OpenCart VS Shopify

A comparison between one of eCommerce’s oldest platform providers with one of the largest in use today.

In our last article, we weighed the pros and cons of OpenCart, one of the oldest systems still being used in eCommerce, and discussed how it stacked up against BigCommerce, one of eCommerce’s fastest-growing platforms. We concluded that OpenCart’s free-use open source software is a good beginning point for small businesses that are looking to break into eCommerce, but the platform’s technical limitations would ultimately hold stores back from achieving any considerable growth or success.

Now, let’s see how OpenCart does against the current eCommerce market share leader, Shopify.

9 Key Features That Every eCommerce Platform Should Have

All eCommerce platforms, regardless of the software, essentially serve the same purposes. They allow websites to market and sell products or services over the Internet, they process customer payments, manage inventory and shipping logistics, and provide customer service. How these individual platforms go about doing these tasks can be vastly different from one another so when it comes time to choose an eCommerce platform for your online store, there are 9 criteria that need to be considered:

  • Ease of Use
  • Simple Checkout with Choice of Payment Options
  • Analytics
  • SEO-Friendly
  • Mobile-Friendly
  • Maintenance and Security
  • Apps, Integrations
  • User Support
  • Scalability

Ease of Use

The best eCommerce platforms should have easy-to-use interfaces with intuitive navigation. This software will be used by a myriad of people from all different walks of life and different levels of technical aptitude. Core features should be logically arranged and straightforward in their operation.

Simple Checkout with Choice of Payment Options

Most abandoned carts happen during the checkout process. More often than not, it’s because the shopper feels uncomfortable with either the checkout process itself, the choices of/lack of available payment options, or both. Platforms that narrow down the checkout process to a single step are more successful at capturing sales than ones with complex, multi-step checkouts. Plus, offering customers multiple payment processing options (IE: PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, etc.) can give them the confidence they need to finalize the sale on your website.


Effective eCommerce platforms have some kind of analytics and reporting feature. Otherwise, how else would you be able to track the important metrics that determine the overall performance of your website? Even the most basic features such as average order values and conversion rates will help you learn about your customers, what they buy and what they want. Some eCommerce platforms offer more in-depth reporting than others, but any top eCommerce platform should be able to accept an additional analytics plug-in or integration to improve functionality.


Every public website, whether it sells over the Internet or doesn’t, wants that prime real estate at or near the top of any search engine results page in order to be seen. For those websites that do sell over the Internet, they not only have to compete with other retailers, they also have to compete with billions of other websites with direct and indirect content. The leading eCommerce platforms have features that allow users to make adjustments for SEO, as well as being able to use your own domain and add shareable content to help generate organic traffic.


According to Statista, more than half of all Internet traffic comes from mobile devices. Mobile traffic has been on an upward trend since 2015 and the percentage is expected to climb even higher as mobile technology continues to advance, such as the case in mobile device processors and the global rollout of 5G. eCommerce platforms need to not only be compatible with, but also optimize responsive web design in order to accommodate the growing number of mobile-only shoppers.

Maintenance and Security

Cyber crime affects all kinds of websites (see Yahoo and Volusion). It’s so rampant that for every 11 seconds of every day, there’s a website being attacked and Americans lose $15 billion a year because of it. eCommerce websites are particularly vulnerable as they’re regularly taking in customer payments and storing payment information within their databases, making them prime targets for hackers. Any viable eCommerce platform has to have the necessary security protocols in place such as SSL certification and protection against phishing, Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDOS), and malware.

Apps and Integrations

Some eCommerce platforms provide users with a comprehensive array of features to help them better operate and maintain their business functions for maximum efficiency. Most, however, only come pre-packaged with the minimal requirements to get stores up and running as quickly and as easily as possible. Adding apps, integrations, and plug-ins can extend the functionality of your chosen eCommerce platform or even restore lost features that weren’t originally available. The best eCommerce platforms for online business will have expansive libraries of official apps and integrations from major developers and companies, as well as an immense selection of those offered by third-party. These additional add-ons must be able to seamlessly integrate with the platform and the tools that your administrative users will commonly employ including (but not limited to) inventory management, marketing, and accounting.

