E-Commerce is a very familiar term today especially with the dotcom revolution, there has been spur of such services. To put it simply, Ecommerce or Ebusiness is all about buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Unlike traditional business, Ebusiness doesn’t require any physical interaction between the parties. Everything is online and thus far more convenient for the businesses to function. A number of examples can be shown here for the companies who have successfully ventured themselves into this ebusiness and have been making huge profits with the same. Two such most renowned companies are Amazon and Ebay.

Amazon is America’s largest online retailer, with nearly three times the Internet sales revenue of the runner up, Staples, Inc., as of January 2010 whereas eBay Inc. is an American Internet company that manages eBay.com, an online auction and shopping website in which people and businesses buy and sell a broad variety of goods and services worldwide. Founded in 1995, eBay is one of the notable success stories of the dot-com bubble; it is now a multi-billion dollar business with operations localized in over thirty countries.

A lot can be learned from these two companies and a feeling comes naturally if they can why can’t we. Believe me, it is far more easier than it was three to five years back. Yes, it just takes some products, a site to list and sell your products followed with some effective marketing strategies to make it work finally. Its not just me infact anyone can have its online business running in minutes provided you have a list of your products and services to offer to your customers. Once you have them, the next big thing comes in choosing a platform where you can list and sell your products online. This really can be a major hurdle as it is never easy to decide over right online selling system. The internet today is full of online automated shopping systems where you just have to install a piece of code and voila your ebusiness is ready to kick off !!

Well, having gone through quite a number of automated shopping systems in the past, I have to say here that I was disappointed with most of them until I came across OSCommerce, which I believe is one of the finest systems to take care of your online business. With OSCommerce, you can have your ebusiness or ecommerce site running in minutes.

To tell you more, OSCommerce is a full fledged web based application for creating ecommerce sites. It is a complete online store management software program that runs on a server having PHP and MySql installed. OSCommerce is available as free software under the GNU General Public License. Yes, you can download it completely free of cost. There’s nothing to pay for but only to gain in terms of financial benefits. OSCommerce allows you to create a feature packed robust online shopping system and a thing which makes it stand out from the crowd is its flexibility which can be seen with the customization it offers.

Some of the most prominent features of OSCommerce are as follows :

  • Compatible with PHP 4 and MySQL – easily portable to version 5
  • Compatible with all major browsers.
  • Multi-lingual English, German and Spanish by default.
  • Automatic web-based installation.
  • Unlimited number of products and categories.
  • Automatic setup of e-commerce payment systems: Authorize.net, Netbilling.com, 2Checkout.com, iPayment.de, PayPal.com, PsiGate.com, SECPay.com, and TrustCommerce.com; Many other add-on ecommerce payment systems, off-line (manual) credit card payments, and on-line payment processing.
  • Multi-currency support via manual update from exchange rate server.
  • Support for dynamic images (one image per product).
  • Supports physical products as well as product downloads.
  • Web-based administration module.
  • Database backup and restore.
  • Temporary and permanent shopping carts.
  • Secure transactions with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) support.
  • Many shipping options including by weight, price, or destination.
  • Real-time shipping quote integration with UPS, USPS.
  • Zone-based shipping options as well as a free shipping option as part of Order Totals Module.
  • Full tax functionality, included compounded taxes, different zones for different products.

The advantages of the OSCommerce Shopping Cart are also listed below:

  • Easy installation of osCommerce;
  • Unlimited number of items;
  • Unlimited number of categories;
  • Multiple Languages;
  • Custom Currencies;
  • Custom taxes and shipping modules;
  • Optional secure shop (requires usage of SSL certificate);
  • Multiple payment gateways to choose from, additional modules available for download;
  • Best selling items’ category;
  • Ability to add Search engine friendly (SEF) URL’s;
  • Option to backup and upgrade the osCom system;

Yes, these are some sureshot advantages of using this application. Mostly because, I have had practical experience with the same, I must say….these are very much true. You will never ever feel like lacking anything when you are working with OSCommerce. A thing which I like the most about the same, SEO benefits where I can easily add and edit meta tags for any product which has been listed under product categories. This follows up with search engine friendly url’s which makes sure your product’s page is ranking well in SERPS provided you have optimized it properly for your keywords.

Now, how and where to start with it all? Well, there are ‘n’ number of resources on the web to help you out with the same. If you are really interested to know and learn more about the same, then please try checking out these Video Tutorials on OSCommerce. These video tutorials will teach you everything from basic installation to complete administration. Once you are through with the tutorials, you can try out with the installation by downloading the most recent version of the OSCommerce.

Now, unlike my previous posts where I have been writing mostly about blogging and related things, I decided to come up this time with this information on OSCommerce. Honestly, I haven’t been paid anything for writing all these. For me, it is all based on my experience with the same where I still find OSCommerce as one of the most versatile systems for building an effective eCommerce solution.