Home > Blog > WooCommerce vs OpenCart – Which One Wins? 
WooCommerce vs OpenCart – Which One Wins? 
More and more businesses are making a serious effort to respond to their customer needs and wants. The business world is moving rapidly and businesses are trying to move their goods and services online. The diversity of e-commerce platforms is huge and store owners have too many options to choose from. However, the two choices that provide one of the best shopping cart experiences and that make it easy to set everything up are WooCommerce and OpenCart.
To create a really successful e-commerce store, you must have a good approach to the key tools in order to properly kick-start your venture. One of the most important choices to make when starting your store is the selection of the shopping cart. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the information and choices and get paralysed when making a decision. One of the reasons why this is the case is that there are no universal solutions which are suitable for everyone. Also, if you get your advice only from other e-commerce store owners, they are very likely to support only their own choice and they are not likely to follow the latest information and upgrades available.
In e-commerce, a platform with the longest history isn’t always the most viable solution and it is not rare that platforms that were once considered the best in the past to lack essential features that are needed for the modern store owner. Just take a look at the Google Trends graph that shows the statistics on WooCommerce and OpenCart:
WooCommerce vs OpenCart – Brief Overview
Launched in 2011 by WooThemes, WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin that was designed to very easily and quickly convert an existing WordPress website into a functioning online store. It was a huge success and it still is, as you could see in the graph above. This is because it was developed by a very respectable and reliable company, plus it had a huge set of features that would make shopping experience very engaging for the visitors. WooCommerce is powerful and also relatively easy to use with great integrations for your favourite tools.
WooCommerce was bought by Automattic which is the company that is behind WordPress. This acquisition will make WordPress even more competitive and it will make it even easier for people to sell online through their own e-commerce store. The peculiarity of WooCommerce lies within its being a plugin for WordPress, so most current WordPress users will automatically consider it as a solution for them.
WooCommerce takes only a few minutes to install and there is no learning curve involved since it comes with the intuitive WordPress interface. There are plenty of themes designed specifically for WooCommerce but it can be run on practically any WordPress theme.
OpenCart was launched back in 2008 as an open source platform. It was designed to make managing the store very easy for everyone, no matter of how big their store was. It is free since it’s open source and it has its own themes and extensions. The target audience for OpenCart are newcomers since it’s a very user-friendly platform. If you have a medium sized store, then OpenCart will suit you well because it is packed with many features. You don’t need to have a website prior to installing it like you have to with WooCommerce and it might be enough to cover your basic needs if you don’t need to run any sort of a blog.
OpenCart can also manage multiple stores within the same interface. You will find that initial and ongoing costs are affordable in most cases and the out of the box features that come with it might be enough for a very basic store. There are plugins and extensions available but the number doesn’t near that of WooCommerce and WordPress. Customising your store is not very easy and you will find that it lags behind in terms of performance.
WooCommerce vs OpenCart – Ease of Installation & Usage
WooCommerce – Ease of Installation & Usage
WooCommerce is definitely the best way to turn your existing WordPress website into an e-commerce store. Since WooCommerce is a simple (but powerful) plugin for WordPress, it needs to be installed just like any other plugin. Since it is a free and open source software, you don’t need any licences and there are no recurring monthly fees. When you set up your WooCommerce store, you’ll be able to sell anything – physical products, digital products, services, subscriptions, bookings, etc.
To install WooCommerce, just navigate to your “Plugins” in the left sidebar, search for it, and click “Install Now”. After you activate the plugin, you’ll be presented with the setup wizard which will ask you a few questions about your store and, after you fill in everything, you’ll be taken to your online store! You’d be hard-pressed to find a more scalable and flexible platform than WooCommerce. Since it is open source, the only limit is your imagination.
If we take into the account that you already have a WordPress website up and running, then using WooCommerce is going to be a breeze. WordPress can be used even by beginners and anyone who spent even a moderate time with WordPress can use WooCommerce without any problems. WooCommerce just adds a few new options and options in the menus so your dashboard will still look the same.
OpenCart – Ease of Installation & Usage
OpenCart is a standalone e-commerce platform and you will have two ways through which you can install OpenCart. The first way is to install it manually, and the second way is by using a single click script installer. If you go with the first option and try to install it manually, you will find that it’s a complicated process but you’ll have better options and customization features. Setting up OpenCart this way will require a lot of technical skills so you must hire someone to do it for you. Once the developer gets your store up and running, then how easy it is to use on a daily basis will depend on the skill of that developer you hired to build it, and this is a big downside.
The second way is the best for people who want to set up their online store in a fastest possible way. An example of a script that does this job is Softaculous and you can see in the screenshot below that you just need to click “Install” and it will take you through the quick setup wizard.
