Top 5 Content Management Systems for eCommerce

By / Dec 21, 2009 / Tools

eCommerce continues to steadily evolve as it’s become one of the most reliable, and preferable ways to purchase goods. Its very existence has allowed countless number of businesses reach new heights, and take advantage of endless possibilities. As new standards, ideas, and applications for eCommerce role out, the strength of your online presence must support these new trends.

Having a powerful and dependable Content Management System is becoming less of an option and more of a need. Below we’ve outlined 5 of the best Content Management Systems to fuel your eCommerce. Please note that CMS’s like WordPress and Joomla, although not entirely focused on eCommerce, they offer effective plugins to take care of your basic and intermediate level needs.

Business Catalyst


Business Catalyst allows you to build typical eCommerce web sites that range from small to medium sizes. Once you sign up you’ll get a hosted eCommerce application that provides you with a dedicated content management system (CMS) that has the power to jumpstart blogs, shopping carts, and forums. You’ll also be greeted with easy to understand analytics that let you track web site visits and customer activity. The user interface is simple and concise. Business Catalyst not only helps build your online store, but it manages it as well. BC is a full-featured hosted application that offers great support over the phone, email, or live chat.



Magento is classified as an open source eCommerce platform that eases the flow between design and online sales. Magento is one of the fastest growing eCommerce solutions in the market, and with their long list of features it’s not hard to see why. Magento likes to out-smart other content management systems for eCommerce by providing excellent options to grow your site. Magento is a very flexible eCommerce platform that lets you Manage multiple websites, integrate Google Website Optimizer and over 50 payment gateways.



PrestaShop is a free, open source eCommerce platform that delivers a wide variety of features such as the full control of your inventory, orders, shipping and tracking, allowing you to manage your business in real-time. This eCommerce platform has a WYSIWYG editing tool for your products and the managing of images. Your online store can be customized at any time, accept PayPal payments, and manage customer based subscriptions. PrestaShop can send payments directly to your bank account, or your PayPal account.



Open cart’s admin area has a well designed user interface that simplifies the process of tweaking your site. When you first begin using this eCommerce platform you’re given a customizable layout that gives your products an adequate amount of “breathing room”. OpenCart lets you take full control of your shipping features and the ability to take coupons. You can use coupon codes for your existing customers as incentives. Open Cart is ideal for small to medium sized businesses that are looking for flexibility and the power of useful tools at their fingertips.



osCSS is simply a php eCommerce shopping application that’s built on the oscommerce GPL code. It’s available for a free download and distribution. This version complies with current web standards by using XHTML 1.1 as the mark-up language. You’ll have full take on how to display your products and the way they will be shipped. Although osCSS isn’t the most popular or powerful eCommerce CMS, it sure does get the job done.

If we’ve missed any important ones, please share it with us!

  • Jamie Stephens

    Great list. PrestaShop was new to me. I’ll have to check it out.

    Shopify is another great one that sticks out from the crowd.

    • Mark Host

      Shopify should be on this list if only for honorable mentions. I have used all of these, and Shopify, in my opinion, is better than all of them, except GoodBerry (Business Catalyst).

      Also, it’s getting better every day because its a software-as-a-service application. So none of the normal costs of maintenance and security are ever a problem.

    • Robert Edwards

      Could agree more than you two…I love Shopify!

  • Vijay

    Exactly what I was searching for.
    Thanks for this list. I am familiar with others osCss and opencart are new to me.
    Thanks again.

  • Igor

    Great article, thank you very much.
    I’ve tried most of these services and all looks really fine.

    However I should admin that sometimes it just doesn’t include form builder stuff which allows me to create online orders, contact forms etc. So I’m extending my sites with it allows to create and integrate both form and database widgets to my e-commerce sites.
    Combining scalability of and CMS for e-commerce makes my business grow!

    Hope you will find it useful too.


  • Alex

    Magento is the real deal for me, I think. Looking forward to test all of it.

