If you want a shed in your backyard, you can either buy a pre-built shed, hire a contractor, or purchase plans and materials and build it yourself.

When it comes to ecommerce, using an open-source ecommerce platform is a bit like building your own shed. The platform, ​​like the plans and materials for the shed, provides everything you need to develop an ecommerce website while affording the freedom to customize it according to your needs. The downside is that working with open-source software requires special skills and time.

If you have the technical knowledge—or if you hire a web developer—an open-source ecommerce platform can allow you to build a user-friendly, scalable online store exactly as you envision it.

What is open-source ecommerce?

Open-source ecommerce refers to any ecommerce software that provides users full access to its original source code, allowing them to modify and customize the ecommerce platform to meet your needs, and gives them control over your online store’s design and functionality. Open-source software is typically free to download and use.

How does open-source ecommerce work?

The first step to using an open-source ecommerce solution is downloading the source code. Most open-source platform providers offer direct download links on their websites, although some may require you to sign up for a free membership before downloading. Many platforms are available on an online open-source software library, like SourceForge.

Using the code to set up an online store is where it gets more complicated. Although some providers allow users with limited technical knowledge to set up a storefront, taking full advantage of an open-source solution requires web development expertise. Many businesses hire web developers for help.

Most open-source ecommerce platforms offer apps and extensions that provide additional functionality and customization options. You might add an inventory management application to your site. Users can purchase…

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