Does Your OpenCart Store Need Extensions?

Easy selling of products - that’s the main purpose of the OpenCart platform. In fact, the default settings can handle it perfectly. The standard form of your store comes packed with a powerful set of features right out of the box. They make the default platform a solid foundation for building a business.

In this blog post, we will clarify what you can do with:

  • No additional extensions - start selling right off the bat

  • Free modules - nothing better than free stuff, right?

  • Premium modules - begin investing in becoming better than your competition

Since OpenCart 2.0 came out, there have been more than 4,500 extensions for all kinds of purposes, which begs the question…

Do you actually need any additional OpenCart modules for your web store?

Let’s look at this from a few angles.

OpenCart Built-in Settings

A new user of OpenCart will see that the stock version of the platform is quite enough for setting up a business. You can immediately start adding & editing products, playing around with the design, managing orders & customers, and keep track of what’s going on.

You have settings for your email system, payment plans, shipping methods, fraud prevention, marketing and SEO, as well as integrated Google Analytics.

With all of these features already onboard, many new store owners will be able to run their eCommerce business without breaking much of a sweat. So far, so good, right?

But then, you start thinking...

What is the basic OpenCart platform suitable for?

Simple - for small businesses and individual store owners that just want to start making some money and don’t feel like bothering with anything additional. Best thing is - you will not have to worry that your site may start running slow or crashing if it’s overloaded with extensions.

However, when your store begins to generate sales, you will see that there’s actually some great potential in the platform. That’s when you should start thinking about how you can take advantage of that momentum.

Once you gain some experience with OpenCart, you might start noticing that something is missing. Maybe you ran into a problem and think your store could really use a feature to help with something important, like product returns for instance.

The more your customer base grows, the more help you will need with key issues such as online fraud or solutions to increase your website’s conversion abilities. For seasoned merchants, there comes a moment when the default features are not enough to handle the increasing workload.

And that’s a good thing! Your business is growing!

So, you have started your module-free, smooth-running, easy-manageable OpenCart store. Your products are selling, new customers are coming and your profits have been increasing for some time. Sounds awesome! Furthermore, you feel like you can make things even better.

However, you feel limited. That’s where free stuff come in. Let’s take a look at what the free OpenCart extensions can do for your eCommerce store.

What can free OpenCart modules offer?

If you want to maintain growth (which you should), you need to examine the strong and weak points of your store. Where does it need improvement?

There are OpenCart extensions created for pretty much anything you might need:

  • Admin tools that simplify store management and let you save time.

  • Customization modules that let you personalize your website and set it apart from your competitors.

  • User experience features for improved usability, making it easier for customers to browse and purchase your products.

  • Social media extensions that help you reach more online users and attract new potential customers.

We can go on for days, believe me.

Free extensions are very useful to help you start experimenting and testing what parts of your store can really benefit from additional features. Best part is - it doesn’t cost you a thing besides some free time and a bit of imagination about how you can make your website perform better.

There are a lot of guides and examples of how to use extensions for addressing each particular issue, from lack of conversion and ranking difficulties, to mobile-friendly design, and so on.

You will be able to track how your customers react to the changes. Is there an increase in sales and customer satisfaction, is it becoming easier for you to run your store? If an extension doesn’t work for you, just try another one since there are multiple modules for similar purposes, like payment gateways for example.

Okay, we’ve covered what you can do without OpenCart modules, and what free extensions offer. Now it’s time to see what hides behind premium features.

What are Premium OpenCart modules for? Can you do without them?

Premium modules are created for merchants who want some serious performance for their web stores. There are multiple reasons why you might need these extensions.

For instance, if your website is generating a lot of sales and you feel how the standard OpenCart platform is giving out at the sight of such traffic. Another case might be that your store finds it difficult to generate sales in the first place and needs a bump in its ranking or functionality.

In such situations, premium extensions are a long-term investment into your store and promise greater effect and functionality than free modules or no features at all.

There are thousands of extensions created for various purposes such as boosting sales, generating traffic, enhancing user experience and other. Let’s give an example with usability first - managing your products is often a heavy chore, especially when you are offering a large variety of items. The Product Manager module can help with that by giving you an option to edit single or bulk items at the same time.

  • Store Management

Similar administrator tools are created for your convenience in order to save time (which is only a myth for business owners) and simplify the management of your web store. This is crucial if you want to address every possible manner and multitask, while keeping things smooth as your store is generating business.

  • Customer Engagement

Apart from using popular techniques that improving your website’s user experience traits, you can also consider adding something a bit more unique. For instance, games and entertainment are excellent for retaining traffic and engaging your guests. You can offer an entertaining way for potential customers to get increasing discounts on your products by playing a game.

  • Traffic Generation

SEO is still a fundamental part of maintaining a successful business. Contrary to popular beliefs, it will become even more important as competition grows in all sectors. Therefore, ranking higher should be among your #1 priorities when you are setting up your store. Using a powerful extension can help you a lot since it’s basically going to do most of the work for you even if you are not so familiar with the primary ranking factors.

Where is the “too many modules” threshold?

There’s no single answer here because this depends mainly on your server’s hosting strength. Some websites perform well with a large number of extensions, so it all depends on what you have installed, is it enabled, what is its purpose and how it’s coded.

Luckily, there is always a solution for everything! If you start encountering problems, you can simply use the free tool for uninstalling any unwanted modules that are either not working, make your site crash or you have no use for anymore.


Our final advice is plain and simple - just start testing and experimenting. Your OpenCart platform is quite flexible and offers a lot of functionality once you learn how it works. The main takeaway is that you can run a store without extensions, but the standard form of the platform becomes a limitation when your business starts growing or you just want more performance out of it. We hope this was informative and would like to hear if you have any thoughts or questions in the comments section below!

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