  • vlado

    hm – what about OS Commerce – I think this is the most widely used e-commerce over the net. I don;t say that it is good, but it is definitely most popular.
    Or Zen Cart?

  • Digital-Landscape

    I think it’s worth mentioning Joomla with Virtuemart. Primarily suitable for small businesses it’s flexible and powerful (and Free!). Yes, Joomla is a bit idiosincratic to use, but most people can ‘get it’ if given the right training.

    Magento is excellent, I’ve been in volved with a couple of Magento projects in the last 6 months and it is excellent. Strong stable and easy to use. It’s well worth noting though, that because of the datbase model used in Magento (part of what gives it it’s immense flexibility) the server requirements are quite high, particularly for busy shops, don’t expect to be able to host it on a $20 per month budget server if you have anything else on there. However that’s a minor inconvenience. It would definately get my vonte for someone wanting a the highest quality eCommerce solution out-of-the-box.

    Thanks for the list, I’ll be checking out the others when I have time 😀

  • baas

    Since Joomla is the favorite CMS for mane webdesigners, maybe Virtuemart should also be mentioned.

  • coja1

    I agree that OS Commerce should be on the list purely for the fact that it is’s so popular.

    I’ve built a project on Magento recently — while it’s certainly feature rich the learning curve for devs is STEEEEP, and there is a serious lack of developer documentation.

  • Michele Mader

    What do you think about Zen Cart?

  • Hidayat Sagita

    aggree with vlado, OS Commerce is well known tough.

  • Lou

    My clients have been happy with OS Commerce. The wpoc version integrates easily with WordPress blogs.

    • Web Design by St. Louis

      Agreed! wp.OSC is tops in my book. It’s like combining cake and ice-cream!! There are so many developers contributing to both projects, it’s silly not to integrate the two!

  • magento expert

    well we are biased towards magento because we think its great, but we have tried quite a few other systems to come to that decision.

    the admin system is very comprehensive and easy to use, quick to integrate to various payment systems, paypal and google checkout although we usually combine it with wordpress to allow the client easier management of the content on generic pages.

  • kevin

    There’s also the ecommerce plugin for wordpress by instinct:

  • Jason

    I have used both ASPDotNetStoreFront and Volusion and found them to be very successful. To be fair, each is a storefront that includes a CMS, so the eCommerce bit is baked in.

  • Francisco Carle

    Nice selection, but I think you missed a great ecommerce cms: Bootic.
    It has a lot of style, is clean and it’s easy to admin and to use. You have to check it out on your list!

  • commenter

    Why is it so hard to find good lists without all open source options? Someone needs to make a list of some pro paid CMS’s.

  • Simpixelated

    While highlighting some lesser-known options is great, it would be nice if these kind of articles went a lot more in depth with each cart, so that readers might be able to make a more educated choice for the next project. I would love to see feature-comparisons, major drawbacks, or just anything more than a one paragraph description that might as well have been copied from the product’s website.

  • Claude LaBadie

    Thank you for this great short, to the point and well written analysis. In all a valuable source of information.
    We use many open source solutions regularly but rarely take the time to write such useful rundown.

  • Michael Guthrie

    I use currently joomla with virtuemart and tis pretty gogood
    But I plan to migrate over to using Magento bridged with Joomla.
    Some folks swear by drupal and ubercart.

  • Andy

    Glad to see that someone mentioned Joomla with Virtuemart.

    Never heard of bootic or prestashop so I’m off to give them a look.


  • Brad

    Will definitely come in handy soon for our project. Good list.

  • Giggity

    @Jason we are currently using Volusion now and are really happy with it overall and its CMS. We didn’t have the programming resources, both human and financial, to mess with an open source solution. After going with Volusion we’ve been able to really control our site design and use all the functionality.

