Many entrepreneurs and businesses are not fully aware that there is a critical choice one has, when deploying online stores through e-commerce solutions. E-commerce websites are always powered by an application that manages all the functions and features. This application for e-commerce websites can be free (open-source) or leased by a third party provider.
A business can pick which type of application and get their website design done for it. Both solutions (open-source and leased) come with pros and cons. A company should carefully review their needs, budgets, and other details prior to making a decision. Experts can assist companies through technology consulting services.
To assist businesses with choosing the proper e-commerce application for their online store, below are some pros and cons listed. If assistance is still needed, a business should contact professionals that can discuss the options in more detail and help a business with the process.
Open Source E-Commerce
Open source applications are free to be used by any individual or company. Such applications are loaded with features and options these days. They are free and anybody can use them. Free, means the application is free but a company still needs to get a website design company or professional to develop the website. Unlike leased solutions, there is only the initial cost (aside from maintenance). This is what most consider to be the “con” with open-source application. There is a larger upfront cost to custom develop the website with open-source based solutions.
There are no monthly fees to use the application and features (some features are paid only). The two popular open-source applications for e-commerce are called Magento and WordPress (with WooCommerce plugin). They are very robust, feature rich, and proven with a large client user base. Most retailers that are investing into online marketing efforts such as SEO, Social Media Marketing, Video Marketing, and so on … choose open-source solutions. Companies have full control and customization ability with open-source e-commerce websites.
Leased solutions are a great way to get started without the hassle of having to find professional website designer or agency. Leasing e-commerce solutions allow the customer (retailer) to quickly create an account, upload product images and details to start selling. These leased solutions are called leased or also “hosted” because they charge customers a monthly fee. Retailers pay a monthly fee to host their website on the solutions providers servers and process their sales and payments through them as well.
With leased solutions retailers and companies do not need to get their own merchant solution or shopping cart. They lease one for a monthly fee. Leased or hosted solutions come with limitations, but also do not require an upfront cost for development. They are simply cheaper and easier to get started with, but lack what most professional marketers and retailers require often. Many ISP (Internet Solutions Providers) have online stores that can be leased. Other companies specialize in this such as Shopify, Volusion, and BigCommerce for example.
Companies and retailers that are not sure should consult a professional to gain a better understanding prior to making a decision. Professional technology consulting services allow retailers to make better investments.