OpenCart vs WooCommerce: Which is Better for eCommerce?

OpenCart and WordPress with the pre-installed WooCommerce extension are popular tools for web store development. They have many things in common: open source code, free license and ease of use. There are also numerous differences between the systems. However, both CMS solve the same task – they help launch online sales on the site without a large budget and special skills.

OpenCart – is a system focused on eCommerce only. It offers all the necessary tools for web store management out-of-the-box: catalog, shopping cart, checkout page. WooCommerce – is a custom extension for the WordPress CMS. Yes, it also provides all the necessary functions for selling online. However, it takes more time to set up such a store, mainly because you have to deal with WordPress first. We have tried to find out whether this will pose a problem in our detailed comparison of platforms.

The systems are identical at first glance. On the one hand, this is true – OpenCart and WooCommerce can be used to create similar stores (at least, in terms of functionality). On the other hand, there are many other important factors: ease of use, customization opportunities, prospects for project promotion and scaling.

OpenCart and WordPress + WooCommerce are free tools for web store set up. If you have time, try both engines. You don’t have to complete the project. You can limit yourself to exploring the settings and the control panel as well as adding a couple of products to the catalog. This will help you understand which engine works best for you. Both Opencart and WooCommerce have specific issues, but it’s possible to deal with them.

OpenCart vs WordPress (WooCommerce): General Overview

OpenCart vs WooCommerce: General Overview

OpenCart has distinguished itself as a CMS for online store set up. It does not work for other tasks: all the software functionality is geared towards online sales. In the basic configuration, OpenCart offers everything you need for this: a catalog, a filter system, a shopping cart, integration with payment systems, website promotion and stats collection tools.

OpenCart main page

Founded in 1998, OpenCart remains one of the oldest and the most feature-rich eCommerce systems. The number of projects it powers has exceeded 1,060,248 and it keeps increasing with every passing month. Whether you need a large-scale hypermarket with thousands of products available for sale or a medium store, OpenCart is the right system to use. However, get ready to explore its features/tools and to dive deep into the details to independently launch an eCommerce project here.

WooCommerce has gained worldwide popularity as the most functional and well-known WordPress eCommerce plugin. It can be installed for free from the built-in category of extensions. WooCommerce adds a separate section to the WordPress admin panel that contains tools for web store management.

WooCommerce main page

Created in 2011, the open-source eCommerce WordPress plugin has been used to set up over 5,106,506 digital stores. This number definitely speaks for itself. Such an impressive popularity of the extension is explained by the ease of set up and a large number of related materials: templates and plugins that extend WooCommerce functionality.

OpenCart and WordPress+WooCommerce are both meant for web store creation. The systems cope with the task equally well. OpenCart, however, is a niche software. You cannot create anything, except for an online shop here. WordPress+WooCommerce is much more versatile. A web store can be just a part of a project here, along with a blog, forum and other sections.

OpenCart vs WordPress (WooCommerce): Which One Is Easier to Use?

OpenCart vs WooCommerce: Ease of Use

OpenCart proves to be a more complicated system as compared to WordPress+WooCommerce. If you wish to install a new template, you have to download it first to your computer, then upload it to the server via FTP and only then to select it in the site settings.

When you enable the regular friendly URL function, you have to set up each URL manually. Moreover, if you have several storefront versions (for different languages), then the path for each web page version should be formed separately.

Opencart Dashboard

The process of adding basic modules to the site looks complicated as well. You have to edit the layouts, choosing the positions of blocks with modules in them. This is not difficult, but only after you mix something up several times and learn by heart the sections you need to access. Generally, you have to get used to the OpenCart admin panel – you just won’t be able to access it and immediately proceed to your web store customization.

When it comes to WooCommerce, it is as simple as WordPress. If you have already worked with the most popular CMS, you won’t notice any differences. WooCommerce is installed via the “Plugins” section of the admin panel. Extensions and templates for it are also available in built-in WordPress directories. If you download materials from third-party websites, you won’t encounter any problems as well – plugins and templates are uploaded to the server through the WP admin panel, without any FTP connections.

