Regardless of size most have asked themselves this questions at some point when faced with the challenge of how to setup an online store. What are my options for setting up a website with e-commerce ability. There are many options by numerous solutions providers, but this does not even begin to offer a clear view when it comes to making an informed decision.
When it comes to e-commerce options, one decision has to be made prior to even looking at solution providers and vendors. It is the setup and actual strategy of online commerce and sales. This will much determine the options an organization has for starting an online commerce website.
What does this mean? Simply put, it is not comparing apples to apples. Certain solutions are leased vs. owned. Some are more managed vs. solely managed by the business. This decision is a critical one for an organization.
Ecommerce Options, Differences And Selling Online Through Websites
When making a decision to implement e-commerce and start selling online, leased vs. owning and operating should be considered first. This answer will guide one through the next decision-making stages of setting up an online store and selling online through websites.
What is a leased e-commerce solution? Leased solutions to facilitated online commerce and power e-commerce websites are solutions managed by a third party. A company that specializes in offering e-commerce solutions to it’s customers via template websites that customers can do minor edits on for selling products online. These solutions are structured in very specific ways.
The main benefit is, they offer no large start-up costs for customers and faster deployment. Also, the solution is managed. They have monthly fees ranging from $20 to $200 per month for e-commerce websites. At times, these vendors offer as well custom website development for an added cost. Help is offered for website design with additional expanses in design, development, and marketing by these vendors.
The main difference is that it is a fully hosted and managed solution by a third party vendor. It costs less starting out, but also comes with one major downside. Since someone else hosts it, the real estate is leased and not owned by the customer. The customer does not have full access and ability to make changes. There are numerous limitations in design, development, and options to operate.
What is “owning” an e-commerce solution mean? Owning refers to the fact that with this e-commerce option, the customer has their own server hosting solution and the e-commerce website sits on it. The website is powered in most cases by an open source online commerce software application. The websites are in most cases very custom developed and do not have the generic template look. The solution is open source enabling the customer to have maximum freedom with it.
The main benefit for these types of commerce solutions is the control and ownership of the platform. The control enables the customer to choose any type of merchant platform, online commerce software application, and website architecture and design. Customer can offer much more to their customer without limitations by a third party, which in a leased solution would manage and host their website.
The other main difference is the marketing and advertising abilities. Owned solutions for online commerce, which the customer hosts can fully take the advantage of online marketing and advertising. Leased solutions would not be able to do this for the customer. For example, search engine optimization (SEO) services have to edit code to meet search requirements, which leased solutions tend to not allow. There are many other restrictions such as this with leased solutions.
The other difference is price as well. Unlike leased solutions, which have no start-up costs only monthly fees, owned commerce solutions are more expansive at start-up but do not have monthly fees. Owned solutions are also not managed. The customer has all the responsibility, but get the largest rewards.
The two main options for starting an online store and selling products online through a website are simply. Leased vs. owning, taking all the pros and cons into consideration. There are several, anyone wanting to start an online store should do their due diligence.
If it is a little overwhelming, help can be hired through consulting services. The right consultant can assist with all the options and even implement and help launch the e-commerce website.
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