Custom eCommerce Platform vs. Out-of-The-Box: Which is the Better Choice?
Learn what sets customer eCommerce platforms apart from out-of-the-box solutions. Get tips to choose the right platform for your business.
When businesses decide to create an eCommerce presence and begin exploring options, they typically come to a fork in the road: choosing an out-of-the-box solution vs. a custom solution. The business may have preconceived notions about what is best for them or what has the largest brand awareness . Let’s take a closer look at the options and discuss a solution that checks all the boxes, regardless of where you are coming from and where you want to go.
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What is an off-the-shelf or out-of-the-box eCommerce platform?
An out-of-the-box eCommerce platform is a ready-made software solution that businesses can purchase and quickly implement. It comes pre-developed and tested, and multiple companies often use it. While it offers an expeditious and low-cost setup, it may lack the customization options that a business needs to sell its products effectively and efficiently.
What do we mean by custom, or customizable, eCommerce platform?
A customizable eCommerce platform is a tailored software solution designed to meet the unique needs of your business. It offers unique functionalities and integrations crafted to enhance the customer experience. Ideal for complex products, specific checkout processes, and regulated industries, a custom platform provides flexibility, as developers have access to write and edit the code. Additionally, custom eCommerce platforms often include visual editors for user-friendly customizations.
Pros and Cons of an Off-the-Shelf eCommerce Platform
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits and possible drawbacks of a ready-made eCommerce solution.
- Quick and Easy to Implement: With an out-of-the-box eCommerce solution, businesses are faced with fewer choices to make in terms of design and features. This means that it does not require as much time and effort to launch the web store. This works well if the template is suitable to your business, but that is not often the case entirely.
- Low Start-up Costs: The shelf sticker price is often lower for out-of-the-box platforms, making these options appealing to companies with smaller budgets. However, companies may leave money on the table in the long run because they miss out on opportunities to distinguish themselves from the competition and provide a truly successful and unique customer experience.
- Fewer Customizations: Out-of-the-box eCommerce platforms typically do not offer businesses the ability to develop custom code or unique integrations.
- Limited features: These platforms come with designated features, limited themes, and strict controls that are established by the platform, not the business.
- Incompatible with Business Models: The standard shopping cart may not be suitable for all verticals and businesses. Every business and product category has its unique requirements, and those of the platform may differ from those of the business.
- Difficult to Scale: Out-of-the-box platforms are built to meet the general needs of many different businesses, so they likely do not have the sophisticated capabilities necessary to support and drive long-term growth.
Pros and Cons of a Custom eCommerce Platform
Here are the advantages and possible challenges of using a customizable eCommerce solution.
- Freedom: This is a big one. With a custom solution, businesses can bring literally any vision to life. With a custom platform, you can build out the ordering, checkout requirements and business rules needed for your customers. This is crucial for businesses that need to approach inventory and sales in specific ways.
- Scalability and longevity: A customizable, robust eCommerce solution can scale with your business requirements, for example user accounts, sales volume, website traffic, product SKUs, and future functionality and innovation.
- Optimal Performance: You can design the eCommerce platform to align with your objectives and help you reach your goals, whatever they may be.
- Longer implementation timelines: while a customized solution might take more planning and development upfront, it is often necessary for established businesses with large and complex operations, or those selling non-standardized products. Out-of-the-box solutions are better suited for small businesses and drop-shipping operations.
Choosing the Right Platform For Your Business
Regardless of your choice, the best eCommerce platforms should:
- Prioritize integration: The right eCommerce platform must smoothly integrate with your ERP, CRM, and other backend tools. This is crucial for maintaining a single source of truth.
- Offer robust personalization - The eCommerce platform must deliver robust personalization solutions that are vital for meeting customer expectations and driving business growth.
- Include data capturing and reporting capabilities - These capabilities help your business continue to optimize the customer experience and increase lifetime value.
DOWNLOAD NOW: Guide to B2B eCommerce