OS Commerce vs Zen Cart – The Battle of the Open Source Shopping Carts

ecommerce-ecartBefore you choose the right system between OS Commerce vs. Zen Cart, you have to understand what each of these systems contains and what they give you. They are both very different, yet very similar. Here’s a quick breakdown of both systems.

OS Commerce

OS Commerce stands for Open Source commerce and provides online store management for those looking to start an online store. The system works on any type of webserver with PHP and MySQL and it’s free to download. With the OS Commerce MS2.2 system, you get the basic functionality you need and more.

Zen Cart

The other open source system is Zen Cart, which also allows you to manage your online store. This system also uses PHP and MySQL database with an HTML component. Zen Cart supports a number of different currencies and languages.

time-to-start-hostingThe Major Difference Between OS Commerce vs. Zen Cart

These two systems are very similar, but there are a few key differences. Other than just a few aesthetic differences, the systems provided by Zen Cart also have some architectural differences. For example, they use a template system and Zen Cart provides additional features within the core of the system. You can use the Gift Certificate/Voucher module and you can even manage digital coupons with Zen Cart.

Even with these major differences, it’s clear many people love both systems. Scouring the forums and reviews will reveal that business owners love both systems because of the advantages they provide.

Why Either System Works for Beginners

The key to the debate between OS Commerce vs. Zen Cart is the open source aspect to each system. This makes both systems free to download and provides a support community of other users to make it easier to use either system. Beginners looking to get their store up and running for the smallest investment possible can take advantage of Zen Cart or OS Commerce for their shopping cart needs.

OSCommerce-shopping-cartAnother reason these two systems work great for beginners, they both use PHP and MySQL. Most users will have the capability to use both of these from any standard shared or VPS hosting account. This makes it easy to integrate either system into your website and provide your customers with a great way to purchase your products.

Choosing Between OS Commerce and Zen Cart

Since both systems use a similar type of code, it can be very difficult to choose between the two. The one thing that might make it easier is the template system used by Zen Cart. This can make it a little easier for the beginner. With the advanced options from Zen Cart, many users will be able to do more with their store. The customizations found from Zen Cart are above and beyond what OS Commerce currently offers.

You can include many payment types and you get plenty of other options including the ability to use categories, category images, product images, product attributes, multiple currencies and more. Both systems provide you with a ton of flexibility, but Zen Cart seems to be a little bit easier to work with for beginners and provides additional options for advanced users.

verdict-decision-ecommerceThe Verdict Between OS Commerce vs. Zen Cart

Sometimes it can be difficult to make the right decision for your ecommerce store. However, when looking at OS Commerce vs. Zen Cart, it’s a matter of your own personal preference and skill level. Both systems are free to download, so you may want to try them both out before choosing the right one for you. Zen Cart may provide a few additional features, but if you don’t need these features OS Commerce is just as good, if not better.

These are the two top choices for beginners, but if you plan to use a web development team for your store, you may need to consult with your developer before making the choice. Since they are both very similar, your developer’s opinion matters. You want to make sure they are comfortable with the system you choose and if they prefer OS commerce over Zen Cart or the other way around, the decision is clear.

No matter which system you choose between OS Commerce vs. Zen Cart, you’ll be able to get your products online fast and easy.

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