How to select the best eCommerce Solution/Script for your online store?

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Do you know you can setup your online store in less than an hour? Yes, it’s true. Nowadays, you need not worry about which script to use and if support is available for bugs and errors. You have complete buffet of ecommerce solutions to choose from. Below mentioned are the available options;

  • Open source based owned store
  • Hosted ecommerce system (Shopify and BigCommerce)
  • Hosted checkout process and orders management

Most hosted ecommerce software solutions provide the basics to get you started. This includes customizable site templates, an integrated shopping cart, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, inventory management and analytics. All you need to do is create an account and use store management tools for customization.

The challenge lies in choosing the solution besides suited to your needs. Below we have compared the three technologies, listed their pros & cons, and also highlighted their suitability to ecommerce goals.

Let’s begin with open source ecommerce management solutions;

Open source e-commerce shopping cart

Open-source software is a community approach to website development and has contributed hugely in the expansion of web. The technology has made online shop development affordable for business owners looking for web mileage.

Pros of open source shopping cart solution:

  • Open source e-commerce platforms can be downloaded and hosted with any hosting company of your choice. You’re not committed to a particular host.
  • Most of the PHP/MySQL based opensource ecommerce scripts are based on MVC structure and are scalable.
  • From designers and developers perspective, open source solutions is better choice.
  • It is also big on savings for highlighted reasons.

Cons of choosing open source shopping cart:

  • Less secure compared to other options like custom programmed eCommerce solutions and hosted eCommerce Solutions.
  • The downside is that support is likely limited to a forum or wiki.
  • End users who want to set up their own site will likely face more obstacles with an open source and self-hosted system. Assistance from an ecommerce development company would be required.

List of open source e-commerce shopping cart solutions available online:

Open Source Platforms

  • MagentoCommerce – Suitable for Medium and Large Busineses
  • OpenCart – Suitable for Small and Medium Size players.
  • OScommerce – Suitable for small businesses and startups
  • PrestaShop (PHP/MySQL)
  • CubeCart (PHP/MySQL)
  • SimpleCart js
  • CREloaded (PHP/MySQL)
  • Ubercart

Looking for a custom, secure, and easy to set-up ecommerce platform?
Check out Yo!Kart

Hosted Ecommerce Solutions:

These solutions are offered by companies with highly advanced ecommerce platform that helps people in setting up their ecommerce shop on their own. The initial expenses are low and you are charged for the package you choose. From hosting to maintenance, everything is managed by the service provider for a monthly fee.

Pros of choosing hosted ecommerce solutions:

  • You’ll get hosting support and ecommerce system from the same place.
  • Since it is hosted, most security related issues and details will be taken care of.
  • Low cost is making hosted ecommerce software packages popular.
  • No requirement of IT knowhow from your end.

Another benefit of hosted ecommerce is that most solutions are designed to grow with your business. You typically won’t pay for features you aren’t using today but will have the option of upgrade if need arises.

Cons of hosted ecommerce software solution:

  • You won’t be able to choose your own host
  • Custom development is challenging & costly
  • Limited set of ecommerce website templates with shopping cart
  • Not very cost effective in long run
  • 3rd party apps integration and custom features programming is mostly restricted.

Hosted ecommerce solution is better suited to those who want to start small and wish to work with do-it-yourself solution. This is a cost effective solution for beginners but has its own set of limitations in the long run.

List of hosted ecommerce solutions service providers:

  • Shopify
  • Highwire
  • Izzonet
  • Business Catalyst
  • Flying Cart
  • uShops
  • Yokaboo.com

Need a flexible hosted solution that allows you to migrate to self-hosting?
Try our startup package

Hosted Shopping Cart Solutions

Hosted shopping cart will allow you to use the CMS and host of your choice, while shopping cart and checkout process will be taken care of by different service provider. Security details will also be handled by the chosen partner.

Pros of hosted shopping cart solution:

  • You will have control over CMS, design, and hosting
  • Only payment gateway and ordering process will be hosted
  • More secure and reliable than open source solutions
  • Support available if problem persists

Cons of hosted shopping cart solution:

  • Hosted shopping carts are comparatively expensive due to high monthly fee. As profitability goes up, the expenses too increase. Some service providers even charge a fee for inactivity.
  • Is the chosen company will decide to make cart upgrades, your website will be affected

List of hosted shopping cart service providers:

  • FoxyCart
  • DPD
  • Sendowl

Comparing Hosted, Open Source & Hosted Shopping Cart Ecommerce Solutions

Parameters Hosted Solution (SaaS) Ecommerce Software Open Source Ecommerce Software Hosted Shopping Cart Ecommerce Software
Setup Cost Low setup costs (or moderate setup costs for a custom design) High or Very High setup costs (for code customization, template integration, testing, implementation) Moderate costing as owner can choose hosting and design of his own choice
Skills Can be implemented and maintained by anyone with decent computer skills There is a high learning curve for most users. Easily implemented and maintained by a specialized developer Little technical expertise required to configure e-commerce operations
Hosting Hosting included in cost, upgrades and downgrades are smooth Hosting fees charged separately, and upgrading and downgrading server capacity is complicated Hosting Fee charged separately and has to be decided by owner
Features Limited flexibility, but many useful features are included, without paying for extensions or custom coding Great flexibility to customize features through extensions and custom coding – but these costs Fully flexible regarding website functionality, check-out options can have less flexibility
Support Full support from software developers included – just one number to call No support from software developers – support must be contracted privately Support only related to shopping cart is available, rest everything has to be taken care
Upgrades Upgrades, bug fixes and new features pushed out to all stores automatically, with no work for the store owner Any customizations of code have to be manually integrated with future versions and bug fixes released by the software developer Upgrade has to be manually done with future versions, No extra effort required for up gradation related to shopping cart
3rd Party Software Only with pre-approved partners since no access to root files are Root files are accessible and basically any 3rd part Only with pre-approved partners
Integration Provided Software can be integrated Provided

Each ecommerce solution comes with its own set of benefits and limitations. You need to see your website requirements, budget and weigh the options accordingly.