WooCommerce dashboard

Right after WooCommerce installation, you will see a setup wizard. You don’t have to obligatorily use it – this is just a convenient environment to explore the baseline parameters of the web store performance. The setup wizard shows the pages created on the site: a storefront, a shopping cart, an order, a customer’s personal account. It also offers to set the local store parameters: location, currency, measure units as well as allows to quickly set shipping and tax collection settings and to select the payment system.

Read also: WooCommerce review.

Basic WooCommerce setup takes 5 minutes. You can change the settings any time afterwards. For example, you can set other measurement units or connect additional payment systems. To add product cards, you have to use the same editor you use for blog post publications on WordPress. There are also built-in tools for catalog export/import and a shopping cart here.

OpenCart, in its turn, does not have built-in tools to work with bulk import or export.

Thus, both platforms work well for beginners and business owners, who intend to start a web store without the need to work with code. Mastering WooCommerce, however, will be faster. Almost all the actions are completed in the WordPress admin panel. OpenCart does not set impossible tasks for a user, but it will take much longer to deal with the admin panel, layout set up, adding modules and templates. Such a web store can potentially be more large-scale and complicated.

OpenCart vs WordPress (WooCommerce): Design and Flexibility

OpenCart vs WooCommerce: Design and Flexibility

OpenCart is a solely eCommerce software. Right after the installation, you get a ready-made web store with product samples. What you need is just to fill the catalog with your products.

WooCommerce is also a specialized eCommerce tool, but this is not a complex software, but an addition to the existing one (it works only with WordPress).

Comparison of Main Features

The main OpenCart features are as follows:

  • product filtering system;
  • different online payment and shipping options;
  • purchase tracking system;
  • simple customer registration on a website;
  • personal customer account with information about order/tools management;
  • system of discounts, promotional codes, special offers;
  • product status system: new, bestseller, recommended product etc.;
  • the ability to subscribe to store news about promotions and special offers;
  • integration with popular trading platforms.

Just like OpenCart, WooCommerce offers quite an interesting set of baseline features for online sale:

  • creation of catalogs with any structure of product categories/subcategories;
  • order management;
  • simple customer registration;
  • built-in stats collection tools;
  • set up of payment methods, taxation, shipping based on the customer location;
  • support of different payment options: cash, bank cards, electronic money;
  • built-in marketing tools: discounts, bonuses, special offers, promotional codes, sales, blocks with bestsellers and recommended products;
  • a system for evaluating goods by customers;
  • flexible management of rights of different user groups;
  • integrated setup wizard (for beginners).

It’s almost parity here. Key differences can only be noticed when comparing separate features in detail. They differ in implementation methods and convenience.

Working with Product Catalog (Import/Export)

Opencart Products

OpenCart allows creating complex catalog structures with unlimited product categories. It is possible to quickly create a list of manufacturers (brands), each of which will have their own pages with product description and filter.

The software pays much attention to the catalog complexity: product options, related items, kits (sets), recommendations and ready-made filters for all these characteristics.

Even though, OpenCart was originally created to work with large catalogs, it doesn’t provide product import/export options out-of-the-box. You can add such functionality via paid plugin integration only.

WooCommerce Add Product

WooCommerce offers a complex approach to the process of catalog formation yet it doesn’t have an integrated product filtering option by manufacturers (if needed, it is easily added by using tags and attributes). Import and export options, however, are available here.

Both stores provide an opportunity to sell intangible products, but only WooCommerce can organize the process of trading partner products out-of-the-box. OpenCart requires special modules to do this.

Multilingual and Multi-Storefront Support (Multistores)

OpenCart offers support for all the necessary functions out-of-the-box: several languages, several independent storefronts (multistore) etc.

WordPress works with one interface language and one storefront only by default. You can implement a multilingual web store support here by means of free plugin integration, but you may encounter problems when it comes to supporting multiple storefronts at a time. The thing is that WooCommerce works with one WordPress website only. As to WordPress, you can activate the multi website option. Technically, however, these may be either subdomains or sub catalogs of the main website.