You will notice that the dashboard is clean and orderly and it gives the impression of most other e-commerce platforms and that means navigating around on a daily basis will be easy. Product organization is not that well organized and you will need to go through a small learning curve to pick up where everything is located. Sales reports are also weird because they don’t show you any charts or graphs and they only show you reports in a list form.
Compared to WooCommerce, OpenCart is harder to customize and you’re confined to the product as-is. The scripts can also run at a slow pace (especially if you have a large store), so it can make for a frustrating shopping experience sometimes.
WooCommerce has an easier install process than OpenCart, especially if you are going to manually try to install OpenCart. WooCommerce requires that you just search for the plugin and click to install it.
WooCommerce vs OpenCart – Themes & Design
WooCommerce – Design
WordPress and WooCommerce offer over 2,100 free themes and also over 30,000 paid themes. Whether you need magazine themes, SEO powered themes, e-commerce themes, or business themes, you will have no trouble finding it.
WooThemes (the developers behind WooCommerce) now the importance of design and that is why they have plenty of great looking WordPress themes available which have been optimized specifically for WooCommerce. The best thing about WooCommerce is that it can be integrated and used with any WordPress theme. This will create a nearly infinite selection of possibilities for your online store. With WooCommerce, you will have a level of specialization that is just simply not obtainable with OpenCart.
There are some great themes that were built with WooCommerce in mind that are tailor-made to make your store look and function just great. If the design of your e-commerce store is very important to you, then you should look for themes that were made exclusively for WooCommerce.
OpenCart – Design
When you install the OpenCart, you will get just a basic store design. OpenCart gives you the option of free and paid themes which cost, on average, $60-70. In order to make changes to your store, you’ll probably have to dive into the HTML and CSS, and you’ll have to hire someone to do it for you if you’re lacking those skills.
By default, themes have the integration for Facebook, Twitter, and Google Analytics, but for other services, you will have to pay for extensions. Currently, there are over 500 themes available.
Themes for WooCommerce have top-notch aesthetics, responsive design, great looking sliders and are miles ahead of themes that are made for OpenCart. OpenCart also doesn’t have as many free themes as WordPress does so if you want to have the greatest possible selection of free and paid themes, you should go for WooCommerce and WordPress.
WooCommerce vs OpenCart – Pricing
“Free” is a tricky word when someone talks about open-source software. Yes, open-source means that it is free to download, use, and upgrade, but that does not mean you won’t have any additional charges in order to operate your store. You will be responsible for your own hosting and security, and you’ll likely to spend money on extensions and plugins.
WooCommerce – Pricing
WooCommerce is free to install and use on your WordPress website. There are some other costs associated with it because you will need a website. One of those costs is the domain name which you can get for $10 per year (on average). Second, you’ll need to pay monthly for a hosting service which will set you back $5-100 per month, depending on what kind of hosting you choose (shared vs. dedicated server and the specs). And lastly, you’ll need to get an SSL certificate.
Besides the basic costs of running a website, there’s also the cost of paid premium themes if you decide to upgrade the look of your store. Another thing, you will also have to cover some extensions if you decide to improve the functionality of your store (SEO, payment gateways, etc.). The cost of extensions is around $49-79 mark.
OpenCart – Pricing
OpenCart is an open-source platform, so it is technically free. This means that, if you know how to set up your store, you can have everything functioning for the cost of a domain, SSL certificate, and hosting. If you don’t know how to set up and design your store, then you’ll need to hire a good designer or a developer that will not leave your store unfinished and unsightly.
Another thing that you will need to cover are the add-ons and integrations. Since the basic features that come with your store when you first install it are not going to be enough for most people, you will have to get at least a few to add some functionality for different features like currency, payment processing, marketing, etc.
Winner: It’s a tie
The both platforms are free to download and use since they are open source. No matter which one you go for, you will have the basic expenses of running a website like getting a domain name and hosting service. While both have free themes and plugins available, a lot of people decide to get a paid theme and improve the functionality of their store by getting some extensions and add-ons, and that is usually a one-time fee that you will have to budget for in the future.
WooCommerce vs OpenCart – Customer Support
WooCommerce – Customer Support
With WooCommerce, if you need support for something, then your first stop should be the official WordPress forums. The community there is huge and people are more than happy to help. Next, you should check their documentation because it is very likely that you question has been covered.
Overall, help is easy to find and the solution for your problem is out there. Another way that you can use to get support is to go open a support ticket on WooCommerce website.
OpenCart – Customer Support
Like with many other open source e-commerce platforms, support is limited to documentation and forums. OpenCart forums are active and, in most cases, you will promptly get an answer from a helpful developer. OpenCart also promotes several third-party developers on their website, so you can hire someone to help you by searching through their listings.
