We’ve used, and seen come and go over many years, many ecommerce platforms. We have even written — and still do where appropriate — custom mini-platforms of our own. And when something comes along that does everything we need, we pay attention!
The ecommerce software OpenCart in its current form came onto the scene in 2009, and by 2017 had evolved into a platform with many features of interest to us. We tested it on a few of our own sites, and were very impressed. We could see OpenCart had a potentially great future, and stuck by it through every upgrade. We saw vast improvements with every major upgrade, and it is now our go-to software when needing a sophisticated ecommerce platform.
We chose OpenCart for several reasons.
Our web hosting service enables OpenCart to be installed with a couple of clicks, and the default ‘out of the box’ design is pleasing and easy to navigate. This combination is ideal for people who just want a shop up and running quickly, but who lack the technical expertise to do it all from scratch. (We can, and do, install and set up OpenCart shops for people who’d much rather that option.)
The massive third-party market was another factor in our consideration. Pretty much any look can be created from the plethora of themes (or ’skins’) available, and while looks aren’t everything, some themes certainly lend themselves to better navigation that others. (I’ll cover examples in future posts.)
There is also a massive marketplace for third-party add-ons which extend the shop’s functionality, whether you need a specialised report or incredibly-detailed control over postage calculations.
An OpenCart site can also handle blogs, though this is not part of the core code and does have to be added after a default installation. This is a brilliant feature that helps with content creation and search engine optimisation, and can be used to link to products for extra promotion. I wrote about an OpenCart site with a blog here.
Speaking of search engine optimisation, OpenCart has this ability built-in, though it does require a small change to a file on the server to implement, which we can help you with. Once implemented, you can create search engine-friendly urls, meta tags, meta descriptions, and keywords for all categories, products and blog posts on your site.
OpenCart is also very easy to use, whether you jump in to explore for yourself, or prefer some get-up-to-speed directions and a little helping hand. Once you know your way around one thing it is a simple matter applying that everywhere else.
If you’re considering setting up an ecommerce site, please do get in touch! We can discuss how best to set up a store to sell your products. We can help you get started with full support, or for a negotiated fee are most happy to do all the site maintenance on your behalf. This could include all product entries, writing blog content to complement your products, or both.