I always get the same question from many entrepreneurs and business owners alike – what is the best e-commerce system or platform out there? I always tell them that it depends on what they want their online store to accomplish.
There are many open source e-commerce platforms such as XCart, OS Commerce, Magento, and others. Some are easy to set up, and others offer more sophisticated tools to better equip an e-commerce store to operate like a fully functional bricks and mortar store, including POS integration.
To choose the best, I would assume they want a platform that is both up to the latest trends and robust. If the budget persists, the best e-commerce system available is Magento. The Magento Community Edition E-Commerce platform gives business owners all the tools that are required for a high end and robust online store. It comes equipt with CRM based reporting, built in newsletter, blog, and more. It also allows users to cross and upsell products and manage inventory with both basic and supply chain like attributes.
The system is alot bigger and powerful than your basic OS Commerce or Cart e-commerce solutions. Installing it on basic hosting accounts like Godaddy and others will make your system run slow. It is strongly advised to invest in a more powerful Linux based hosting server like Mediatemple, 1and1, and others.
Selecting the best e-commerce system really comes down to the amount of products you are trying to sell, and the method of management that you want. If you are a small business and will basically manage the store yourself, or with a helper or two, a fast and efficient system like WordPress or X-Cart will suffice. If you want to build a fluid store and see yourself adding in alot of inventory, and really want to implement at CRM system to your customers, Magento is the way to go right now!
If you do invest in Magento, you must know that customization and upkeep is more expensive. Yes, it is a Linux and PHP system, but the programming and databases are more complex and knowledge of JS, the Magento code, and cross platform development is needed. It offers all that you need, but make sure you have the team that is ready to handle it on an ongoing basis!