In the modern business environment, eCommerce sites are an essential piece of your strategy in creating an optimised digital presence. An eCommerce platform is a software application which allows operating businesses to manage their website, marketing and sales. There is a range of platforms available and it is important to understand the different ones on the market.
Open-Source eCommerce Platforms
An open-source platform is a software that allows you to modify all aspects of the code – the platform’s source is quite literally open for developers to manipulate. It allows them to modify or enhance the site’s performance according to their business’s core objectives.
This is popular amongst businesses who have a strong understanding of web development and IT and want complete control of their platform. It allows for the customisation to best suit your business and branding. In terms of marketing, an open-source platform allows you to create an eCommerce to best suit you rather than adapting your business to best suit a site.
Using an open-source platform means alongside the design, you also need to factor in PCI compliance, hosting and quality assurance, including software development of the site.
However, whilst this seems an ideal choice for marketing purposes, open-source platforms may be difficult to manage if not experienced, expensive to maintain and needs specialist knowledge.
Designing an eCommerce platform from scratch
Building an eCommerce from scratch is undoubtedly one of the most challenging options on the market; it encompasses development costs, time and highly technical skill to achieve. Whilst it is possible to create, you should first ensure that your eCommerce site's objective cannot be achieved through an already existing platform.
To create a successful eCommerce website, many components need to be created. Shopping cart feature, database, checklist, payment gateways, an inventory system, price management, ability to manage orders and customer information.
However, these are only a very small element to consider when building your eCommerce website; you will also need to build a comprehensive content management system (CMS) to input product information alongside communicating key business and industry information. When building these CMS pages, you should be considering their search engine optimisation.
Before understanding what Cloud-Based eCommerce is, you need to understand what the ‘Cloud’ is. It can generally be considered the internet, allowing you to access cloud-based software anywhere without a physical server.
Historically, you would need to install a physical server onto your premise. In contrast, with cloud-based, you no longer need to operate and maintain your hardware and software systems, reducing your need to employ teams with extensive knowledge of this area.
Alternatively, your teams will work with a cloud-based provider who hosts your software and data on remote servers. This reduces your need to host and maintain your website and ensure data security whilst providing you with the potential to expand your business. Through real-time access to data whenever and wherever you need it, you are not limited to a single operation location.
However, it is important to note that whilst cloud-based removes the need to host and maintain the servers; you are still responsible for maintaining any applications you run on third-party servers.
SaaS eCommerce Platform
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a licencing model which works across several industries and eCommerce is no exception. This type of eCommerce licences to users and as they are generally cloud-based systems can be accessed through any web.
One of the biggest advantages of this is the sites not needing to be installed on the premise and can be maintained by the user. Instead, the system runs off the provided services who are responsible for the security and maintenance of the site.
With these types of eCommerce, you’re able to achieve the launch relatively quickly; however, you sacrifice your customisability and flexibility due to inaccessible code. This leaves businesses with similar functionality and components to their competitors resulting in even higher importance in producing high-quality content to stand out from competitors.
Not sure which option is right for you?
Find out the right platform with our quiz.
With businesses becoming heavily reliant on digital strategies to engage with audiences, it is essential to choose eCommerce, which is right not only for your users’ experience but also for your operations.
The traditional forms of eCommerce installing servers and maintaining them on-premises are mostly outdated for businesses' needs. With 2020 showing how easily markets can shift, the pressure for retaining customers and how essential eCommerce is for a business, you can no longer afford to have traditional systems requiring site hosting and maintenance.
We are lucky to have worked with some extraordinary clients over the years. Through understanding their business operations, the market they operate and audiences they are targeting we have been able to design, develop, host and maintain eCommerce across the platform spectrum.
As clear fans of eCommerce, our portfolio shows our capability to create efficient and successful eCommerce for our clients and how our dynamic experience offers solutions best suited to their needs.
Get in touch today to discuss your eCommerce needs. Whether you’re looking to build your first site or you’re not happy with the performance and functionality of your existing one, our experts are happy to discuss these options further with you.