AbanteCart provides a wealth of e-commerce features without any limitations. Install an e-commerce module on one page or convert your entire site into a shop. It’s up to you.
You’re only limited by your imagination since the builder offers full customization options and the ability to upgrade your site with extensions available from the AbanteCart marketplace.
We understand that the open-source world isn’t for everyone. If you’re new to e-commerce you may find it easier to start with a turnkey commercial solution like Shopify.
But if you anticipate needing to scale up quickly, this builder should be on your list of contenders.
- The Basics of AbanteCart
- Detailed Tools and Affordability
- AbanteCart Specialties: API Access, Security, and Freedom
- A Forum With Strong Community Bonds
- Is AbanteCart Easy To Use?
- Is AbanteCart a Good Choice for Your Business?
The Basics of AbanteCart
AbanteCart is a self-hosted, open-source platform for starting your own store. You don’t have to pay for the e-commerce software, and you can download it directly. Its interface is somewhat similar to WordPress or Magento.
AbanteCart offers some suggestions for hosting companies, but it’s best to do your own research to find the right host for your brand.
The main selling point behind a self-hosted platform like AbanteCart is that you can start selling on any existing website. So, you don’t have to create a completely new site to add online store functionality.
For example, if you already have a business presence or a blog, simply download and install AbanteCart to expand your site into an e-commerce store.
What Are The Disadvantages of AbanteCart?
The disadvantage of this type of solution is that there is often a limit on how much you can customize visually. AbanteCart does a great job of balancing the benefits and the drawbacks.
The online store and shopping cart software is the main package you’re downloading. It supports the selling of digital and physical products, along with any other vertical you might be interested in.
As with all open source software, there are several advantages. For example, you own everything on your website and you’re not stuck paying a monthly fee to a company like Shopify or Bigcommerce. But on the other hand, there’s more of a learning curve.
Regardless, the enterprise-grade AbanteCart system has the features needed for small and large stores. So, scaling up isn’t a problem, and it allows for more flexibility in your design process.
Detailed Tools and Affordability
As mentioned before, AbanteCart is open-source. This means that you can go to the website and download it free of charge. That doesn’t mean you might not end up spending money in the process, though. For example, you’re most likely going to spend money on hosting. There are free hosts out there, but they’re not recommended for an ecommerce store.
Not All Extensions Are Free
In addition, some AbanteCart extensions are not free. You might end up paying for an accounting extension, an AbanteCart theme, or payment integrator. It all depends on your needs and what you intend to do with your store.
The pricing seems a bit inconsistent, but you’ll find that similar extensions typically base their pricing off the competition.
Most Popular Features
So, is there anything else that might cost you? Since AbanteCart is open source you have customization freedom. You may find you require the help of a developer or designer. Other than that, a domain is the only other expense.
As for the features, let’s explore what AbanteCart has to offer:
- Access to a full marketplace with themes and extensions
- Responsive templates for customers to buy products through mobile devices
- Unlimited everything. This includes products, categories, orders, and images
- Run an unlimited number of stores from one dashboard
- Sell both digital and physical products
- Allow for customer wish lists and product reviews
- A discount coupon system where customers input a code and see a discount in the shopping cart
- SMS notifications
- A full email marketing system for building a list and sending out emails
- Multiple checkout options, such as a guest checkout for those who don’t want to input all their personal information.
- Support for dozens of reputable payment gateways
- Multilingual tools and unlimited currencies
- Built-in SEO
- SSL compatibility, unique access tokens, and various other security tools
- Customizable storefront menu
- Customizable layout for pages, products, categories, and more
As you can see, this is an extremely flexible platform. This is only a small taste of the features you can find in the AbanteCart platform. That said, it’s a nice preview of what AbanteCart can do. This may be intimidating to some. However, many webmasters simply skip over the features they don’t plan on using, knowing that it’s always good to have features built-in for future use.
AbanteCart integrates with a range of other software platforms including social media, SEO tools, Google Market, and many others. The integration with email tools are particularly important so you can send follow up emails, suggest similar products, or send cart abandonment reminders.
Can You Integrate Your CRM Tool?
Currently, there does not seem to be integration with any CRM software, which does seem to be a missed opportunity. Unfortunately, drawbacks like this are part of the package for open source software. There is a chance someone will build in this feature later.
An area where AbanteCart really shines is when it comes to multiple languages. English, Spanish, Russian, and Italian languages come core as both storefront and admin languages. Dozens of other languages can be added using free extensions. There is tons of support in the community for installation and launching as well.
