Custom eCommerce Solutions: Importance, Benefits, & How To Choose
Out-of-the-box eCommerce solutions present limitations for many businesses. Read on to learn about custom eCommerce solutions and how to choose the right one.
Many companies implement their first eCommerce solution and are shocked by the limitations they face or the complexity of their requirements. This is primarily due to the fact that most eCommerce solutions, especially those designed for entrepreneurs and startup companies, are fairly rigid and do not provide the customizability required by more mature businesses and verticals. When choosing your first eCommerce solution, or migrating to a new one, be sure to select a customizable platform that lets you build eCommerce experiences that are tailored to your customers' requirements.
Here at DynamicWeb, we are passionate about simplifying eCommerce with a composable and comprehensive eCommerce suite. Our mission is to reduce complexity without limiting customization options. In this guide, we explain why a custom eCommerce solution is ideal for your business and how to choose the solution that fits your business needs.
Why customizable eCommerce?
When there are so many out-of-the-box eCommerce solutions available, you may wonder, will I even need to customize my eCommerce solution? The truth of the matter is that every vertical and business is different, and not all shopping experiences are suited to a simple shopping cart. Depending on the vertical, there could be constraints and other variables that complicate the buying process.
Let's take a look at the following examples:
- Horticulture companies deal with live products with short shelf lives and must be able to plan and coordinate with their customers well in advance. In these scenarios, constraints around seasonality, shipping dates, bloom times, and more have to be accounted for in the eCommerce features.
- Manufacturers often offer product variability for distributors to choose from that far surpass the qualifiers offered in standardized eCommerce platforms. In these make-to-order scenarios, the distributor needs to be able to configure their product online. Offering an online Configure-Price-Quote (CPA) step in the ordering can empower buyers to build their own orders, guided by compatibility rules to ensure the order is viable and pricing is correct. In order to fulfill this process in a way that aligns with your business requirements, a custom solution is likely required.
- Many companies offer products or services on a subscription basis, and the eCommerce solution needs to be capable of setting up recurring orders. Standardized eCommerce platforms may offer subscription features, but a one-size-fits-all subscription workflow is insufficient for every business.
- Equipment companies often sell and/or rent their products, sell spare parts, and provide maintenance services. These companies need an eCommerce that can support product purchases, product rentals, and maintenance service requests and agreements. Furthermore, the eCommerce solution needs to be able to support different customer types that are likely involved in these processes.
Benefits of Custom eCommerce
Customizing an eCommerce solution may require a bit more time and effort upfront, but it will pay off in the long run. Businesses that opt for a customized eCommerce solution enjoy many benefits, including:
Freedom to Build Any Vision
Many out-of-the-box eCommerce platforms have designated features, a specific aesthetic, strict controls, and no ability to write custom code. In contrast, a customizable eCommerce platform allows businesses to build any eCommerce vision with no constraints. This freedom will enable enterprises to fulfill their unique requirements, dream big, and create eCommerce experiences that distinguish them from their competitors.
Control Over Customer Experiences
With a standardized eCommerce platform, most aspects of the customer experience is controlled by the parameters established in the platform. This can be problematic for businesses looking to transform the customer experience or provide a particularly unique customer experience. With a customizable eCommerce solution, companies can control every aspect of the customer experience.
Custom Ordering Processes
Selling roofing materials is very different from selling live plants, and selling live plants is very different from selling clothing. Every sector or vertical is different; some involve more complex ordering processes than others. A customizable eCommerce solution is mandatory if your business needs to approach inventory or sales in a specific way.
Take Skagit Horticulture, for example. The wholesale grower of flowers and plants needed a complex eCommerce system to support the complex ordering requirements of their diverse customer base and the sensitive shelf lives of their live plant products. With the help of DynamicWeb, Skagit developed a solution that enables horticulture cultures to edit orders until they are planted in the ground and achieve multi-step confirmations throughout the buying process.
Control Over Performance
The performance standards and goals vary from business to business. That's why predetermined functionalities are not universally helpful. Some companies prioritize performance by volume, and others must prioritize performance by other criteria. With a custom eCommerce solution, businesses benefit from control over performance, meaning functionalities can be recoded to optimize for specific performance requirements. Whether you need to process more than 15,000 orders per hour like one of our clients or focus on smoothing the experiences for a smaller number of complex transactions, DynamicWeb is here to help.
Take Europcar, for example. As Denmark's largest car rental company, they needed a B2B and B2C booking portal that could handle complex reservations for over 7,000 passenger cars, vans, and lorries. With DynamicWeb, Europcar achieved a custom eCommerce solution that prioritized user-friendliness and a smooth booking process.
How to Choose the Right Custom eCommerce Solution
With so many available choices and factors to consider, it can be challenging to know how to choose the right custom eCommerce solution. We offer some considerations to help you navigate the options and select a solution that is a good fit for your business.
The first step is to clearly define your business objectives. What are you hoping to achieve by implementing an eCommerce solution? What resources do you have available, and what support do you need? If you have an existing eCommerce solution, what are you looking to change? What objectives are you struggling to meet with your current implementation?
Customer Demographics and Needs
Next, consider the demographics and buying patterns of your customers. Who are your customers? Where do they spend their time, and what are their purchasing needs? What features might make their buying experiences more enjoyable and expedient? What do they need to feel confident in their purchases?
Once you have established the information about your business and customers, direct the focus of your inquiry to evaluating the eCommerce solutions. Seek to understand the platform's native functionality. Is it robust with features like email marketing automation and web content personalization? Or is it limited to standard shopping cart scenarios? Platforms may have different functionalities or styles, and choosing a platform that most aligns with your business needs is most helpful.
Next, develop an understanding of the platform's architecture. Are customizations allowed? Do customizations create additional problems, for example, with middleware or the ERP? Look for a solution that allows for the customizations you need and makes those customizations smooth, efficient, and effective.
Coding Structure and Allowances
Regarding code, pay particular attention to what is allowed and feasible. Does the platform offer access to the code, or are you constrained by out-of-the-box templates? Does the platform follow a no or low-code framework? Unless you have a coder on staff, a low-code or no-code solution is likely the most reasonable option. To learn more about low/no code applications, read our blog Low Code/No Code: Definition, Comparison, & Use Cases.
Regarding integration, find out if the platform integrates easily via API or requires middleware or ERP customization. Integration is a crucial aspect of eCommerce implementation and necessary for eCommerce success. Look for a solution that integrates seamlessly with your established programs and software to minimize disruptions and build upon your existing business success.
Reputation and Experience
The solution provider's reputation and experience will translate to your experience's quality. Does the platform have happy customers in complex verticals? Does the platform have experience in your industry? Have businesses like yours reached their goals with the solution? It is ideal to find a customizable eCommerce solution that already aligns with your unique business structure.
Here at DynamicWeb, we are a world-leading provider of CMS, eCommerce, PIM, and Marketing solutions for mid/large and enterprise-sized companies. With more than 20+ years in business and more than 12,000 websites developed, we have the experience and the software necessary to create powerful eCommerce solutions. To experience the powerful DynamicWeb Commerce Suite at your own pace, try our free demo.
DOWNLOAD NOW: THE GUIDE TO BUILDING A B2B ECOMMERCE STRATEGY (FREE WHITE PAPER)