Local Marketing

Open an online store: The top 10 free eCommerce platforms

How to open an online store? Which eCommerce platform to choose?

Opening an online store is an essential activity for any company. The incessant growth of the e-commerce phenomenon, in fact, knows no limits with a net + 15% in the last two years.

The data recorded by the latest Nielsen research leaves no room for doubt: consumers prefer online purchases. 95% of users active on the web have made at least one online purchase. The eCommerce market playing in billions. What are the reasons for this development? Simple: ultra-fast shipments, 24-hour purchase options and excellent payment authentication systems. Opening an online store is therefore an inevitable step for any successful business.

But how can you open an online store? There are two different methods that require different financial resources …

Create an eCommerce customized with a programmer or a web agency

It is possible to create a totally personalized e-commerce site designed specifically for your business, but it is also very expensive. To process an eCommerce of this type it is, in fact, necessary to contact a computer programmer or a web-agency. These professionals will be able to create tailor-made web pages that perfectly meet the merchant’s requests. A job of this type undoubtedly requires a considerable economic expenditure. Established company brands or already well-positioned online businesses can afford to choose this type of route without any problem. Smaller and more novice companies with the online world need other cheaper solutions.

Choose an open source online platform

For small businesses or companies still outside the eCommerce world, the ideal solution to open an online store is simple: use an open source platform. In fact, there are many online platforms with free registration used to create online stores. These softwares allow you to design eCommerce immediately from operational in a simple and intuitive way, without the need to contact third parties. The unique feature of open source platforms is the public use license. In other words, anyone who downloads this software will have the opportunity to view and modify the source code in a free and simplified way. The open source platform allows the merchant to independently create his eCommerce, most of the time with the help of a qualified support team 24/7.

Open an online store: The 10 best open source eCommerce platforms

Open source platforms are the cheapest and easiest way to start an eCommerce store, let’s find out which are the top 10 online:

1) WooCommerce – WordPress

WooCommerce is one of the most used eCommerce platforms and is a plug-in of the well-known WordPress CMS. To install WooCommerce it will therefore be necessary to use WordPress and use the appropriate free plug-in. This platform is great for small / medium sized businesses. The use is intuitive and simple: in about half a day it is possible to learn to use the software in a discreet and complete way. WooCommerce is also excellent for SEO purposes. With the “Yoast” feature of WordPress, it will be possible to optimize all the contents of your site for search engines. The extreme simplicity of WooCommerce could constitute a limit: the graphics and templates are not very elaborate. A unique feature of this software is the ability to have a blog integrated into your online store. WooCommerce is able to easily connect to all payment gateways. PayPal is provided as the primary payment method while all payments are accepted e-wallets such as Amazon Pay or Apple Pay. A final winning feature of this platform is the enormous availability of the support team. Opening an online store with WooCommerce is therefore recommended for novice businesses with e-commerce that are already using WordPress.

2) Shopify

Shopify is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the market: there are currently around 200,000 online stores that use Shopify. This platform is simple and intuitive, excellent for novice stores. Shopify provides many free templates with excellent graphics and a wide range of customization options. Shopify technical assistance is among the most prepared in the sector and is available 24 hours a day with email and direct chat. The platform has several plug-ins – free or paid – that can optimize your online store. Through plug-ins it is possible to create a dual language store, optimize the quality of the images and still manage the contents from a SEO perspective. Another particularly positive feature of Shopify concerns the level of security. All check-out and payment procedures are previously set according to high standards of online security. Shopify is undoubtedly one of the most recommended solutions for every reality that faces the ecommerce world.

3) Magento

Magento is the most complete open source platform available online, but not the simplest. A detailed and sometimes complex software, able to professionally manage any eCommerce. If Shopify or WooCommerce are limited platforms, but easy to use, Magento is the exact opposite. This platform works like a CMS and has countless advanced features. Magento is perfectly integrated with eBay and PayPal and has its own multilingual system, perfect for franchised stores. Magento is a mobile friendly platform able to manage catalog, warehouse and sales process in an optimal way also from mobile. With Magento you can manage orders quickly and easily, create automated reports, use effective marketing tools and share promotions and coupons with your customers. This is a platform suitable for already “expert” web and eCommerce personalities: its use is not immediate and often may require the help of an IT expert. Magento is therefore recommended for established companies that want to optimize their online store with professional features. For small shops that interact for the first time with the online world, simpler and more intuitive platforms are recommended.