A major benefit of open source software is that if someone wants something bad enough, they will build it! AbanteCart allows your store to accept a wide range of payments in the core code, including
- Nearly all types of PayPal
- Authorize.Net (AIM)
- Bank Transfer
- Cheque / Money Order
- Cash On Delivery
- Skrill, Paymate
- SagePay Direct
- SagePay (US)
- 2Checkout WorldPay
AbanteCart Extras: Themes, Extensions, and More
The AbanteCart website doesn’t seem to upsell customers on much. You could technically download AbanteCart and never hear from them again.
However, the marketplace is a true helper when it comes to expanding your store without creating your own custom plugins or extensions. For example, you could install a theme extension with no coding knowledge at all.
The extension categories include the following:
- Design and themes
- Payment and shipping
AbanteCart also partners with several hosting companies. The company doesn’t try to push you into a deal with any of the partners, but AbanteCart does have a page with links to all of its partners. Each of them is reputable and affordable, but your own research should carry more weight than the recommendations provided.
AbanteCart Specialties: API Access, Security, and Freedom
Standing out in the e-commerce world takes quite a bit of effort. AbanteCart does a fairly good job of appealing to all developers, as long as those developers are willing to take the time to learn a new program. It’s similar to WordPress in this way, so you at least get a user-friendly interface and plenty of documentation online.
Benefits of Open Source
A big reason developers go with AbanteCart is because of the open source nature. You own your entire website and you’re not stuck with any monthly payments. In addition, this allows you to open up the source files and customize whatever you want. There’s the option to include a plugin, or you can tap into the API to generate a unique module for your website.
The e-commerce industry is rapidly evolving and growing, and for your site to be successful, you need a platform that is continuously updated. AbanteCart is often updated, and they will remind you to install updates when they come out.
However, they aren’t always perfect out of the gate and I don’t recommend installing them on a live site (which you shouldn’t do anyway). Issues like this are to be expected from an open source software, though.
It’s also rather secure, since the software is built following PCI guidelines, and the shopping cart tools are made to protect customer information. Not to mention, you can get an SSL certificate to strengthen your protection.
Simple, Easy to Use Platform
AbanteCart provides a clean and enjoyable coding environment for developers. That’s not to say that non-coders can’t enjoy it as well.
In fact, AbanteCart offers a suitable learning infrastructure since the coding structure isn’t intimidating. Overall, AbanteCart has something for everyone, and you’re not locked into a monthly or yearly contract. In addition, the customer support seems rather impressive as well. We’ll outline that below.
A Forum With Strong Community Bonds
The AbanteCart customer support team appears to be focused on the online forums. Therefore, your best bet for finding support is by searching through the main AbanteCart forum. You can check to see if your problem has been discussed already or create a new thread. Professional, personalized support is provided, but you typically have to pay a fee for this access.
Other than that, a full user’s manual is listed on the primary website, and you have the option to reach out through Facebook or other social media networks. Some support outlets that are unavailable include live chat and phone support. The only way to connect through more direct routes — like email — is through paying for the service.
Overall, AbanteCart seems as rich and helpful as you can expect from an open source system. There’s a vibrant community around it, so plenty of people are talking about it, and the moderators appear to be knowledgeable, too.
Is AbanteCart Easy To Use?
You don’t need an advanced degree in computer science to install and launch your online store with AbanteCart. One of the beautiful things about this software is that it can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Want to install with just a few clicks? You can do that. Want to fiddle with all the features and customize the program to meet your very specific needs? You can do that, too.
If you are not tech savvy at all, you may struggle a bit with some of the more detailed features. But, with a bit of patience and some reading in the owners manual or in forums, most newbies are capable of launching an online business using AbanteCart.
Is AbanteCart a Good Choice for Your Business?
Your decision will ultimately come down to your needs. AbanteCart is a solid choice for those who are comfortable with a self-hosted, open-source e-commerce solution. More experienced developers who would like to take advantage of full file and API access can also benefit, as well as those who have the budget to pay for a designer.
It’s also a good choice if you want access to a huge extension library, or if you prefer troubleshooting on your own via documentation, forums, and blog posts.
On the flipside, AbanteCart might not work for you if you’re more interested in a “pre-packaged” solution like Shopify or BigCommerce. These have the advantages of easier interfaces and building options, but they cost you a monthly fee and you don’t technically own everything on your site. It’s also not a good choice for those who don’t want to self-host or handle setup. If you’re looking for more hands-on support, this might not be the right builder for you.
All in all, AbanteCart is an attractive e-commerce solution that provides ultimate freedom for savvy online professionals.