Recently, OpenCart introduced two support plan that you might want to check out. The first option is a one-time help for which pricing varies and you’ll need to get a quote first by filling in the form on their website. The second option is a premium support plan which costs $99 per month. The premium support will help you out with some minor issues like installations and bugs, but it is not unlimited. The monthly fee covers three bug fixes and five installations per month. This doesn’t include any design or development work.
Because of the plethora of WordPress forums, specialists, developers, and communities, you will never be left stranded because there are so many ways to get help. You can also always submit a ticket and WooCommerce support staff will get back to you. OpenCart offers some support in a way of documentation and forums, but it is far behind of what the WordPress community has to offer. You’re also made to pay monthly for support if you go with OpenCart (plus you get only a few answers each month).
WooCommerce vs OpenCart – Features & SEO
WooCommerce and OpenCart have some e-commerce essentials built into the main software. However, they have their differences and that’s what we’re going to explore next.
WooCommerce – Features & SEO
WordPress is well known for allowing other developers to create different plugins and extensions and WooCommerce taps into that even further by providing many more interesting and useful additions. Whether you want to sell on Facebook, edit the store aesthetics, understand user behaviour, or ramp up your email marketing techniques, you’ll be able to.
WooCommerce comes packed with all basic e-commerce features, like:
- Payment processing (Stripe and PayPal are built-in, and you can add others for a fee)
- Unlimited number of products and categories
- Adjustable taxes and shipping rates
- Mobile-friendly site structure
- You can sell physical or digital products
WordPress offers much more sophisticated free plugins for your store than OpenCart and there’re over 40,000 free plugins available. With plugins, you can add every possible functionality to your store that you can imagine, from checkout plugins, to social, shipping, and notification plugins. There is no limit to what you can do!
If you want to crush the competition with your Google rankings, then WordPress got you covered. There are huge SEO benefits to take into consideration because WooCommerce is a plugin for WordPress. WordPress is primarily a blog and content platform and, because of that, it is well-known for its SEO features and capabilities.
When you add WooCommerce to it, you can easily do on-page SEO and add meta information which will help you a lot in getting search engine rankings. WordPress also has a very logical and organized way of dealing with its posts, pages, categories, and archives, so it will not give you any SEO related problems like other platforms do. With famous SEO plugins like Yoast SEO, you can be even one more step ahead of the competition.
OpenCart – Features & SEO
Being open source, OpenCart lacks the features offered by all in one solutions, but you have the freedom to add any feature you can imagine. It is a shopping software in its core, so out of the box you have all the basic features like listing unlimited products and images on each product, you have a variety of currencies and languages and for everything else that is not covered, you have plenty of extensions and apps. But it doesn’t come with an extensive feature set by any means.
OpenCart can be a mixed bag, with some apps being poorly optimized, themes not fitting right, and a vast majority of things costing money. You also have blogging and social media features available. OpenCart does offer free plugins that you can install in your store, but there are also plenty of plugins that you need to pay for. The cost for extensions will vary, so some you might pay $10, while others are $90.
Regarding the SEO capabilities, you can adjust the basic things like meta data, but when you start playing with SEO, you’ll have to tinker around with code. If you are not tech-savvy, it will me overwhelming to do so.
Winner: It’s a tie
There’s nothing important that’s missing from either Shopify or WooCommerce and they both offer plenty of features. Your personal preference will play a role when choosing the platform. There are additional apps and extensions available on both sides that you can use to get some additional functionalities as well.
In the end, there’s no clear winner here when it comes to features as both solutions have everything you need to run an online store.
You should always choose the platform that will allow your store to grow as your brand grows. You should always make a list of the features that you want to add to your store down the line. WooCommerce simply has so much more to offer in every aspect.
All in all, WooCommerce is definitely more powerful from an SEO perspective than its other competitors. WooCommerce gives you many more SEO specific options because it is built on top of WordPress.
WordPress is a real powerhouse. It’s nearly the perfect platform that is capable of running any kind of website. If you already have a WordPress website, then it’s going to be much faster and cheaper to add the WooCommerce to it instead of building something new from scratch. WooCommerce clearly offers more as you are getting WordPress, more plugins, more flexibility, more support, more customization, ideal SEO environment, and better design.
If you lack the necessary skills, then setting up OpenCart can be expensive. Like we’ve mentioned, getting add-ons installed and working properly will require extra work and sometimes they can give you a huge headache. Add-ons are not always compatible with each other and you’re on your own regarding the design since OpenCart doesn’t offer any significant design editing tools. Overall, WooCommerce is simply a much better choice.