They say everything good has a little bad in it, and everything bad has a little good in it. This simple truth applies not only to our everyday life, but to the world of e-commerce as well. As a content manager, I’m constantly asked to decide what software to use, how to adjust the design and what plugin to install next in order to drive more traffic, reduce the percentage of abandoned carts and increase sales on the e-commerce websites I manage.
Although ultimately it’s your visitors’ decision to buy your products or to leave your website without purchasing anything, a well-designed website that provides personalized solutions and answers your visitors’ needs and requirements is more likely to perform well in the long run, and to support your business’ online development.
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More often than not, owners of online stores choose to develop their websites on platforms that provide out-of-the box solutions. These platforms do have their advantages: they’re easy to use and quite intuitive, they provide the basic features and tools for a functioning store, and they usually require less time to implement.
By choosing a ready-to-use platform for building your online store, you can have a fully functional e-commerce website in less than 2 weeks, for a reasonable price. Such solutions can work well at the beginning, but as your website grows and traffic increases, you might realize an out-of-the-box platform is not exactly the best investment.
Ready-to-use e-commerce platforms come with hidden flaws
One of the first issues you may encounter with a ready-made e-commerce platform is the lack of flexibility, which will force you to use only those tools that are compatible with the chosen platform. An out-of-the-box solution will always make decisions about the online experience offered to your clients, and those decisions will rarely be the right ones for your business.
Let me give you just one example. For one of the web stores I manage, I decided to use a regular platform due to limited resources and to a very tight deadline, but soon after launching I realized that the implemented solution was forcing my business to bend in order to accommodate to the software, when it should’ve been the other way around. Read about software development company in Chicago.
I wanted my customers to be able to browse and shop in a certain way, but the technical limitations of my store were preventing the natural interaction with visitors that is established when shopping offline. So I had to invest in additional tools, to add a series of plugins and to pay extra for the mobile optimization of the store.
An even greater challenge was to find a solution for the payment processor, which needed to be compatible with another software I was using for stock inventory and invoicing. This solution proved to be more costly than expected, so despite choosing a ready-to-use e-commerce platform, I ended up paying a significant amount of money for fixing the issues and customizing the webshop so as to meet not only my clients’ requirements, but also my needs as an online retailer.
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Not to mention the numerous bugs and the expensive maintenance, which slowed down the growth of the online store and prevented the online business from reaching its full potential.
Why you should always opt for custom e-tailing software development
Surely this may not always be the case, but one of the things I’ve learned after managing several online stores is that the bigger the shop is, the more numerous the problems in the long run, if choosing a standard, ready-made e-commerce platform. And this is true especially for companies that don’t have an internal IT team, and have to outsource the development of their online store.
With out-of-the-box e-commerce solutions, the tail wags the dog, and although you may not realize it from the beginning, this leads to constrains on how your business grows in the long run. The good news though is that it doesn’t have to be this way, and custom online retail software development can capture the specific requirements and needs of your online store.
Think of it: if you buy a house from someone else, you receive something that was designed to satisfy the needs and desires of the former owner, but that house may not meet all your criteria for comfort, functionality or design. Some aspects may be easier to adjust, but for others you may need to invest more than expected. If may therefore be more convenient to buy that house from scratch, even if you have to wait a little longer until it’s ready to be used.
Same happens with an online store: only custom online retail software development can provide that online solution that fulfills your needs, meets the requirements and expectations of online shoppers, and provides sustainable business profits and customer loyalty.
Do you have experience switching from out-of-the-box eCommerce platform to custom built software? Please share it in the comments below!