Custom E-commerce Platform or Open Source Solution?
Thanks to the consumer’s willingness to spend big online, e-commerce is booming. Open source content management systems (CMS), which have enjoyed their own boom, offer a number of seemingly attractive and low-cost e-commerce platforms. Some of these are dedicated to e-commerce while others are generic content management systems that are readily converted to e-commerce via a quick installation of a plugin software module.
The benefit of using open source is a relatively low setup cost in terms of money and time. One also benefits from a large array of off-the-shelf e-commerce software plugins and website themes. With all of these benefits, why do many businesses opt for custom e-commerce platforms?
They have specific requirements. These companies don’t compromise their business plans in order to accommodate available software tools. Rather, their plans determine their tool choices. From experience or research, they know exactly what they need. Compromise reduces competitiveness and profits. Their branding may also require a website architecture and look that aren’t met by the available open source solutions.
They want to minimize dependencies on third parties. The downside of using plugin software modules is that their developers may lose interest in their upkeep and maintenance. When your core CMS makes an update, this may cause incompatibilities with some of your plugin modules. If their developers fail to fix this, you must find replacements for the plugins. This will be a constant ongoing problem in the long term.
They want control over the software. Specifically, they want software updates driven by their specific needs rather than the collective needs of a huge user base, which is the case when using an open source solution. Open source evolves in its own direction rather than yours. This makes it un-scalable.
They want the platform to integrate with their business systems. These may be manufacturing, inventory control, warehouse operation, supply chain, and other core business systems.
They want custom dashboards. The e-commerce platform’s dashboard is an interface that determines how effectively you run your e-commerce site. You may want customized levels of access permissions for the various staff that you employ. You may also want to have a say in its layout design which affects your staff’s productivity.
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