Both systems work great with different currencies.

Integration of Modules and Add-Ons

OpenCart is a modular system. Some modules are built-in, like product carousels, “Bestsellers” and “Newest” product blocks, Google Analytics tool. Other modules require extra installation. This lets you flexibly control the software functionality. It is you, who chooses management tools that will be displayed in the web store admin panel.

It is possible to expand any functionality via module integration: languages, templates, shipping and payment options, reports for the analytics system etc.

WordPress is not a full-fledged CMS, but only an extension for WordPress. This, however, does not prevent the plugin from having its own add-on system. A large number of extensions have been developed for it. They are distributed either through the original WooCommerce marketplace or through the general WordPress plugin catalog (there are over a thousand of compatible add-ons here). You can use them to add, for example, an advanced filtering option, slides, additional tabs with product information, payment systems etc.

Speaking about integrations, both systems have a huge number of extensions and modules in their catalogs. Likewise, it is possible to look for third-party plugins online, if you feel that your web store lacks functionality. There are many external niche platforms, resources, community forums etc., where you can find multiple free and paid extensions.

Mobile Applications

OpenCart doesn’t have any ready-made official mobile apps. However, you can find a large number of connectors online. They are designed to view important events on the web store website and to receive prompt notifications. The connectors are created by third-party developers. There is an important nuance here: such applications gain access to your web store data, which is associated with potential risks.

WooCommerce makes it possible to use official free mobile apps that are specially released for iOS and Android. They target the administrators only. They notably simplify the process of web store management from smartphones. It is also easier to receive prompt notifications about important events (orders, comments, errors etc.). There are separate apps for WordPress and for the Jetpack plugin only, but they don’t include WooCommerce web store management features.

As to the development of branded mobile apps, it is possible for both platforms. There is a ready-made API, but the procedure will be very expensive (even if developers have pre-designed application templates).

Client / CRM Management

Both WooCommerce and OpenCart have all the tools for customer base/order maintenance. This, however, is baseline functionality, with minimal automation elements.

Thus, if you wish to expand your automated client tracking scripts, you will have to connect special modules and integrate external CRM systems. If there are no ready-made modules for the CRM you are interested in, you can always use the API.

It is possible to find ready-made integrations for such popular services as Bitrix24, AmoCRM, RetailCRM, SalesDrive etc. on the web.

There is almost a native solution for WooCommerce. It is provided by the plugin/mobile app developers. The extension is known as Jetpack CRM. It is distributed both on a free and paid basis, has multiple ready-made integrations and works on your server. Correspondingly, it does not have restrictions on the number of users or applications, disk storage space etc.

There is no native CRM module for OpenCart, only third-party solutions are available.

Domain Email

OpenCart can work with SMTP out-of-the-box. Accordingly, it will be easier to set up notifications from your domains here.

WooCommerce allows manually fixing the automated notification templates for customers and web store owners. The same is about connecting external services to conduct marketing mail outs.

By default, WordPress (and therefore WooCommerce) does not know how to work with the SMTP protocol. Therefore, to integrate with mail for a domain, you will need a special plugin or a plugin from one of the mailing systems (letters will be sent not from your server, but from the mail server).

WordPress (and WooCommerce) cannot work with SMTP protocols by default. Thus, you will need a special plugin or an add-on of one of the mailing systems to integrate an email domain (the emails will be sent from the email server not from yours).

When it comes to domain email options, both platforms have ample opportunities for working with domain email and mail outs. It is always worth checking your host capabilities. Bluehost, for example, which is recommended by the WordPress developers, offers a separate corporate email service.

Design Set Up and Customization

OpenCart grants access to the large number of ready-made niche templates. However, the official catalog includes about a few dozens of them. It is very difficult to find quality free themes. The average cost of a premium template constitutes around $40-$80.

