E-commerce and multi-channel retailing are sectors that rely on technology to provide the route to market and mechanics of merchandising and selling products. Selecting the right technology platform for your business is therefore of paramount importance, much the same way as selecting the right retail premises is of paramount importance in ‘bricks and mortar’ retailing. Unfortunately, identifying the best technology involves navigating a crowded market with options ranging from free software as a service (SaaS) platforms, through to multi million pound bespoke builds. Which route to take will very much depend on?
If you require a number of bespoke features that are unique to your proposition or want to really differentiate your website from that of competitors, an ‘off the shelf’ shopping platform is unlikely to be fit for purpose. However, it may be possible to enhance an open source solution since you have access to the source code.
The cost of e-commerce platforms can be broken down into licence fees (if proprietary technology), design costs, development costs, hosting and management costs. For most retailers, the single biggest cost is enhancements and development, as it is this that enables them to tailor the platform to meet their business requirements.
Just like any business venture, launching an e-commerce website is an investment that needs to deliver a return. Whilst a free SaaS platform will provide a quick to market, low cost option, it is unlikely to provide the functionality, customer experience or scalability to grow a significant market share unless the product is open source and has been around long enough to ensure that it has the track record that you can rely on.
Here at Store Integrator, we are listing the differences between the Shopintegrator, Catalookstore and Nopcommerce as shown below the table: