Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom Shopping Cart Solutions
Should your business build or buy its eCommerce platform?
Whether to use an off-the-shelf eCommerce platform or get a customizable eCommerce platform can be a difficult decision for any business owner. And unfortunately there is no one right answer. For some businesses, an off-the-shelf solution may work perfectly fine while others need to go with an eCommerce platform that can be fully tailored to their specific needs. Below are some of the benefits and negatives of each that will help make your decision more informed and, hopefully, easier.
An off-the-shelf eCommerce platform is a piece of readymade software that you can purchase and install right away. The software has already been developed, tested, and is probably already being used successfully by a number of other businesses.
Pros and Cons of Off-the-Shelf
Having a readymade product in your hands can see like a weight off your shoulders if you choose an off the shelf eCommerce platform. The platform will usually include standard features that are helpful to the majority. Since numerous companies are already using the platform, many of the bugs and issues have already been worked out. There are usually customer support lines as well as online forums dedicated to answering questions about the platform and helping customers with any issues.
The convenience of off-the-shelf does come with some negatives. The platform usually ends up having to be customized to work for your business, costing you extra time and money if the customizations you need are possible at all. The customization will usually have to include plugins, which can be risky because if you add too many plugins, it could cause your site to run slow or possibly crash. The platform may not integrate well with your other business software especially if it is made by competing companies.
A custom eCommerce platform is a piece of software that is adjusted to fit the needs of your business. A developer or a development firm will take the existing code and customize it to make it do what you need it to do. This means the code to your platform will be unique to your business, which means you will always be able to make changes to it.
Pros and Cons of Custom eCommerce
While a custom eCommerce platform sounds like it should be the answer to all of your problems, it can have its downsides. Depending on the developer or development firm you are using, it can be costly and time consuming. How well it will work and how great the features are will also depend greatly on the developers’ expertise and how much effort they put into your project.
However, the benefits of a custom eCommerce platform can be great. If you do use an expert developer, your custom platform will have only the features that your eCommerce business needs and will run smoothly. It can be built to your exact specifications and requirements. It will be easy to add onto and scale when needed and can be integrated with your other business software. In many cases, the only way to have your online business run the way you need it to will be to go with a custom option. Keep in mind that your eCommerce platform is an investment, and that putting the time and money in up front to ensure you have a system in place that allows your business to grow is more likely to have a great ROI than going with a cheaper option that stifles growth and doesn't satisfy you and your customer's needs.
Clarity Can Help
At Clarity, we understand how fundamental a good eCommerce platform is to an eCommerce business. Our team of expert developers has helped businesses customize off-the-shelf eCommerce platforms as well as create custom eCommerce platforms for their businesses. Our eCommerce platform, Clarity eCommerce, can be customized to work perfectly for your eCommerce business. With excellent features and the ability to integrate with virtually any software, Clarity eCommerce can be the right eCommerce solution for your business. To find out more about Clarity eCommerce or to speak with an expert about finding and implementing an eCommerce platform that is right for your business, call or click to contact us today!