What is osCommerce?
osCommerce is an open source shopping cart and it is, as already mentioned, one of the most popular choices for an ecommerce platform. OsCommerce is modular, which means that once you've downloaded the main package and installed it, you have the basic functionality and then you get the different modules, called addons, to implement the features you need. You just need to pick some cool addons, download them, install them and then you should have the functionality you want.
osCommerce is fully customizable - i.e. if you modify the theme you are using, you can give your osCommerce installation exactly the look and feel you want. If you are a web designer, then it is very easy to change fonts/colors and adding images in order to customize your osCommerce platform into exactly what you want. However, even if you are not a web designer, there are many great free osCommerce themes for you to choose from.
If you've decided to go with osCommerce you need to get hosting supporting the platform. We asked our editors to choose their three favorites in regards to things such as price, features and stability. They are:
InMotion (not included in the launch plan)
7 Great osCommerce Addons
When you start browsing for osCommerce addons, you will quickly become aware of that there are tons of them, created for virtually anything you can think of. While you will hardly need to download and test every single osCommerce addon you can find, there are certainly osCommerce addons, which are a must-have for any osCommerce shopping cart. Here are seven of them:
SEO-friendly URLs are important for the obvious reason that when your URLs are not SEO-friendly, your rating on search engines will be poor, which automatically means that you will be getting less visitors. Less visitors means less sales. If you want help with making your osCommerce URLs SEO-friendly, download and install this osCommerce addon.
The look and feel of your osCommerce shopping cart is of no lesser importance than SEO-friendly URLs. For this reason it pays off to invest some time in creating a really cool osCommerce template. This osCommerce addon will help you do just that - you simply create an HTML page the way you want your osCommerce shopping cart to look, add some placeholders, such as "$cartbox", and then you will have the theme you want.
The Easy Populate & Products Attributes addon is a marvel if you have hundreds and thousands of products to sell. Entering so many products and their attributes manually could take days but thanks to this addon you can populate your osCommerce shopping cart quickly and easily. Basically, the Easy Populate & Products Attributes addon allows you to import your products from a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file and this saves you the hassle of having to enter them manually.
Discounts are one of the best ways to push the sales of a product. This is why you will most certainly appreciate this osCommerce addon. The Discount Coupon Codes addon has many configurable options, so you have a lot of freedom and flexibility in your discount policy.
5. osCommerce PayPal IPN Module v1.0 For 2.2MS2
PayPal is the preferred payment processor and because of this it is mandatory to have a flexible and secure osCommerce addon to handle PayPal payments. This osCommerce addon is exactly what you need for this.
Even the most careful visitor can make mistakes when ordering, or simply decide to add/remove/modify an item in the last minute. This is why your shopping cart must have a functionality, which allows visitors to edit their orders - the Order Editor addon is the perfect solution.
You will have better chances of getting more sales if it is easy for visitors to make a purchase. While there is no doubt that there are many benefits for a user to have an account with your shop, if you allow visitors to shop without an account it will allow you to get more impulsive purchases. If you install this addon, all users, who have an account will still be able to make purchases but now you won't be missing all those people who want to shop but are unwilling to open an account.
osCommerce is a really nice and solid shopping cart. The addons can make it even better, so browse the site and pick up the addons you need and want for your e-commerce website. If you want to make your life even easier, choose osCommerce hosting as well - this will save you a lot of hassle!