Developing and growing an ecommerce business successfully is not simple even for an established business – for a startup it can be an uphill task, especially with the competition that exists today. You need to carefully consider your options before you choose a platform for your ecommerce site. You have to of course think about the financial part, but you need to weigh the advantages they offer too.
The two main options you have are: SaaS and custom built e-commerce solutions.
It’s a readymade software solution that is delivered through the cloud. From day 1 you can sell as you hardly need any time to set it up, and there is no need to search for hosting solutions. All you need to do is upload your products. You need to pay a monthly fee to the vendor, and you may need to pay extra for extra services like payment gateway integration. Shopify, Big Commerce and Volution are the best examples of SaaS ecommerce platforms.
- It is ideal for small scale projects, especially if you have no more than 2000 products.
- Configuration is easy and quick.
- Straightforward to maintain; you can add modules as per your need, and you also have the option to make modifications to include custom functionality, albeit limited.
- It is frequently updated so remains relatively bug free
- It is possible to add as many products as you need
- Lower implementation cost
- Better support for mobile shoppers
- Limited options for customization means restricted functionality
- Possibility for errors at a later stage is high as the platforms are not open source
- Adding too many products can make your site bulky as there are limited resources
- Cost go up later through accumulation of subscription cost
- Users have to ensure frequent updating to avoid compatibility issues
- Possibility of downtime is higher
- No access to source code
- Scalability is very limited
- Limited plugins and integrations often become a cause for migration to other platforms
Custom E-Commerce Platforms
As the name suggests, there are platforms which allow you to build custom online storefronts, exactly the way you want them to be. The website is built from scratch with no template.
- This is suitable for large scale businesses.
- It offers greater flexibility in usage and functionality
- It is possible to alter the source code according to your needs as the platforms are open source
- You can get a unique looking website that stands out from other websites
- You can retain the code for the site, which will allow you to make modifications at a later stage
- There is no limit on the number of products you can add and the designs you can create
- It is highly scalable, and can be built to scale as your business grows so that the extra products, users etc. cause no issues in the site
- You can choose your host as per your needs
- One time payment, including for all extra customization you get done
- Multiple payment gateways are included, but you can add local methods if you need
- With lesser downtime, it is more beneficial in the long run
- Tech support from the developer
- The whole process of creating the site, buying a domain and so on can be very time consuming
- As the site is created from scratch it’s an expensive proposition – domain charges also need to be paid.
- You need expert developers to create a custom site, it cannot be handled by those without expertise
The most popular platforms for custom e-commerce sites are Open Cart, WooCommerce, CubeCart, Magento, and so on. Online retail giants Amazon, Flipkart etc., are examples of ecommerce sites built using open source platforms.
As you can see, both the options have their own pros and cons – the debate over which one is better has been raging for a pretty long time now, and it is doubtful is the matter will be settled anytime soon. Eventually, it is up to the individual business what is more important to them, what their goals are, and where they see their business in a couple of years.
Whatever your choice, at IPIX Tech Services, we have expert developers who can create beautiful and engaging sites for you. Contact us today with your requirements.