If you’re on the market for a new e-commerce platform, the first thing you need to consider is if you’re going to use an out-of-the-box or a custom-made e-commerce solution.
Out-of-the-box e-commerce solutions like Shopify and WooCommerce have a range of benefits, but they don’t suit any company’s needs. Generally, there is a compromise between ease of use and how much customization and complexity you can expect. Although you may have various templates to choose from, the features are often limited to colors, fonts, sizes, and sometimes a few elements of design. So, even though the out-of-the-box solution looks cheaper, is it worth considering in the long run?
Custom e-commerce solutions may require a higher investment of time and money, but they return in the form of increased control, flexibility, and scalability.
You will need to choose very well and analyze if the significant advantages of customizing your e-commerce website outweigh the comfort of using a ready-made product.
Here are some reasons that can help you make the best decision
You offer products that can be customized
If you want to offer your customers the option to customize the products they buy, you should be making use of a custom e-commerce website.
One common example is a gift e-commerce website that lets the user create the sizes, colors, fonts, and graphics of each product, be it a cup, a T-shirt, a greeting card, or many others.
A standard e-commerce website will not be able to offer all these options for the customers. Complex orders like this would require a complex, custom-made e-commerce solution.
You have unique shipping options
Selling items that are consistent in weight and size, with no special considerations required is one point, but the broader diversity of products your website will offer, the more diverse your clients’ shipping concerns will be. In this case, a custom e-commerce solution is the one needed.
For instance, your clients may want to choose between different delivery companies. Another problem that could arise is the shipping of items that require temperature control. And there are many other aspects to take into account, depending on your business type.
You ship for various vendors
Another good justification for using a custom-built e-commerce system is the use of several vendors when it comes to shipping. The more vendors you are related to, the more likely it is that you will need to use various carriers and have special shipping requirements. This issue can be addressed only if you have a well-developed, highly customizable software solution.
You have discounts or promotional codes
An out-of-the-box e-commerce platform may provide vouchers or promotional codes, but it may also be very restrictive or limited.
For example, if a vendor does not enable discount coupons on a type of product, you might want to enable customers to use the code only up to a certain number of items, or to prevent the code from being used with particular items or brands.
Not every standard software solution can adapt to these particular rules. In this case, using a custom e-commerce solution will allow you to have as many rules about vouchers and promo codes as you like – even incredibly specific ones.
You need to integrate with your existing business systems
For e-commerce websites, the need for integration with other systems and software is a very popular one.
Depending on the back-end software that you are using, it can be quite easy to integrate with your e-commerce website, or it may take a lot of effort. You’ll probably want to use a custom-made solution in this latter situation.
Seamless integration can be of huge benefit to your e-Commerce business and is normally only possible through customization.
Your clients have specific needs
Some companies serve an impatient client base and want to make the shopping experience as easy and quick as possible, while others want to develop a feeling of familiarity, customization, and friendliness. A custom e-commerce website may be the ideal way to provide those, depending on your clients and the shopping experience you seek to build.
You have specific reporting needs
Your clients may wish to access a summary of all their orders from your website during a specified timeframe for compliance reasons. Being able to generate some reports is a feature that not all out-of-the-box e-commerce solutions have.
When running an e-commerce platform, the prevailing security issue is protecting the personal information of your clients, in particular, their credit card information.
Without third-party support via a custom-made e-commerce solution, it’s hard for businesses to know that they are correctly handling the security aspects.
The clients must be provided with the most secure transactions when doing business with you. Using a customized solution helps you benefit from the experience of a great team of developers and security professionals who know best how to protect clients’ data.
You want to create amazing features for your clients
If your business is one of a kind, the website should portray that uniqueness by providing amazing features.
Once you’ve reached the growth phase, you can start to build a package of great features to enhance your conversion rates. You may want to create, for example, a customized shopping experience with a different look and feel for each customer.
Most pre-built e-commerce solutions are losing additional features in favor of a generic, consistent product. This means that if you want to develop really special customer experience, a custom-built website will be the best option.
You’ve outgrown your standard e-commerce solution
At a certain point, every business begins to feel a growing pain as it realizes that out-of-the-box software can’t do whatever you want or need. This is probably about the same time you are focused on improving metrics such as average customer revenue, number of returning customers, and many others.
Many businesses find it almost impossible to return to using a pre-build e-commerce solution, after using a customized one. The convenience and simplicity of having the software created exactly how you want, based on your most deep desires is just too strong.
You need to automatically manage the inventory
Another problem as the company expands is being able to always keep a good amount of goods in stock. To do so, you will need to communicate with vendors to be able to refill your inventory when you run low.
Custom-built e-commerce websites can connect to your inventory management system and vendor network so your stock is automatically handled.
Why is custom software the best solution?
Unless you’re a big business with professional requirements right out of the gate, you’ll probably start with an out-of-the-box solution for your e-commerce website.
However, as your sales and customer base grow, you’ll feel the need for a more personalized website. If you have requirements such as those described above, such as different features for your customer base, various shipping regulations, or promotional codes, then you will be out of luck with almost any out-of-the-box solution.
When evaluating an e-commerce website the most significant question to ask is: will it develop with you? Can your website manage basic tasks such as selling things, hoarding items, and making returns? As you get more products and vendors and expand to represent more areas, which solution is going to grow right next to you? The answer is a custom e-commerce website! All you need to do is connect with a trustworthy software development company to support you with the software you need.
At WebChain we believe that custom e-Commerce solutions are the best! Our team is highly qualified in adapting e-Commerce platforms to work for your business. For more information about what we do, please feel free to contact us!