4) Squarespace

Squarespace is a simple and intuitive open source platform, known for its potential in terms of design. This is an economic software in terms of hosting, but it has less functionality than the already mentioned Shopify and Magento. Just like the other platforms, Squarespace is also mobile friendly and responsive. The strong point of this eCommerce software is undoubtedly the graphics. The editing and design potential of Squarespace is not matched by any other open source resource. For online stores that rely heavily on visual impression, this platform is the right one! If the priorities are functionality and practicality, Shopify or WooCommerce are the best choices.

5) PrestaShop

PrestaShop is the young French platform that is developing a significant increase in membership in the last two years. There are about 150,000 online stores that currently use this software. Using PrestaShop is intuitive and simple compared to the more complex Magento with a user-friendly interface. With this software it will be possible to automate the management of your online store, customize it and connect it to the best Market Place. Among the most developed features of PrestaShop are sales management, recovery of abandoned carts and automatic newsletter planning. Another positive feature of PrestaShop is the presence of countless diametrically different themes and templates. Even the installation of plug-ins is simple and intuitive with PrestaShop. This platform, like Shopify, can be the ideal solution for small companies wishing to open an online store. For more established and established entities, more elaborate platforms such as Magento are recommended.

6) BigCommerce

BigCommerce is another popular platform for selling online. This program is very similar to Shopify for functionality and plug-ins, although many users prefer the latter in terms of performance. Over 50 thousand online stores are active on BigCommerce. The platform offers over 65 different payment methods and more than 100 different graphic templates. BigCommerce is mobile friendly, but, unlike other software such as Magento, it is not multilingual. This solution is also ideal for small and novice realities with the eCommerce world.

7) OpenCart

OpenCart is one of the youngest open source platforms in the online market. Opening an online store with OpenCart is quick and easy. Just like Shopify and BigCommerce, also OpenCart is particularly intuitive with regards to use. The features are not different from those of other platforms: list of unlimited products, enabling different payment gateways and SEO optimization for search engines. The OpenCart templates are simple and functional and there will be no need for special additional plug-ins to create a unique site. Even OpenCart, like most open source platforms, provides a single interface to manage multiple online stores. Using this platform users will be able to enable comments. OpenCart,

8) Volusion

Volusion is a platform of American origin and is one of the best software on the market to open an online store. Firstly it is simple to use, has an excellent security system and is perfectly integrated with the best Amazon and eBay Market Place. Volusion is mobile friendly and has more than 80 completely free templates to create a unique and innovative online store. This platform is perfectly connected to the Facebook social network. Another particularly positive feature of this platform is customer service: telephone and online assistance available 24 hours a day. Volusion is a platform suitable both for novice realities and for already established online stores.

9) osCommerce

Opening an online store with osCommerce is simple: it is famous for its ease of use and is one of the first eCommerce solutions launched on the market. This online cart is very similar to WordPress. It is intuitive and has multiple plug-ins to improve its performance. Unfortunately osCommerce is not updated enough to keep up with the times and this makes its features often less effective than those of other platforms. The most well-known Shopify and PrestaShop are therefore preferred to osCommerce, similar in setting, but more modern in terms of functionality. However, this software remains a valid open source solution for start-ups and small businesses.

10) JigoShop

JigoShop is a platform very similar to WooCommerce in that it is aimed at sites that use WordPress. Just like WooCommerce it is simple to install and completely free. JigoShop is also very easy to use and allows you to manage every aspect of the eCommerce website from a single dashboard. JigoShop offers the customer the possibility to test all the free templates in demo version, to check which one is actually the best for their products. Unlike Shopify or WooCommerce, however, this platform does not have a customer service via chat or by phone. All information requested by customers can only be found within the forum or community. JigoShop and WooCommerce are an excellent ecommerce solution for WordPress users.