Finding the best ecommerce software solution

As highlighted above, you need to identify your priorities and search the vendors offering ecommerce software packages suited to them. Below questions will give you a better idea;

  • Do you plan to dominate smartphones along with desktops?
  • Do you only want to target local buyers or plan to operate at a bigger level?
  • Do you have plans to grow with passage of time or are happy operating at small level?
  • What ecommerce features are most crucial for you?

Once you have a list of the features you need, look for ecommerce software vendors with proven track record and potential to deliver the technology to meet your business goals.

“When it comes to choosing a shopping cart, there is no best solution. Only best solution for you

Your final choice should depend on:

  • Your business goals in terms of size and operation.
  • Your budget before choosing an ecommerce shopping cart.

Here are some quick pointers, to get you started:

  • Product line – If it is small, go for hosted solution. If it is large with multiple categories, subcategories, and product attributes, then, go for open source ecommerce system.
  • Budget – Evaluate your margins and choose the option accordingly. You also need to decide whether you would like to pay one-time or monthly.
  • Technical expertise – If your team can manage minor website changes, then open source systems are recommended. Otherwise, hosted solution is better alternative with only drawback that you can’t modify hosted solutions as per your growing business requirements.
  • Time to get started – Open source systems can take few days to become functional; sometimes even weeks. If you want to start quickly, then, hosted solution is best.

Custom programmed e-commerce solutions

Custom programming gives your site a custom edge over the competition and makes it stand apart with unique features. For example, you may want customized search functionality because of the type of product you sell. Not many of your competitors have it, and you are confident that it will get you the sales.

Another example – stock levels are important for you. Hired ecommerce developer will have to sync the website database with your in-house inventory management system. That will definitely run up the website cost but save hours of paying employees.

Create a list of all ecommerce features that need custom attention and share it with your ecommerce development company. This will help hired team in giving you an accurate cost estimate.

Advantages of custom e-commerce software development:

  • Companies offering ecommerce business solutions manage website design, development, implementation as well as support.
  • Custom software solutions match the exact needs of business requirements.
  • Easier to redesign and reprogram. This brings down the overall costs.
  • Custom software solutions will never affect or interfere with smooth functioning of the business.
  • Provides excellent flexibility required for small and medium range businesses to create profitable scenario.
  • Enables easy adaptability to changing market trend.
  • Simple and easy to use since custom software is developed with your needs and requirements in mind.

Besides a completely custom programmed approach, building your online store on a readymade script is another viable solution, especially if you want your business to get going instantly. But make sure the turnkey script you use is customizable. Yo!Kart, developed by FATbit Technologies, offers such customization options, as well as provides a flexible hosting plan.

In case, a hosted ecommerce platform is the solution as per your business needs and goals, then don’t forget to get a unique look for your website. And if you feel unsure about which theme and template to choose for your unique online store, then we are here to help.

Still not sure which ecommerce solution is best for you?
Discuss your requirements with our team. Let us highlight the best options for you
Schedule a free consultation session

Disclaimer: The Blog has been created with consideration and care. We strive to ensure that all information is as complete, correct, comprehensible, accurate and up-to-date as possible. Despite our continuing efforts, we cannot guarantee that the information made available is complete, correct, accurate or up-to-date. We advise - the readers should not take decisions completely based on the information and views shared by FATbit on its blog, readers should do their own research to further assure themselves before taking any commercial decision. The 3rd party trademarks, logos and screenshots of the websites and mobile applications are property of their respective owners, we are not directly associated with most of them.



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Comments (3)
Molly Horan

I have been using BigCommerce from quite some time now but have decided to switch because I’m tired of the recurring monthly hosting and transaction charges. As rightly pointed out, the store was nowhere easy to setup or customize. Once it was setup, everything worked smoothly. The issue is, now after 2 years, I feel I want more customized options which are easily supported by an open source system. Have decided to get my new store built on OpenCart. Thanks for reassuring me about my choice.

Ryder

Hello! I realize this is kind off off-topic hhowever I had to ask.
Does operating a well-established website such as yours require a lot
off work? I am brand new to blogging but I do write in my journal daily.
I’d likke to start a bllog so I can eeasily share my own experience and thoughts online.Please let mee know if you hafe
any suggestions or tkps for new aspiring blog
owners. Thankyou!

FATbit Chef Post author

Hi Ryder,

You can setup your own blog on WordPress which is a free web software to create blog/websites. Free WordPress blogs require no technical know-how but if you want to implement some customization in design and functionality, only experts can help you.

You can discuss your requirements with our experts for free advice. Contact us