include store management tools, marketing, booking, shipping, subscriptions, taxes, and many more. In addition to that, WooCommerce can integrate seamlessly with all WordPress plugins, which are around 56,540.
OpenCart also offers a number of useful extensions. You can buy these extensions from OpenCart marketplace or other marketplaces as well. Although they are limited in number as compared to WooCommerce, these extensions are still sufficient to run your store smoothly. OpenCart extensions include admin tools, email integrations, social media integrations, payment methods, shipping methods, and more.
It’s a tie as both platforms have useful extensions.
We know that choosing an eCommerce platform can be quite a challenging and tough decision to make. With so many eCommerce options available in the market, you might get confused.
Here, we have tried to make the decision-making easier for you by providing a detailed comparison of two giants in the world of eCommerce. We hope that this blog helps you make the correct choice.
To conclude the comparison, we would give our verdict in favor of WooCommerce. Thanks to its unlimited designing options, high customization capabilities, user-friendliness, and easy installation, WooCommerce is suitable for all types of online stores.