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Local SEO

SEO strategy for eCommerce: The optimization of the online store is not a one-shot job!

Developing an SEO strategy for eCommerce is an activity that must be carefully planned and must necessarily include medium and long-term steps.

Those who deluded themselves to obtain the desired results in the face of a single one-time investment ended up irremediably to be disappointed, spending time and resources for a short-term result that had no other effect than a meteor effect: a moment of light and then oblivion.

SEO activities need time to be effective, gradually gain thickness and are constantly monitored and re-calibrated. For this reason, a good strategy must provide that every single aspect is durable and, of course, sustainable.

Who proposes hit and run SEO activities promising exceptional results quickly and easily to the customer, is doing it in bad faith, relying only on mechanisms that seem to work immediately leading to a rapid increase in traffic to the site, but that are not able to guarantee a good performance in the medium and long term (and often not even in the short term).

What distinguishes the winning eCommerce sites from their competitors lies in the fact that the former have chosen a quality SEO consultant and have allocated a budget to ensure adequate follow-up even after the initial work has been completed.

SEO strategy for eCommerce

SEO strategy for eCommerce: Old habits die hard

If a client does not have the financial resources for a long-term consultancy contract, or a support strategy to continue to follow the work once the initial project has been completed, it will be back to the starting point in no time. Plus the lightened bank account.

It is fundamental not to underestimate the importance of the continuity of an SEO activity, rather it is one of the five principles on which an effective SEO strategy for eCommerce is based.

  • Use research data and analysis tools to target the strategy;
  • Make sure your site is structured with the customer in mind and has the right architecture in terms of navigation and information;
  • Create content based on search data and intent behind searches;
  • Solve critical problems at the root;
  • Continue to adopt the best SEO practices.

This last point must be understood as “continue always”. It is a constant process and in constant evolution: to interrupt it is practically to cancel it.

How does your data-driven eCommerce strategy evolve?

We assume that you have applied all the above principles in your SEO strategy for eCommerce, and that you are therefore seeing an increase in your site’s traffic. Interrupting the SEO activity would disregard new growth opportunities and you would lose the chance to correct the shot.

Continuing to monitor your analysis and research data and using them to re-calibrate your SEO strategy, you would instead get several advantages, such as …

  • Quickly discover which of the keywords you’ve used seem to attract more of your target to your online store;
  • Identify new search terms that can attract new customers and retain existing ones, to optimize your site and further improve your business.
  • Understanding how and how much the contents of your site respond to the needs, research and problems of your customers;
  • You can determine if the content and architecture of your site are able to lead users to finalize purchases;
  • You can isolate critical issues in good time and correct them promptly before they can damage your business or brand.

By analyzing KPIs you can find out how to further improve your SEO strategy, increasing placements, traffic and sales.

SEO strategy for eCommerce

Monitoring helps improve your SEO strategy for eCommerce

If your strategy works, you will have new users who visit your site coming from the organic results of search engines, and then you will have the opportunity to study their behavior and learn more about your target.

If, for example, you realize that many people are looking for a “top-loading washing machine”, it means that they have space problems. So, you will need to make sure that the site’s contents and product sheets are able to clearly communicate that top-loading washers allow you to save space without compromising washing efficiency. In this way, by analyzing their search terms, you have already answered any questions that customers may ask based on their primary need, namely the management of restricted spaces.

A person can think of a lot of things before deciding to make a purchase. If you can identify and isolate the sources of these doubts, study the behavior of users and analyze the individual problems that arise, you will have more chances to finalize a sale.

The SEO helps to integrate the work of different people

If you are the owner of an eCommerce and your business also includes physical points of sale, you will have to deal with different aspects managed both internally and externally by people who perform different tasks related to different disciplines. To achieve the best results, all these activities must be integrated with each other.

This means a great deal of interaction and comparison between people and company departments, which in many situations does not happen. This is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to keep the first results obtained. Having an SEO consultant to manage follow-up activities will help you keep people and teams working in a coordinated way.

