Choosing an ecommerce platform is difficult. There’s a lot at stake and you will need to take your wished into account. In addition, you should set a priority of your needs so you can cross off the wishes and place them on a ‘features road map’. What do you have to take into account when choosing an ecommerce platform?
Which Ecommerce platforms are there?
On the market there are many different types of ecommerce systems. You have systems that are Self Hosted and systems that are Hosted environments. Hosted means that you do not have to “host” your ecommerce shop on your own web server and all updates are done for you.
Self Hosted Open Source Ecommerce Systems
Self hosted open source e-commerce platforms are platforms and systems where you have the opportunity to personalize a lot. But you have to ‘host’ the web platform on web servers of your hosting provider yourself. The advantage of a Self Hosted Open Source E-Commerce system is that there are many companies that can help you develop such a system. If you have a little bit of technical HTML / PHP / CSS skills you can do the customization yourself. But Open Source also means that you can easily change developers because there are several companies that can work with Open Source software. Examples of a self hosted Open Source platform:
I really enjoy working with WooCommerce as Self Hosted Open Source platform as this is often the most advantageous if you want to host it yourself. Magento is also free at the installation but every update and every plugin costs money. And is often more expensive in development.
Hosted Open Source Ecommerce Systems
Hosted Open Source Ecommerce platforms are platforms that are hosted by the developer itself, you probably only need to redirect your own URL. The advantage of a hosted platform is that you don’t have maintenance, don’t have to do updates your self and you don’t have development costs. If you choose this option you will often pay a monthly fee and your ready to go. If you’d prefer extra (paid) plugins than your monthly fee is often incremented by a few euros (depending on the plugin). The downside is that there are far fewer opportunities to customize the shop with your own functionalities. Examples of Hosted Open Source platforms are:
For clients I like to work with SEOshop. A very user friendly back-end with enough customizations available.
What to take into account when choosing and commerce system?
Write for your self on a piece of paper what features you would like in a ecommerce shop. What should the be like according to you? What would you like that customers can do in your shop, what should be the experience, how does a client order? What is the ‘routing’ for a client from entrance to checkout, etc.
If you made a list then take a look at the systems that I have put down above if your desired functionality exist. You can always ask the help desks if your functionality is possible on their system.
If you have limited functionality (basic e-commerce functionality) and you have a limited budget, then go for a Hosted Ecommerce solution. It saves you a lot of effort and money. The moment you have a good converting and running shop and you want more freedom you can always choose to custom built a webshop.
Look at what you want to spend. A hosted web shop like SEOshop or Shopify is a good solution if you have a lower budget but still want a professional looking web shop. With a hosted shop you know exactly what your monthly expenses are. If you take a self hosted system like WooCommerce you probably have less monthly costs but you have more costs in developing and setting up the web shop. With a self hosted shop, it might be possible that your web shop builder charges a monthly fee to update plugins and systems.
Find out more
Are you currently looking for an ecommerce system for your shop but you’re still not sure which system give me a call. I can help you (no, I will not charge you for that) make the right choice.