  • Magento Manchester

    I’d have to give my vote to Magento, it really is a beautiful platform. The learning curve (as already noted) can be very steep, but I think that’s just because we’ve been used to systems built ‘the wrong way’ whereas Magento really takes the whole design, layout, content separation thing to a new level. I’ve started wondering how we ever got by without it!

  • level09

    how about ubercart ?? the most powerful integrated shopping card based on Drupal ?

  • Destiny Islands

    Great article here! I’ve submitted it to Blogger Den so hopefully it’ll hit the front page

  • Joel Reyes

    Thank you all for your comments! We appreciate your thoughts and reflections on the this CMS subject :)

  • Alex Flueras

    Great article, thanks for sharing.

  • Xcellence IT


    I think OS Commerce, and Zen Cart should be on list..

    Nop Commerce is a also a great option built on….

    But, i want to try my hands either on opencart or Prestashop? Both look promising.

    Xcellence IT

  • Noel Wiggins

    I have recently designed an Ecommerce site with pinnacle cart, a randomly selected Ecommerce solution. and at first it looked like a great solution for a fully customized site, but boy does it have problems, it can’t be upgraded without rebuilding every single aspect of the design and doesn’t seem to be able to add google analytics tracking code?…

    I can’t wait to look into these alternatives.

    Thanks and Regards

    Noel for
    a graphic design studio

  • Lyle

    Drupal and Ubercat should have been in here. Much better open source option than any other I have seen.

  • Ryan Dempsey

    I use Drupal/Ubercart and am very happy with it. It does have a learning curve but it’s worth it.

  • Website Design Sydney

    Over at Managing eCommerce there is a great series titled Why Magento? which gives great, real world and … Judging Five Overall Best Content Management Systems ..

  • Adam Hermsdorfer

    Interesting selections. There are so many carts out there. I noticed that Business Catalyst doesn’t have pricing on their site. My guess is that its a premium subscription. I’ve really liked shopify and volusion for the past couple of carts that we’ve whipped out.

  • Website Design Worthing

    Many thanks for taking the time to put this together Joel. Have tried Zencart, OS Commerce, dabbled in Magento (which is awesome), my current ecommerce of choice is Ubercart. Heard some great things about Business Catalyst (was previously called GoodBarry before it was bought out by Adobe). PrestaShop is a new one for me.


  • DJ Lesniak

    As a Business Catalyst partner, I’m not sure about the live chat and phone support mention but they do have email support. It’s not instant but they usually have a fix the first or second time. It really is a self-sustaining solution in that you need to be able to support yourself. They have a good community of developers and with the Adobe buyout I’m sure we’ll see some really good updates in the future.

    It’s a solid platform built on .NET and is really geared toward the web designer that has a good understanding of HTML/CSS and Javascript.

    The e-commerce module isn’t as powerful as Magento or other dedicated e-commerce solutions but it does work well enough to sell products and does a great job of keeping the website branding in tact.

    You do need to sign up through a partner so if anyone is interested, give me a shout and I’ll set you up with a demo.

  • Lucian

    Cs-carr as a paid solution should be mentioned. Great when you deal with multilanguage websites and almost that powerful like magento but easier to skin.

  • Dalesh Kowlesar

    Great list but I must that I am unjustly inclined to continuosly insist that Open Cart stands as the best Open Source E-Commerce shopping cart that exists.

    Hats off to Daniel Kerr

  • ijeweb

    Magento no doubt is the most advanced ecommerce system. It’s not right for all projects but it’s certainly the best for larger ones.

  • Ted Thompson

    Zen Cart and Prestashop for me.

  • seo copywriter

    for me I think Magento is the best, thanks

  • Alex Cooper

    I really need to give magento a try.

  • Colin Hall

    I’ve used Open Cart and it’s not bad at all. I was sceptical to begin with, but no nasty shocks, everything was smooth and the interface is very intuitive.

  • Liverpool Builders

    you have a great review here, but I think magento is the best of the best, thanks for your nice post

  • Copy Writing

    For me Magento is the best also.