Rome was not built in a day. The same applies to an effective SEO strategy. The best results are achieved when your SEO tactics are well structured, strategic and always with an eye to the long term. So, if you are willing to invest in SEO, prepare to allocate an adequate budget for a continuous contract (stipulate annual consultations is the norm in this area). It will allow you to safeguard your initial investment, making it profitable over time.

Local Marketing


In any business it is important to understand which channel of communication with the client is better fulfilled. Your advertisements or emails can be viewed, clicked on the link, but still not buy. In order not to waste money, you need to be able to count the effectiveness of each channel and choose the performance metrics that brings more money and regular customers.


It is important to understand what audience, on what platforms and with what offer (offer) to launch advertising. Performance Metrics will help assess how correctly these success components were selected, here you will find 11 performance metrics but we have considered KPI …


Often, using this metric determines the effectiveness of a particular contextual advertising or a whole campaign. You can calculate how effectively a particular banner worked using a simple formula.


By placing ads on any resource, you do not follow the frequency of impressions. You important number of people who go to the site. Therefore, choosing a site, watch the conditions: pay for the action, and not for the empty flickering of your banner. You can calculate how much you pay for each person’s entry into the site using CPC.




With this indicator, you can assess the involvement of your subscribers. It is also a good indicator of the topics of your letters: after all, the letter depends on the topic whether the letter will open or not. OR can be calculated using the formula.


The coefficient of clickability in a letter helps to determine whether your letter is correctly formed: is the information easy to read, how well is it displayed, and most importantly, how much your “call to action” – the words on the transition button are interesting to subscribers.


Moving to a website from a letter is not a conversion to a purchase. To find out how many of your subscribers are buying during the transition, add utm tags to links and track performance in Google Analytics.



In order not to wake up in a cold sweat from the horror that the advertising budget is spent, and the proceeds are too low, you need to know the cost of the order. It is necessary to keep track of this metric constantly and twist every day. It is considered easy: we divide the money spent on advertising on the total number of orders.


In Russia, the abbreviation DDR is often used – the share of advertising expenses. This indicator is considered the division of money spent on money earned. It seems so simple, yes? Then let’s take it faster, because it is with this formula that you can clearly understand whether you are moving in the right direction of earning or roll down the slope, merging the budget.


Indicator of the solvency of your audience. Illustrates the ratio of the cost of all completed orders to their quantity. With it, you can predict the store’s revenue (knowing the traffic to the site and the conversion to the purchase), as well as edit the marketing strategy in time. For example, to offer related products to the order, add a button on the site “learn about the receipt of goods”, set up an abandoned basket, etc.



It is no secret that the client is not eternal, there is a certain life cycle. And your task is to create conditions in which the client can make purchases from you as long as possible. Knowing the value of this indicator, you can tighten the strategy of attracting customers, improve the retention strategy depending on the communication channels, improve the triggers, etc.


Calculate how much each new customer costs. Here and advertising, and communication online, and, perhaps, calls the call center. It is important to keep a balance: laying down the budget for attraction is not to be greedy, but not to throw money around. To understand that you are doing everything right, compare the CAC and LTV indicators: the cost of attracting a new client should be significantly lower than the income from it for the entire time.


Retaining a customer is much cheaper than attracting a new one. Therefore, Retention Rate is one of the key metrics for an online store. Working on loyalty, helping the client, rather than no matter what, you will not only save money on marketing and advertising, but also launch word of mouth – recommendations that will bring you more income without your direct cash costs.

Checklist for a multi-marketer or what if analytics is not your forte?

  1. Most of the indicators for evaluating email marketing will be considered by the platform for you. Now almost all services clearly show the percentage of discoveries, clicks, and non-existent addresses.
  2. Use pass-through analytics software. Analytics program will collect data from your CRM, website, advertising sites and will give the result. For you only making strategic decisions.
  3. Set your goals in Google Analytics, and better give the setting to the experts – once a well-tuned analyst will bring many right decisions in the future.
  4. IMPORTANT! No one likes to sit and count, analyze, compare and analyze again (well, almost no one). But without analytics, NO marketing activity is possible. Test, look at the results and improve your performance every day!

We cannot improve all your indicators, but with these performance metrics you will be able to achieve great results with the help of your advertising and email marketing.