The importance of the growing popularity of online sales is apparent. It is not surprising that more and more companies are opening their online store to reach their customers. Choosing the right platform for an online store is an essential decision. If you are also looking for the right software, this article is for you.
 
Most platforms have basic functions to start selling online. You can list the possibility to customize your own template, the functionality of a cart integrated with the store, search engine optimization - meta-tags and friendly links, the ability to send a newsletter, warehouse management and statistics. To find the best solution for your company you have to choose the features that are most important to you. Below are some of the most popular platforms. I hope that it will help you make the right choice for your type of business.
  

Magento

Magento is the largest and express growing e-commerce platform in the world, supported and developed by eBay. The store is translated into over 60 languages, supports many currencies and taxes, allowing full internationalization of the business. There is a paid version of Enterprise Edition with additional functionalities as well as the free Community Edition.
 
SOME OF MAGENTO FUNCTIONALITIES:
- automatic detection of mobile browsers,
- the ability to assign the template appearance also at the category and product level,
- so-called cross-selling and up-selling, i.e. the opportunity to offer additional products to customers on the product card and cart,
- the order process running on one subpage,
- the possibility of creating flexible discounts and purchase coupons assigned to groups of customers,
- the ability to manage multiple online stores from one panel,
- integration with Google Analytics and website optimizer.
  

PrestaShop

It is a fully professional software with a good administrative interface and many useful functions. In terms of popularity, it is not that far behind Magento. The store has been translated into 41 languages ​​with the possibility to set multiple language versions in one store. Also suitable for handling many currencies and tax rates depending on the country you choose. The platform is available in the free version.
 
SELECTED PRESTASHOP FUNCTIONS:
- displaying products available in the warehouse,
- the ability to export products on eBay, Amazon, Google Shopping,
- various prices for separate customer groups,
- content management system,
- the order process running on one subpage,
- gift messages in the order process,
- integration with UPS and FedEx. 
 

OSCOMMERCE

osCommerce is a bit outdated. It offers a number of features that are currently out of use. It is one of the oldest e-commerce platforms on the market. There are a number of extensions to it that allow the expansion of store functionality. The platform is available in the most popular languages, supports multilingualism and multi-currency and is available free of charge.
  
SELECTED OSCOMMERCE FUNCTIONS:
- the object-oriented administrative panel,
- support of dynamic images,
- automatic display of promotions,
- temporary cart for guests and standing for customers,
- quick and friendly search with advanced options,
- support for static and dynamic banners with full statistics.
 
Although the platform itself is loaded with functions, due to the fact that it is no longer developed for some time, it also has a number of disadvantages. The biggest thing is that osCommerce does not support the use of CSS to create a graphics layout, and the code itself is quite archaic and difficult.
 

ZEN CART

Zen Cart is a remarkably friendly and free software. Its installation and configuration do not require specialist knowledge. The software itself derives from osCommerce and is its improved, modified version.
 
SELECTED FUNCTIONS OF ZEN CART:
- detailed control of the store's appearance,
- the ability to set the store in the form of a product catalog, without the need to display prices,
- banner advertising,
- delivery configurator,
- low inventory notifications,
 

VirtueMart

Software designed to work with CMS Joomla. It is an extension of the CMS functionality with an online store system, which can be extended by using additional plugins, components, modules, and templates. VirtueMart supports support for many languages ​​and currencies. The user can change the currency in the store. The software itself is free.
 
SOME OF THE VIRTUEMART FUNCTIONALITIES:
- product availability and delivery time for the customer,
- the ability to create a catalog of products without the possibility of purchase,
- many prices for the product,
- inventory management of products,
- a quick search for categories, products, and manufacturers,
- flexible configuration of shipping costs.
 

OpenCart

It is a ready-made platform, easy to use and search engine friendly. The platform supports 18 languages, many currencies, and various shipping methods. The platform is available for free.
SELECTED OPENCART FUNCTIONS:
- template system,
- automatic resizing of the image,
- unlimited information pages,
- multistore function.
- a modular system that allows easy management and expansion,
- shipping cost calculator. 
  

WHAT ONLINE STORE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

In my opinion, if you plan to create a website with the functionality of a limited online store or product catalog and you are ready to accept less-functional service, you should decide to use VirtueMart.
If the basis of your activity is an online store, but you do not plan to operate on a bigger scale, you should opt for OpenCart or Zen Cart. The osCommerce software is now obsolete and I would not recommend trying the future of your store to it.
However, if you want to create an online store, you do not have large funds, however, in the future, you take into account its extension, you should be interested in the PrestaShop software.
If you are planning a large-scale business, you want to constantly improve and develop your software, you also plan to use unusual functions and have a bigger budget to invest in the Magento platform.
Of course, this is my opinion, it's best that everyone test the software before making a decision and choose the one that suits them best, but I hope that this article will help you make the right decision for you.