The Top 5 Most Popular eCommerce Platforms

In my last post, I began running through the top 10 most popular eCommerce platforms in use on the web today. In that post I started in tenth position, and covered all of the technologies in the bottom half of the list. In this post today, I’m going to resume the countdown and move from fifth to first, revealing the most prolific eCommerce technology online today.

To compile this list and to find out which websites are using each platform I’m digging into just some of the BuiltWith data. Feel free to have a look at the data for yourself, which covers much more than just the eCommerce platforms being presented here. For some of my research I’ve tapped into data available through BuiltWith Pro, which is even more revealing. You can find out more about that here.

So, without further ado, let’s pick up where we left off last time with the eCommerce platform in fifth position.

 

5 – osCommerce

osCommerce is one of the most popular open source shopping carts available online (although not the most popular, as we’ll see later). Built by a team of self professed geeks, this popular eCommerce platform has been running for over 12 years. In that time, hundreds of thousands of online stores have been created and various other products (including one that will feature further down in this list) have been based on the software.

The platform has enough features enabled by default for it to provide a complete “out of the box” solution, but osCommerce can also be enhanced and has a huge number of add-ons available. osCommerce is well regarded for being simple to implement for users setting up a fairly basic shopping cart, although it’s perhaps a little more difficult to modify the design and appearance of the cart than some of the other available platforms.

The image below shows osCommerce in action. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ubuntu would implement an open source eCommerce platform, and sure enough, they’ve gone for osCommerce.

Ubuntu Website

 

4 – WooCommerce

Next up is WooCommerce. This platform has been built specifically for WordPress users and promises to “transform your WordPress website into a thorough-bred ecommerce store for free.” WooCommerce is widely praised for being easy to use by store owners and customers alike. True to form for a WordPress based application, there are loads of themes to choose from to customize the look and feel of the store front.

Whilst the basic WooCommerce package is free, and really can be used straight “out of the box”, there are additional extensions which can be bought to add extra functionality. It’s likely that in many cases, the basic shipping options and few payment options aren’t enough and at least some of the extensions would make a worthwhile purchase.

Looking at the BuiltWith trends data for WooCommerce, this platform has to be one of the fastest growing eCommerce platforms out there. The number of websites in the top million sites using WooCommerce has roughly doubled in the last six months.

The image below shows WooCommerce put to good use on the sewing blog and store Sew Mama Sew.

Mama Sew

 

3 – Magento

In the bronze medal position is Magento, the eBay owned eCommerce platform. Magento comes in three different flavours, two of which are paid versions tailored towards either small or mid-large size businesses and the third is a free open source Community Edition. Perhaps more well suited to larger stores, Magento is a powerful platform with a strong reputation.

Looking at the trends data for Magento, this is another technology that’s becoming more and more popular. Magento is slowly but surely closing in on the top two spots.

Magento is being implemented by all kinds of stores all over the web. Perhaps the biggest brand using Magento is Walmart, who are using Magento to power their liquidation auctions store as you can see in the image below.

Walmart Liquidations

 

2 – Zen Cart

It’s getting serious now, we’re into the top 2. The second most popular eCommerce platform on the web today is Zen Cart.  Yet another open source software package, the heritage of Zen Cart is the same as osCommerce discussed above in fifth position. The Zen Cart development line split from osCommerce back in 2003 when new architectural changes were made to the code, although the two platforms still share a range of features. As with most open source software, Zen Cart is distributed under a GNU General Public License, which means it’s free for anyone to use, change or modify.

Whilst powerful and popular, Zen Cart is another platform packed with features that might be intimidating to someone looking to quickly set up a simple eCommerce store. Having said that, there is a range of different training materials and support out there.

In the image below you can see Zen Cart in full flow on lightinthebox.com.

lightinthebox

 

1 – VirtueMart

The most popular eCommerce platform on the web today is VirtueMart. It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that this is yet another open source platform. VirtueMart is an eCommerce platform build on the Joomla! content management system (meaning Joomla! must also be used on any eCommerce store using VirtueMart).

Whilst VirtueMart is free to use, there are a whole load of additional extensions that can be bought to enhance the look, feel or functionality of a a store. The platform has a good reputation and has enough features for most stores without needing to change too much.

However, not everyone is convinced by the power of VirtueMart. As you’d expect from an open source platform, the support isn’t at the same level as you’d want from a paid-for package. WooCommerce (currently sitting in fourth position) released a case study earlier this year explaining why one of their users had moved from VirtueMart to their platform. In there they mentioned support as one of their biggest gripes (although you could argue that there isn’t much incentive for the case study to present VirtueMart in a totally balanced light).

The quality of VirtueMart stores is quite low, it could be considered an e-commerce relic with many newer solutions offering easier to integrate functionality. It’s growth doesn’t match some of the competing products though, so it may only be a matter of time before it’s knocked off the top spot. To see it in action, VirtueMart provides the backbone for the store on dominoes.com, a board game store.

dominoes

 

Wrapping Up

So there you have it, the top ten most popular eCommerce platforms on the web today. If you’d like to get your hands on detailed, customized reports on all of these eCommerce technologies and more, BuiltWith Pro might be for you. Have a look at what’s on offer with a Pro account here.

Chris

Chris Walker is an engineer by day and a freelance writer by night. Sometimes a little too keen on working with data, he loves finding patterns and hidden stories buried in the numbers.