OpenCart-template

Installation of OpenCart templates is quite complicated as well. This is due to the software architecture. As far as proper performance of specific template options frequently implies integration of extra features and modules, you need to add them to the list of installed extensions first and then activate and use them for proper display in the client part (on the storefront).

Therefore, many template developers frequently offer to download an archive for a quick start instead of using a simple package of themes. This is basically the software, which comes with all the required modifications and can be installed on hosting to start working with metadata.

The main work on OpenCart design customization is completed in a special editor. This is where you can control the output of blocks (modules) that make up a template. Just hover over a section to see the control tools. This interface, however, is not as convenient as that in the WordPress page builders like Elementor (the most popular representative of visual editors). There are similar page builders for OpenCart, but they are notably more expensive and possess less functionality.

To customize the template design, you will most likely have to edit theme files (using the syntax of the Twig template engine). This can be done through the “Design” section, in which the built-in template editor is available.

WordPress template collection is incredible. There are tens of thousands of them out there. The choice is exhaustive both in the official catalog of the software and on third-party platforms. TemplateMonster and ThemeForest are very popular. There are many free themes in the official catalog, some of them are compatible with WooCommerce.

Special attention should be given to the built-in Gutenberg block editor. It ensures freedom of actions and is easily expandable in terms of the available block set. There is a possibility to add patterns here (different stylized design options for existing blocks).

The stock editor is easily supplemented or replaced by another one. We have already mentioned the best example of a convenient page builder – Elementor. There are also other quality alternatives similar in functionality. Elementor, however, is definitely compatible with WooCommerce. Moreover, there are a lot of specific features that are meant solely for the eCommerce niche only.

WooCommerce design settings are the same as in WordPress. If you want to deeply customize a template, you need to edit its files. Many premium templates, however, come with their own flexible customization system, which allows editing the selected theme with a few simple clicks.

Cool themes for WooCommerce online stores can be found for $40-$65. You can get access to the entire set of premium plugins with a theme.

WooCommerce-template

In terms of design set up and customization, WooCommerce holds the leading position. Both platforms boast multiple templates available in their catalogs and online yet WooCommerce theme selection is more remarkable and versatile. The plugin also offers a simpler design customization approach, offering Gutenber editor and other visual editing plugins. OpenCart is much more complicated in this respect.

OpenCart vs WordPress (WooCommerce): General Pricing Comparison

OpenCart vs WooCommerce:  Pricing Comparison

OpenCart and WordPress + WooCommerce are free web store creation platforms. Mandatory expenses include the cost of hosting and domain only. Let’s estimate the approximate cost of launching an online store on the example of Bluehost – a popular hosting provider, which is recommended by the developers of various CMS, including WordPress.

To set up a small digital store with OpenCart, standard virtual (shared) hosting will be enough. There are four plans here:

OpenCart vs WooCommerce: General Pricing Comparison

  • Basic ($2.95/mo) — 1 website, up to 50 GB disk storage space, unlimited bandwidth, free SSL, special built-in website builder for WordPress (the data is transferred to the software with a few clicks);
  • Plus ($5.45/mo) — unlimited websites, unlimited disk storage space and bandwidth, spam protection;
  • Choice Plus ($5.45/mo) — Plus Plan features + domain protection and extra backup management tools (for 1 year);
  • Pro ($13.95/mo) — Choice Plus Plan features + dedicated IP and increased processor performance. Free backups.

However, if the possibilities of shared hosting become insufficient for you, OpenCart will offer you to switch to renting a VPS server (from $17.60/mo) or a dedicated server (from $74.10/mo).

For WordPress + WooCommerce, Bluehost offers a special set of plans. Its peculiarity is that it provides specialized technical support and a ready-made environment configuration (right after the activation, you get an installed software, a WooCommerce plugin and a compatible template). There are two plans here:

OpenCart vs WooCommerce: General Pricing Comparison

  • Standard ($15.95/mo) — 2 web stores, unlimited disk storage space and traffic, Jetpack Free, pre-installed templates with a storefront, free SSL, domain protection and anti-virus protection (1 year);
  • Premium ($32.95/mo) — unlimited number of web stores, unlimited disk storage space, backup management system, access to premium plugins for WooCommerce as well as to Jetpack Premium subscription features.

