The eCommerce software industry has graduated to level where two main models control the market. Today, most eCommerce websites are created using (1) a hosted, off site, solution or (2) a custom, open source, eCommerce website solution. Both hosted and custom eCommerce solutions are very different from one another. This hubpage explores the differences between the two eCommerce models while asking you, the reader, to keep in mind YOUR website goals in respects to market share, web site traffic expectations, sales expectations, and length of time you wish to have the same website before you make a new one.
Hosted eCommerce Software Solutions
A hosted online store is a service that you subscribe to for a monthly or annual fee. Your store runs on the service provider’s hosts, and your options depend on the features of their software.
Hosted eCommerce solutions are usually less expensive to open (usually no to low startup costs and minimal monthly fee to keep your website up and running). Going further into costs, website owners using a hosted eCommerce solution do not have to worry about website maintenance because, generally, hosted eCommerce solutions will cover server maintenance inclusive in the fee to keep your web site up and running. Hosted eCommerce solutions are again premade, and they are often stable and do not require a ton of error and debugging attention. Another benefit of hosted ecommerce is that most solutions are designed to grow with your business. You typically won’t pay for features you aren’t using today but will have the option of upgrade if need arises.
There are disadvantages of hosted eCommerce solutions to consider. Hosted eCommerce solutions are not owned by you, the business owner. If you stop paying the monthly fee, you will lose your website and need to find a new solution. Generally, hosted eCommerce solutions are locked in that code cannot be greatly modified making eCommerce cart design and feature customization nearly impossible. With hosted eCommerce solutions, you get the features the system comes with AS IS, without any ability to add/edit/remove features. If you have a basic eCommerce store this is usually not a problem. If you want the ability to modify features and grow the website into a more feature rich solution, you may need to move to a custom eCommerce solution. Those who anticipate high end second generation features may want to consider a custom eCommerce solution that will allow this growth when ready to implement such new features and elements. If one does this, the website can grow without the need to redo the website design completely.
Custom eCommerce Website Solutions (Open Source eCommerce)
A custom online store is one that you have built for you by a web designer. The underlying software is usually based on a standard eCommerce package, for example Magento (currently known as Adobe Commerce), but can then be customized to your heart’s (and pocketbook’s) desire. The store runs on your host or hosting service.
Often the term “Open Source,” comes across when making an eCommerce software decision. Open Source means that you or your developer has complete access to your eCommerce software code and can make any changes to the website. Given your eCommerce website developer knows design, programming, and search engine optimization very well, the obvious advantages are that your website can work and function as you wish.
Custom programming gives your site a custom edge over the competition and makes it stand apart with unique features. For example, you may want customized search functionality because of the type of product you sell. Not many of your competitors have it, and you are confident that it will get you the sales. With a custom eCommerce store, the owner can configure the site and data feeds the way he/she wishes. Custom eCommerce is sophisticated and flexible for online businesses and can handle many tens of thousands of items as well as many visitors at same time. It can also be integrated with other solutions such as CRMs, and gateways. This is a solution that is suitable for businesses that want to ramp up their online sales. While custom eCommerce solutions are often more expensive to implement at the start, over the long run they can be more cost effective because your sales are likely to be many times higher.
TMO Group is a technology company, and we can help you to host & custom your eCommerce website. Do you want to know more about our services? Send us an email!