When I think about opensource ecommerce, WooCommerce and Magento come to mind. That said, quite a few other opensource solutions exist, and they don't always get their due. Take nopCommerce for example. It's a free, intuitive, clean option with less confusing elements as Magento. This nopCommerce review takes a look at the intricacies of the whole program, including the standout features and whatever unique attributes it has for ecommerce professionals.
I'll talk about whether or not nopCommerce is right for you depending on your overall needs as a business.
Standout nopCommerce Features
In this nopCommerce review we're looking into the standout features. I already assume users can upload products and connect to payment gateways. These are all standard on ecommerce platforms. So what makes nopCommerce special?
It Support Serious Projects Without the High Cost
I've worked with Magento and WooCommerce before. Looking at the the sleek nopCommerce design interface and the low cost of many apps in the marketplace, it looks like nopCommece might even be cheaper than those other solutions. There's no doubt that it beats out Shopify and Bigcommerce in terms of price, and it's bound to help you handle a huge ecommerce store.
The Perfect Environment for Developers
As the only featured shopping cart in ASP.NET MVC framework, it's hard to argue against how useful this platform is for developers. It's flexible, easy to integrate with and secure during the development process.
You often have to pay for a completely separate app or ecommerce platform for multi-vendor support. But it's all built in for no extra charge. If you've ever dreamed of running a site like eBay or Amazon or Etsy, this is your chance.
Incredible Marketing Features
From rewards points systems to related products and affiliate programs to product reviews and comparisons, the marketing tools from nopCommerce rival anything you can find through the competition. The best part is that they're easy to understand and manage from one place.
nopCommerce Pricing and Installation
As you may have already surmised, nopCommerce doesn't cost a dime. As with most other opensource projects, it's listed online for free, with contributors from all over the world building and tweaking it along the way. But if you go to the Downloads page you'll notice a few links for installation.
For example, you have the option to download and install nopCommerce manually, with source code or a web-based packaging with minimal source code. The developers have also included a script for upgrading any past installations to a new version.
If all of this is too confusing or intimidating, nopCommerce provides a beautiful Microsoft Web Platform Installer. This is a completely visual installation, without the need to mess with any source code or files.
The folks at nopCommerce also manage a Github repository. This repository lets you follow along with nopCommerce development in real time. Therefore, you don't have to wait around for the official releases, since all of the new builds, patches and updates are shown right on Github. So, if you've been waiting for a feature or bug patch, you at least have the chance of getting it a little earlier than everyone else.
Do You Have to Pay For Anything?
Considering the complexity of open source software the average user is going to have to get premium support (pricing covered in the support area below) or maybe hire a developer to make some tweaks on their website.
There's also a marketplace with apps that complete all sorts of functions. For example, you can find some payment gateway apps for free or even some beautiful themes for $20 to $100. The pricing completely depends on the type of app, but the higher end looks to be around $250 (and that's for packages filled with multiple themes and plugins).
nopCommerce Customer Support
Since nopCommerce is open source it doesn't necessarily have a dedicated support team to work with. However, open source software typically has even more support considering there are developers and users all over the world talking on forums, sharing blog posts and even answering emails.
I wouldn't ever expect the nopCommerce community to be as expansive as WooCommerce or Magento, but it doesn't look too bad.
Like stated, the direct support is minimal. So you shouldn't expect to speak with someone on the phone. You also can't get someone through email unless you signup for premium support (covered below).
The documentation is the best place to start, since it has both user and developer guides. The community forums have thousands of posts talking about things like upgrades, development, bug reports and more. You can decide to open up your own little thread to discuss a topic or browse through to see if people are talking about a question you have.
The nopCommerce community also offers a blog, webinars, community events that might end up coming to your area, and some programs for the best developers and power users.
Finally, premium support is sold at a price, which is an incredible option considering sometimes you want to get a person through email to solve your problems immediately.
As for the premium support pricing, here are the plans:
- Three month support period – Pay a $299 one-time fee, making it around $100 per month.
- One year support period – Pay a $799 one-time fee, making it around $67 per month.
Overall, this isn't the most affordable support you're going to receive. That said, you're not paying for much in the first place, so the $67 per month might be worth it. Sometimes a direct ticketing system is much better than a bunch of random users trying to solve problems through a forum.
That said, it's pretty clear that nopCommerce is trying to push people to use the online resources. If you want premium support you simply have to pay a high price for it.
I figured the support would include a live chat or maybe a phone line but that doesn't seem to be the case. Because of this, I'd argue that the premium support pricing isn't reasonable at all.
The average user should skip it when getting started, but if you find that you're having problems with the online documentation, it might be a good time to upgrade to premium support.
Should You Consider nopCommerce?
Developers should definitely look into nopCommerce because of its flexibility. Complete beginners should most likely stick with the packaged solutions like Shopify and Volusion. They just seem to work better for beginners. However, people who need more customization options can definitely try out nopCommerce. After all, it's completely free and you may love it. Also, check the annual nopCommerce conference from New York devoted to all aspects of nopCommerce.
Thanks for reading this nopCommerce review and let us know if you've had a chance to test out the software.