Licensed ecommerce platforms are often the most flexible and powerful “shopping carts” available to online retailers, but they can demand more in terms of expenses and development time.
Licensed shopping carts — or, perhaps more accurately, ecommerce platforms — are hosted on a merchant’s own servers or at a hosting company. In the case of open-source licensed carts, there are often a significant number of extensions that can be used to connect with third party tools or solutions. What’s more, many licensed carts make it possible to customize an installation, tailoring it to fit a particular merchant’s needs.
In this article, I offer my view of some of the best licensed ecommerce solutions available in 2011. Some of these solutions are enterprise-level — meaning that they can do much more, but they may also cost much more. Others are a nice combination of features and cost, suitable for small online merchants.
To be sure, I have not reviewed or experienced every licensed shopping cart. — there are likely other great licensed carts that could be added to this list. But, for the licensed carts I’ve experienced, here are ten great examples.
Magento is an open source, ecommerce powerhouse that includes many of the most sought after ecommerce features and has the support of a massive development and user community. The Magento platform is available in a free Community edition, but the Enterprise edition, which includes technical support and the most updated features, runs about $12,999 per year. eBay recently purchased Magento, making it an even more attractive choice.
LemonStand is very flexible platform that will delight web designers and merchants alike with its simplicity, ease of use, and visually appealing admin and reporting. LemonStand is about $258 USD or $299.98 in Canadian dollars, the solution’s home currency. This is a great choice for tech-savvy ecommerce entrepreneurs.
IBM WebSphere Commerce
IBM’s WebSphere Commerce is a leader among large retail enterprises. This solution is very easy to integrate with social media and enables precision marketing capable of targeting offers and personalized promotions to individual shoppers. The express version starts at about $30,000, but request a quote to get specifics.
Oracle ATG Web Commerce
Oracle’s ATG Web Commerce platform aims to serve the world’s largest and best-known brands. The platform delivers the cross-channel capabilities and features you’d expect from a world-class ecommerce solution.
Fry Open Commerce Platform
The Fry Open Commerce Platform from Micros is built to let multi-channel merchants easily implement customer business rules without the need to conform to “rigid” protocols. The platform has been listed among the very best in several published reports.
Hybris B2C Commerce
Hybris is an enterprise-level, licensed ecommerce software solution. Like many of the platforms in its class, it offers a high-level of customization; is rich in features; and has an excellent track record. In August 2011, Hybris announced that it was joining forces with iCongo, another excellent ecommerce solution that would have made this list in its own right if the companies were not merging.
On the opposite side of the licensed cart universe from large, enterprise solutions, is OpenCart. A simple-to-use, free and open source shopping cart solution that is clearly aimed at small and startup ecommerce businesses.
TomatoCart is an open source solution best suited for small or mid-sized commerce merchants. This licensed solution features a unique, desktop-like administration panel on top of the usual set of ecommerce features.
PrestaShop boasts more than 240 specific ecommerce features. While many of these are relatively common in the world of licensed ecommerce solutions, they add up to a very complete offering. PrestaShop is available free and is open source.
Among ElasticPath’s varied and many features is a relatively easy-to-use A/B split testing capability that allows its users to test various landing page, merchandising offers, or checkout pages.