There are several factors to bear in mind when selecting an ecommerce platform. For instance, the platform should have the feature one would require, such as – inventory control, the right payment systems, and the best shipping options. Even if you do not possess the technical capabilities (or funds to employ them) you will need a platform with a simple set up.
Irrespective of your technical skills, you will need a platform that is simple enough for your team to use. In order to ease your decision making, here is an evaluation of three of the best ecommerce platforms: Prestashop vs Agoracart vs TomatoCart.
These names may sound like some weird. But the reality is that all three of these ecommerce platforms are powerful solutions for online stores.
Of the three platforms named above, Prestashop is the largest with about 4 million downloads. The major reasons for its popularity are:
- There are several features built into the basic set
- The basic setup – and hence all of its elementary features – is free
- It is simple to set up, learn and use
- It can be effortlessly expanded with modules
Let’s go through each one of these in a bit more detail. First, the features built in the basic Prestashop set up are remarkable. Terming it a basic set up does not define it properly due to this. In fact most of the users will require nothing more than the free Prestashop software. To begin, you can have as many or as little products and categories as you deem necessary. This implies that Prestashop works on big ecommerce websites and on sites with just a few products.
The display of your products is entirely up to you, and you can apply useful marketing tools like product comparisons and cross-selling. Prestashop also makes inventory management easy. All these functions are free, but if you need special functionalities, you can purchase add-ons. For instance; there is a time saving feature on Prestashop that lets you transfer your products to Ebay with just a few clicks. You can export your products to Amazon or Google as well, this is possible so long as you buy an add-on.
Finally, Prestashop is easy to use. You do not even need web development experience in order to get up and running. Plus managing it and showing your team how to use it is straightforward.
AgoraCart is another powerful and popular ecommerce platform that is packed full of features and functionality. This includes unlimited products, unlimited categories, customizable design and a variety of payment options as standard. And just like Prestashop it is free.
There is one main difference which some people will regard as a positive while others will see as a negative. It is possible to extensively customize AgoraCart in order to make your shop look exactly the way you want it to and perform the way you want it to. This is ideal for developers. But the downside is AgoraCart is a bit harder to set up than Prestashop and it is not as user friendly. You gain in flexibility but you lose in ease of use.
There are shop templates designed to overcome this and get you set up quickly but Prestashop does this better. AgoraCart, on the other hand, is one to consider if you plan to get into the code.
TomatoCart is another free ecommerce platform. And just like Prestashop and AgoraCart it also comes packed with loads of features as standard. It has unlimited categories and can handle all sort of items including downloads and other virtual products. It is also easily customizable and comes with several payment methods and shipping options. And it is easy to use so on first look it appears just as good as Prestashop and Agoracart.
But this only applies if you are happy with the standard features. If you want more you might encounter a problem because there is a downside with TomatoCart – it has fewer add-on modules available than some of its rivals. This is not a problem for the majority of users but it is a limiting factor for others.
So the summary is Prestashop is the best all-round ecommerce platform available. Some people complain about the cost of some of the modules but that is fair given how much is included for free. AgoraCart and TomatoCart are also good which is why they are also popular. But Prestashop remains a couple of steps ahead.