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Battle of the eCommerce giants: osCommerce vs Shopify

16 April 2013 by Tom Bond

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osCommerce, BigCommerce, Shopify, Highwire, Izzonet, Volusion, Magento; the list of eCommerce platforms seems to grow every day. We know that the grass always looks greener, and that familiarity can breed contempt when it comes to your eCommerce system -  but sometimes the grass really is greener and you could find that you’re missing out on much more suitable fit for your online business.

In this blog we’ll be taking a closer look at how two eCommerce heavyweights square up. Please welcome to the ring, a seasoned veteran, in the red corner: osCommerce. And, in the blue corner; a slightly younger, more flexible contender: it’s Shopify.


Speed & Agility

When it comes to speed, Shopify leaves osCommerce for dust. From the perspective of your customers, a Shopify site is far faster to navigate and getting through that all-too-crucial checkout phase is much, much speedier. This can make all the difference. A slow and laborious checkout process can send customers who are ripe for the converting scurrying offsite at the last moment.

Behind the scenes, both platforms are actually pretty evenly matched when it comes to speed. However, by using smart Shopify APIs and apps, you can build a much more advanced, powerful and tailored system much more quickly. OsCommerce is great for quick modifications and adaptations, but for fast, effective growth, Shopify has the edge.


Apps, apps, apps, apps! That perfect, intelligent app or API can make all the difference to your online business. You’ll find that neither osCommerce nor Shopify are short on add-ons.

At TheGenieLab, our ecommerce website development team build custom APIs to connect your eCommerce platform of choice with any number of other systems; from accountancy systems to order fulfilment companies. This is possible whether you’re using Shopify or osCommerce (or indeed any other open source platform). Just as an example, we’ve built a great osCommerce mobile version and we’re official Shopify developers too – so the only limit is (cheesily enough) your imagination and the skills at your disposal. An even match here then.


Call us shallow, but believe that a range of slick, UX-focussed themes is important. People don’t judge books by covers anymore, but they certainly judge online shops by their theme. If you haven’t had a custom theme developed, there are always free and premium themes to work with. Shopify’s themes are, admittedly, a little more stylish. That’s 2-0 to Shopify.

Special Skills

•    Free to download
•    Choose any host you like
•    Manage customers and orders from the dashboard

•    Free 14 day trial
•    All-inclusive hosting and security from Shopify
•    Integrated marketing functionality
•    Customer and order management from the admin dashboard
•    Mobile-ready
•    Full CMS, including blog functionality


Shopify includes hosting and all of the extras you could possibly need to get up and running. Pricing can range between $29 – $179 per month depending on your needs.

osCommerce, meanwhile, isn’t a hosted solution, so you’ll need to pay for the components individually. Hosting can range between approximately £3.50 – £150 depending on your requirements.  SSL certificates, payment methods, a private IP address, a custom design, bespoke development – these will all add to the overall cost of your osCommerce site, but the final price tag will vary widely depending on what you need. osCommerce itself though, is free.

So, who wins?

Well, that really depends on you and your online business. We think that Shopify is a fresher, flasher and more flexible option. However, osCommerce is a dependable, tried and tested oldtimer amongst contemporary platforms. We’re always happy to talk about the best options for your online business and our eCommerce consultancy services will help you to get your eCommerce site off on the very best foot. We can even help you to make a transition from one platform to another easy should you decide a change is needed. To learn more, tweet us @thegenielab or send us a note today.

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