In case you realize that Bluehost shared hosting features are not enough for you any longer, the service will offer an opportunity to upgrade to one of the Managed WordPress hosting plans. They assume the possibility to work with one website only. Server resources will be allocated as those in VPS configurations here, but you won’t have to work with any hosting panels. The website management process is notably simplified. The plans are as followed:

OpenCart vs WooCommerce: General Pricing Comparison

  • Build ($9.95/mo) – 20GB of disk storage space, up to 50k visitors/mo, global CDN, free SSL Certificate, anti-virus protection, division into testing and working environment, automated daily backups, domain protection and activated Jetpack Personal subscription;
  • Grow ($14.95/mo) – 40GB of disk storage space, up to 150k visitors/mo, Jetpack Premium subscription. As compared to Build Plan features, special business tools to work with reviews and SEO, special tech support via a ticketing system;
  • Scale ($27/95/mo) – 80GB of disk storage space, up to 500k visitors/mo, Jetpack Professional subscription, unlimited backups, PayPal integration, global CDN without video compression restrictions, ElasticSearch and professional tech support in online chat.
When it tackles the pricing aspect, starting a simple web store on OpenCart and WooCommerce generally requires comparable budget investment. Price distinctions will become noticeable as traffic grows and extra functionality is added. OpenCart will cost more in terms of hosting and premium add-ons/templates. WooCommece unveils more possibilities to go without extra expenses, using free plugins. Additionally, it is possible to find special hosting rates for WordPress (in the Managed hosting format).

OpenCart vs WordPress (WooCommerce): Which One Is the Best for SEO?

OpenCart vs WooCommerce: SEO

The possibilities for website search engine optimization mainly depend on what kind of OpenCart version you use. Some versions offer out-of-the-box support for correct generation of friendly URLs (without simultaneous creation of similar product pages – with and without category indication in the URL). Some software versions, however, require integration of a premium SEO Pro plugin for this purpose. Other useful OpenCart opportunities for effective search engine optimization include:

  • SSL certificate support for traffic encryption;
  • GZIP compression to increase web page load speed;
  • title, description and key meta-tags (title, description, keywords).

These are the basic SEO capabilities of OpenCart. You can add extra tools using paid and free modules. To start with, you can go for free options that let you configure the layout, use the advanced web page descriptions, manage the site map and extensively edit metadata.

WordPress offers poor SEO features out-of-the-box. The situation changes for the better after the installation of one of the complex WP plugins – All in one SEO Pack or Yoast SEO. They have similar capabilities:

  • filling out meta-tags for each page, category, product card;
  • snippet preview – having filled out meta tags, you instantly see the way the product card is displayed in the search results;
  • built-in editor of robots.txt and .htaccess files;
  • adding canonical URLs for web pages;
  • site map management.

Yoast SEO also has a paid version that allows setting redirects from one page to another as well as offers training materials and tech support for customers.

Which Software Works Best for a Web Store – OpenCart or WordPress (WooCommerce)?

OpenCart vs WooCommerce: eCommerce

If you already have a WordPress-powered website, then the choice is obvious – install the WooCommerce plugin and simply fill the catalog with products. The process of web store management will be as simple as managing blog posts. At the same time, all attributes of a contemporary eCommerce website will be available here: shopping cart, search filter, product cards, order placement page, online payment and various shipping methods.

If you start a web store from scratch, then the choice does not seem so obvious. There is no big difference, when the number of products in a catalog is limited. The platforms offer comparable conditions in terms of functionality. If some features are not enough,you can add them via code/module integration. In both cases, the most useful extensions are provided on a paid basis. Thus, there is no great difference from the point of view of budget investment as well.