  • balendra

    osCommerce – this one of the oldest free e-commerce apps that offer several marketing options and supports most of the payment system. This multilingual and SEO friendly app works with PHP/MySQL.

  • Fabrizio Van Marciano

    Awesome recommendations, I’ve used Magento before but not tried the others. Thanks for sharing.

  • Barbara

    Business Catalyst DOES NOT offer phone support. That’s one of their biggest problems, considering the amount of bugs they have. I have been a reseller since before it was acquired by Adobe and now I am moving my clients to different platforms. They surely have a good product but it’s far from being what they say it is.

    Customer support is just awful. Since there is no phone support you have to wait 2 – 3 days for someone to reply to a ticket.

  • Joris

    Since I had my share of problems with several of the packages mentioned above (and others as well), I try do to better with our own hosted solution I’m a web designer myself and know what the pitfalls are when implementing e-commerce for clients. Magento is cool, but overly complex for my clients to use. Give SolidShops a try if you’re looking for a hosted solution and if you want 100% customizable templates. My two cents.

  • Dan

    Great article, thank you for your labor.

    It would be interesting to consider separately the Open Source and SaaS solutions.

    We are using for all of our projects Zend Framework – free and reliable (framework from Zend company, creator of the PHP language).

    Best ecommerce CMS (based on ZF):
    Magento ( – leading CMS, very powerful, but very slowly and heavy demands for servers
    Digitalus CMS ( – not bad CMS
    Cute CMS ( – light and flexible platform that can be adapted to a wide range of sites

  • Zeidan

    Great listing of e-commerce solutions. It is nice to find a list like this so I do not have to go working for some of these for e-commerce web sites.

  • FreeFuelForever

    I have set up sites with prestashop, ubercart and drupal commerce. Anyone wanting to use a shop out of the box, know nothing, customize nothing, Prestashop installed on your web with Fantastico or some other installer allows you to just start posting your shop up online. Simple, and little learning. Prestashop offers a fixed set of features, and if those are enough for you, great.

    Now, drupal (with ubercart or commerce) is a completely different animal from these other carts that are just scripts. You have to go and do some programming to add a new feature if Prestashop does not have it. In drupal you can just install another module, if someone has been kind enough to make what you want.

    This is a fundamental difference: Prestashop can set up in minutes by someone who knows nothing, but the features are fixed unless you are a programmer. Drupal could set up in minutes as well, but it took a few hours for me to learn how the content management system works. Once you learn how to use drupal, though, you can program nothing and know nothing, yet add any number of features to your site using modules that thousands of other people wrote.

    Ubercart has more modules available than commerce and is easier to use. Drupal Commerce allows more flexibility,which is lost on most of us.

  • Alexandre

    I’m using IQ Cart and i’m suprised because its fully integrated with Joomla and i can use all PrestaShop’s features into my joomla website. IQ Cart is a PrestaShop component for Joomla CMS.
    I found the component here .
    Also a demo exists here .


  • Steve

    We use Teleriks Sitefinity ( almost exclusively.

    Its a fantastic user friendly drag\drop CMS (killer looking UI too)…and backed by crazy great support.

    My problem with the OpenSource options is support. You have to post to tons of forums and pray for a response…plop 1 ticket to telerik and 24 hours later you have a quality response and a code snippet :)

  • Dan

    We have integrated an ecommerce system into – check it out, you can create nested categories and products with multiple descriptions and its super-quick to create.

  • Razibul Hassan

    Drupal e-commerce, Virtue Mart, Zen cart are three other really powerful eCommerce platform that store owner should consider.

  • York Graphic Designers

    Just about to take the plunge with Open Cart as Magento looks a bit complex for what I need. Only thing is that on most of these CMS’s they don’t seem to have an of the box blog capability?

  • anunay

    I think thwe open cart is the best of alll