One of the most common discussions we have with prospective ecommerce clients is which shopping cart or all-in-one ecommerce software solution is best? The answer: “it’s complicated!” That’s why it’ so important to iron out all of the details, requirements, workflow and operations before settling on an ecommerce platform, or stand-alone shopping cart. Some of these factors are:
- Number of products being sold, and plans for future expansion
- Internal resources for daily web management
- IT and customer service
- Order fulfillment (i.e. ship from internal warehouse, drop-ship, etc.)
- Online marketing strategy (i.e. social media, PPC landing pages, affiliates)
- Internal resources for marketing (email campaigns, SEM, SMM, etc.)
- Custom or unique needs related to operations, marketing, etc.
- Industry compliance and regulations (i.e. PCI, FDA, FINRA)
- Allocated budget for both website and ongoing services
All of these components and many more must be discussed in detail before solutions can be compared. And from there, a sound recommendation can be made. Solutions range from the most basic – like Etsy, for individuals looking to sell handmade products – to those that rival the functionality of Amazon.com, and everything in between.
Many of those in between are open-source, hosted solutions that charge a monthly fee (ranging from $9.99 – $1,500+) for use of pre-existing themes or templates, SSL certificate, web hosting, and more. Some charge a setup fee, and most charge overage fees for exceeding bandwidth or storage allocations, as well as small fee per transaction (ranging from 1-5%, depending upon the service tier selected). E-tailer clients also usually receive product updates at no cost when new features are released.
A select few, like Ecommerce Creator™, are closed source solutions that are best suited for enterprise-level ecommerce businesses whose requirements exceed the capabilities of the hosted solution providers. Because this type of ecommerce solution is offered for a one-time license fee and websites are custom designed, optimized for search engines, produced and installed separately on a dedicated hosting environment, there are absolutely no limitations and any unique needs or requirements for integrations can be developed on a client-by-client basis.
For example, if the website must integrate seamlessly with an existing back-end CRM, or orders must be encrypted and sent via secure FTP to an off-site fulfillment center, or in-depth reports must be obtained for multiple departments, any functionality whatsoever can be customized to meet the needs of that particular client.