In case you intend to set up a store with over 10,000-50,000 products, then using OpenCart is a more effective solution. It works better with filters and other eCommerce features. WooCommerce may pose performance problems. They are eliminated by optimization: CDN connection, caching set up and compression. The features imply the use of extra paid services or special hosting.

Key Differences Between OpenCart and WordPress (WooCommerce)

OpenCartWordPress (WooCommerce)
Ease of Use:You don’t need special skills to work with OpenCart. However, some time is required to get used to the admin panel structure and website set up process.WooCommerce plugin is installed from the built-in catalog available in the WordPress admin panel. It takes a few minutes only. No special knowledge is required to manage a web store here.
Functionality:The CMS allows starting any kind of digital store with a large product catalog, filter system, online payments and various shipping options. There are built-in and extra plugins that extend OpenCart functionality.WoroCommerce makes it possible to launch professional eCommerce projects with multiple niche tools and features. If needed, you can integrate special plugins here that also extend the software performance.
Design: There are free and paid templates for OpenCart. They can be downloaded from the official catalog or from third-party websites.The number of free and premium themes for WordPress is really impressive. It is possible to use WordPress templates, but it is still better to choose specialized themes for WooCommerce. This is the best way to avoid compatibility issues.
eCommerce:OpenCart is a specialized open-source eCommerce CMS. You can create any type of a web store with it, irrespective of its size, complexity and niche focus.WordPress is a universal CMS, but to start a digital store with it, you have to install WooCommerce plugin. It comes with all the must-have eCommerce tools available in the admin panel.
Blogging:The CMS does not have a built-in blogging engine. Extra plugin integration may be required to connect and manage a blog here.Even though, WooCommerce is a plugin, it can be compatible with some other WordPress plugins, including those for blog creation. This is not to mention the fact that the CMS initially had a strong blogging focus. This allows connecting a blog to your web store, if required.
Small Business:OpenCart can be used for small business website creation granted that the project has an eCommerce focus. It does not work for any other website types.WordPress can be used to set up and customize all types of web projects, including small business websites. As a WP plugin, WooCommerce is used solely for digital store creation.
Pricing:OpenCart is a free CMS. There are multiple free eCommerce tools and features you can use to set up digital stores with the system. However, get ready to pay for extra modules, templates and hosting. The best host for OpenCart websites is Bluehost. The cost of plans starts at $2.95/mo here.WordPress is a completely free CMS. WooCommerce plugin is free as well. To expand its functionality, you may need to invest in extra plugins and templates. Hosting is another mandatory part of the budget. The best solution to go for is Bluehost. The cost of subscriptions starts at $2.95/mo.
SEO:OpenCart provides excellent opportunities for search engine optimization. It is possible to fill out meta tags for web pages and for the entire website, create friendly URLs, connect SSL Certificates etc. To get extra tools for quality web store optimization, you can use SEO modules.WooCommerce has the same opportunities for search engine optimization as WordPress. They are quite poor. However, you can integrate free SEO plugins (like All In One Seo Pack or Yoast SEO) to enhance the positions of your online store in the search engines.
Customer Support:OpenCart has numerous resources on its official website. Community forum is available here as well. If needed, you can get in touch with the support team via email or by filling out an online form.No official customer support, numerous niche forums, extensive and informative user community available worldwide.

Comparison Conclusion: Which One Is Better?

WooCommerce – is a simpler, more convenient and feature-rich platform for web store development. The universal environment of the software attracts user attention as well. WooCommerce is just a plugin for WordPress, which can be generally used to create different types of web projects. A digital store can be a part of a more large-scale project powered by the CMS. For example, you can start a popular blog and sell products with WooCommerce on a separate page.

OpenCart – is a solely eCommerce software. It can also be used to post news about promotions, but it still perfectly copes with the only one task – selling products online. The only advantage of OpenCart over WordPress is better optimization. The software creates less server load, even if there are several thousand products in the catalog. However, you can achieve a similar result on WordPress + WooCommerce using extra optimization. If the catalog includes less than 3000 products, everything will work smoothly anyway.

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