Hello Everyone, This is Praveen Nair here from FidesLoop Technologies. I’ve been part of many online forums and groups of Online Merchants in India & worldwide. I’m hearing lots of questions asking recommendations to choose the best eCommerce Platform for your Online Store.
Which is the best eCommerce Platform? Which one to chose for our Online Store? How can I decide on the eCommerce Platform for our business? What is the approximate cost for creating an Online Store for us? Is it easy to manage the day to day operations by us like we do for other marketplaces?
These are the most common questions people ask when they wish to start their own eCommerce Store. So, let’s find out.
First of all, there is NO Direct Answer to these questions. If someone suggests you a platform right away, I would say you should never buy that recommendation. In a nutshell, every eCommerce platform out there is good in its own way. And, every eCommerce Platform helps us to solve a set of problems. Which means, the choice of the eCommerce platform for your new promising Online Store really depends on what you wanted to achieve and how you wanted to nail down your business goals.
Before we begin, let’s list down few questions which we need to find an answer for.
- Small/Medium/Large/Entreprise – Which is the best-suited to represent your scale of Business?
- How about your Short-term and Long-term business goals & business expansion plans?
- Do you have an internal team to take care of the development & testing of the eCommerce Store? Or you wanted to outsource it to a professional? Or you wanted to do it on your own?
- Do you have any marketing strategy in place?
- Do you have a planned budget you wish to allocate for Development, Maintenance of your Online Store?
Let’s keep these questions in mind while we go through each of the available options. Now, let’s find out the different options available out there.
E-Commerce is one of the fastest growing industry & hence we have plenty of options to choose from. No wonder why anyone can get confused when they plan to launch their own eCommerce Store. We can broadly classify them into two (1) Hosted Platform (2) Self-Hosted Platforms. Let’s understand the difference between the two.
Hosted eCommerce Platforms
These are the eCommerce platforms that offer ready-made eCommerce Software for creating a store for your business. It runs on a server which is fully managed by the solution providers. Which means that you can easily create an Online Store without worrying about hosting, server management, backend code etc. They provide readymade website templates & you can build your Online store by configuring the options they provide with some optional add-ons at an additional cost. You will not have access to the source code of these systems & you will not be able to customize them for your needs.
- Quick-fix solution for creating an eCommerce Store with minimal effort
- No technical knowledge needed. Just configure the options & you’re ready to go online in couple of hours!
- Not Free. These platforms normally charge you a Monthly Subscription Fee for availing their services.
- No way that you can customize the code. So, if you need some specific feature, you can get it only if they have an extension for it.
- Some of these platforms do not even provide Search Engine Optimization (SEO) capabilities. Even if they provide SEO options, they only provide basic or automated SEO, which is useless in most scenarios.
- The Payment Gateway & other integration options are limited.
- In most cases, you might be forced to satisfy with what they provide than implementing what you wish.
So, if you’re really looking for some quick solution to create your eCommerce Store without even writing a single line of code, you should choose this option. Literally, no technical knowledge needed to build one for you.
I will be writing a detailed article later to understand the Hosted Platforms in detail.
Self-Hosted eCommerce Platforms
These are often based on Open-Source e-Commerce Platforms or Frameworks where you have full access to the source code of the system. Most of the “must-have” eCommerce store features and functionalities are already implemented. You can host your store on your own server or you can deploy them onto a hosting provider’s server. Again, you have plenty of options to choose from.
Note: I will be writing a detailed article later to evaluate the hosting options out there depending on the platform of your choice.
In a nutshell, you need a little bit of technical knowledge to build a full-fledged online store for your business using self-hosted platforms. In return, you will have full freedom to implement any feature you want in your online store.
- Free & Open Source. No monthly fees or subscription fees.
- You have full control on the source code & you can implement anything you wanted
- You have full access to the code means you can do anything for On-Site Search Engine Optimization (SEO). These platforms provide support for On-site SEO by default.
- You have millions of extensions/add-ons to choose from, for implementing a particular feature or functionality. Most of these extensions are Free while some of them have Premium/Paid versions with some added features & functionalities.
- You can literally integrate anything onto your eCommerce store.
- You need technology expertise to develop, maintain the website, hosting etc. Hence, you might need to hire a Developer to build one for you.
- Though the platform/framework is free, Not everything is free, though. You may need to pay for the hosting, domain etc. Again, nothing is FREE in this world!
So, if you’re really looking for a fully customized online store with all the features you want in the way you wanted, go for Self-Hosted platforms. But, you should have a decent technical knowledge or often you need to hire a freelancer/developer for this. You may Request a Quote from us if you wish to avail FidesLoop Services.
Note: I will be writing a detailed article later to understand the Self-hosted Platforms in detail.
Still Confused? Continue Reading!
Okay. Let me try to explain you in a better way. Let’s try to do it in 2 ways
Do you opt for Canned/Readymade Food vs Home Cooked food?
I’m sure you must have made your mind on this already. Yes, Canned/Ready-made food will always help to satisfy your hunger in a quick way with minimal effort from your end. In contrary, you need to have all ingredients, time/patience, cooking skill to make a healthy course of a meal for you. Which one will you choose for yourself? It depends on the situation, right? But, if you have an option, you always prefer home-cooked food; but that needs some effort from your end.
So, the choice of Hosted vs Self-Hosted eCommerceplatform is exactly the same. Hosted solutions often give you quick solution for your problem; creating an eCommerce Store. But, you may compromise many things for this quick-fix. In the long run, it will not help you similar to Canned Food. You finally need to depend on Self-Hosted Solutions/platforms for your the growth of your business. But, if you’re a beginner & just wanted to try how things work, you can very well opt for Hosted Solutions.
Still confused? Let’s take another example?
Do you Opt for a Bus or a Car?
If you’re an environment-friendly person, I’m sure you will opt for Bus. But, let’s keep that apart. Let’s consider the freedom or flexibility. In a bus, you can only to the destination as per the bus route/destination, You may not have everything to your liking like the choice of seats, color, leg room, storage space etc. Now, let’s take an example of a Car. You can choose any model, make of your choice; the one with good mileage, storage space, capacity, legroom, boot space, color etc. Even if you wish to change something like the paint, you’re free to do it. And, you can go wherever you wanted to go unlike the case of a Bus.
Hosted Solution is like a Bus. It solves your main problem of transportation; but, might not solve the way you wanted to solve. In the case of a car, it again solves your main problem of transportation; and you have complete flexibility in terms of how you wanted to solve your main problem. And, you may drive yourself or you can hire a driver for you.
First of all, thanks a lot spending a lot of time to read this, but I believe it helps you in some way or the other.
So, in a nutshell, I would recommend you to choose one of the Self-hosted eCommerce Platforms which is going to help your business in the long run. Having a website for your brand/business in a unique way is always recommended. Creating an eCommerce Store is just the #1 step of your online business. You will have a lot to do to bring traffic to your eCommerce store & retain those customers. You may need to have a strong Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Marketing, Campaigns in place. Hence, it is always important to get it done in a professional way than relying on a quick-fix. Hence, we “always” recommend you to opt for a Self-hosted Solution.
So, if you agree or disagree with me, please share the same in the comment section below. I would request you to make use of the comment sections to pass on your feedback or suggestions & we will try our best to incorporate the same going forward. I know, it is a very big topic & we can not cover everything in one article. So, please let us know if you wish to know more about a specific topic.
And, if you like it, do not forget to share the article. Subscribe to our Newsletter if you wish to hear more from us. And, you may Request a Quote from us if you wish to avail FidesLoop Services for building an eCommerce Store for your business, Marketing Support & Optimization, SEO Services etc. Cheers!