User Support

It doesn’t matter which eCommerce platform it is; there will come a time when any user of any system will need technical support. The most popular eCommerce platform providers have readily available channels for tech and user support (IE: phone, EMail, live chat, resource libraries, etc.), as well as an active online community of fellow users and developers who are familiar with the software. Even if one doesn’t have a centralized support system offered by the development company themselves, users should still be able to easily access knowledge bases or community forums. A telltale sign of an inadequate eCommerce platform is the scarcity of a corresponding online user and development community.


The eCommerce platform is the central core of your online business and your success depends on it. The best eCommerce platforms allow their users to grow their businesses and can be scaled to accommodate the increase in activity. A poor eCommerce platform for business will be difficult to scale and, as such, restrict or even eliminate the possibility of growing your business.

OpenCart VS Shopify:  Head-to-Head

We’ve compiled user reviews from TrustRadius and Merchant Maverick, as well as posted reviews by SimilarTech and FinancesOnline when assembling this comparison list. Advantages are highlighted in GREEN while disadvantages are highlighted in RED.


OpenCart's admin backend 2022
  • Ease of Use: OpenCart is free-use, free-to-download open source software. Users report that its interface is intuitive and easy to navigate though to take full advantage of the open source model, one must have highly advanced coding knowledge.
  • Simple Checkout with Choice of Payment Options: OpenCart uses a complex multi-stage checkout process which users have found to be frustrating. The process itself is also reported to be considerably slower than its top competitors. On the other hand, it can be bypassed by code modification or through an integration.
  • Analytics: OpenCart comes with a very basic set of analytics features, but can be easily expanded upon through 3rd-party integrations.
  • SEO-Friendly: For some strange reason, OpenCart disables SEO by default although it can be reenabled by the user. OpenCart is also known to create canonization problems for SEO by creating duplicate content in page building.
  • Mobile-Friendly: OpenCart themselves proudly advertise that their platform is mobile-friendly even back as far as 2012 and 2013, before the major push for mobile devices and the shift towards mobile-dominant web traffic.
  • Maintenance and Security: OpenCart is open source software. Hosting and maintenance and security updates are all the responsibility of the user.
  • Apps, Integrations: OpenCart’s official marketplace features over 13,000 available integrations. That does not include the add-ons that are available from 3rd-party developers and independent programmers. OpenCart supports integrations with such leading business systems as MYOB AccountRight, PayPal, FedEx, UPS,, MailChimp, and QuickBooks. However, it should be noted that OpenCart is somewhat prone to incompatibility issues when stacking multiple 3rd-party apps and integrations on top of each other.
  • User Support: Unlike other open source eCommerce software providers, OpenCart does have a user support system in place but their effectiveness in solving issues depends on how modified or unmodified the core system is. The bulk of OpenCart’s user base is in the UK, European Union, China, and Australia. American OpenCart users state that trying to find developers domestically can be a bit of a challenge as it is not widely-used in the United States.
  • Scalability: The biggest and most glaring complaint from OpenCart users is the platform’s inability to scale. At best, OpenCart is best suited for small businesses or businesses with no desire to expand beyond a local, concentrated customer base.


Shopify's admin backend 2022
  • Ease of Use: Shopify is extremely easy to use and set up; one of the most popular selling points is its easy incorporation of templates, of which there are over 100 free to download on Shopify’s own themes store. Advanced design in Shopify does require advanced coding and programming knowledge, but the platform also allows for quick basic customizations without needing an extensive background in Shopify development. 
  • Simple Checkout with Choice of Payment Options: The standard checkout for Shopify is still multi-step (a 3-step process), but is less complex than OpenCart’s. Like OpenCart, this can be cut down to a 1-step checkout through code manipulation and adding an integration.
  • Analytics: Even Shopify Basic includes an essential set of analytics and reporting tools. Stepping up to a higher tier will unlock more analytics functions. Plus, like OpenCart, these can be expanded upon by way of adding apps.
  • SEO-Friendly: Shopify is a very SEO-friendly eCommerce platform. Shopify’s SEO is all on-page, allowing for easy edits and adjustments. Shopify also automatically organizes content, which makes websites powered by Shopify attractive to web crawlers and Google, and lets users create 301 redirects and canonical tags. The lowest tier versions of Shopify even include basic SEO tools.
  • Mobile-Friendly: Shopify is mobile-friendly and champions the use of responsive web design for their websites; every Shopify theme in their themes store includes a free mobile commerce checkout. In addition to general web-access, Shopify also has dedicated Apple and Android apps to let users operate their stores through mobile devices.
  • Maintenance and Security: Because Shopify is a paid subscription Software as a  Service (SaaS) platform, Shopify handles security, hosting, and Shopify offers 256-bit SSL encryption and Level 1 PCI Compliant hosting as standard.
  • Apps, Integrations: Shopify’s app store houses over 6,000 publicly available apps to download. This does not include the myriad of apps created by 3rd-party developers. Shopify supports integrations with such leading business systems as MailChimp, QuickBooks, KISSmetrics, itDuzzit, Facebook, Google, etc. Basic Shopify stores can be heavily dependent on apps and integrations that reinstate/restore features that might be only available on higher tier subscriptions. As such, the possibility of website performance loss and compatibility issues is increased. The higher the subscription level, the less dependent your website will be on 3rd party apps due to the additional features that are available with each succeeding tier.
  • User Support: Shopify is the most popular and widely-used eCommerce platform in the United States. As a SaaS platform, Shopify provides users with support channels such as EMail, phone, and online chat along with community forums, video tutorials, webinars, and an accessible knowledgebase. Additionally, there are countless avenues for user support on the Internet through forums and social media as well as a bustling developer community including officially-partnered designers (of which Diztinct is proud to be a member).
  • Scalability: Shopify offers a number of subscription plans based on your company’s performance and revenue. There are 3 tiers from which to choose: The Basic plan ($29 a month) is best for new businesses and small businesses. The Standard Shopify plan ($79 a month) is appropriate for growing businesses and the Advanced plan ($299 a month) is for enterprise level companies that require in-depth reporting and functions. All Shopify subscriptions help promote company growth through the design of the software itself; SEO-friendly, mobile-friendly, with easy integration of apps and plugins.

Our Pick: Shopify

While OpenCart offers users with unlimited customization capabilities through its open source platform model, it still suffers from major handicaps that can be detrimental to the performance and growth of online businesses. Plus, as it isn’t as commonly-used in the United States as it is in other parts of the world, users may encounter a significant degree of difficulty in trying to find domestic assistance in regards to technical support and developers. Shopify, on the other hand, didn’t become the largest eCommerce platform on the market for no good reason: the system is designed to promote business growth through ease of use, ease of integration, and a full global online community of fellow Shopify users and developers. Shopify’s SaaS platform takes care of important security and maintenance functions and relieves their users of additional responsibilities. Any business would benefit by choosing to build their retail websites under the Shopify platform as each subscription plan promotes growth and sales success; users can choose the appropriate subscription plan and as they scale their businesses, they can opt to upgrade to a higher, more capable plan that will enhance their growth and earnings potentials.

OpenCart to Shopify Migration

For OpenCart stores who have reached the inevitable dead end with the platform, migrating to Shopify can be the most effective way to achieve continued growth and success in ways that OpenCart simply cannot do.

At Diztinct, we are eCommerce experts with over 15 years of experience in custom website design, development, and engineering as well as website migration services. We have the technical know-how and expertise to protect your website’s critical internal information, SEO standings, and keyword rankings. Plus, we’re proud to have the distinct honor of being official design partners with Shopify. When you hire Diztinct to handle your website migration project, you have the support of an officially certified expert. We address every aspect of the website migration process:

  • Basic data transfer
  • Product and inventory management
  • Page titles and metadata migration
  • SEO data retention and optimization
  • Link preservation
  • Category page migration
  • Policy and other informational page transfer
  • Redirects

We have the tools, the talent, and the support of Shopify to ensure that all of your website’s important data remains protected and your current SEO rankings are maintained, if not improved, during the process.

Are you ready to give your website and your business the Diztinct advantage over the competition? If so, let’s talk. Get in touch with us today and get ready to make your website work for you.

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