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In: Ecommerce, Support, Web Design

Custom Vs Hosted eCommerce Website Software Solutions

by Atak Interactive - Jul 09, 2010

The eCommerce software industry has graduated to level where two main models control the market. Today, most eCommerce websites are created using (1) a hosted, off site, solution or (2) a custom, open source, eCommerce website solution. Both hosted and custom eCommerce solutions are very different from one another. This hubpage explores the differences between the two eCommerce models while asking you, the reader, to keep in mind YOUR website goals in respects to market share, web site traffic expectations, sales expectations, and length of time you wish to have the same website before you make a new one.

Hosted eCommerce Software Solutions

For those who want easy, a Hosted eCommerce solution is usually the quickest and fastest way to go. If you purchase a hosted eCommerce solution, these sites are premade by a software company and the site should work within hours or a couple days from when you purchase the package. The hosted eCommerce solution provider will do all configurations for you included in your package.

Hosted eCommerce solutions are usually less expensive to open (usually no to low startup costs and minimal monthly fee to keep your website up and running). Going further into costs, website owners using a hosted eCommerce solution do not have to worry about website maintenance because, generally, hosted eCommerce solutions will cover server maintenance inclusive in the fee to keep your web site up and running. Hosted eCommerce solutions are again premade, and they are often stable and do not require a ton of error and debugging attention.

There are disadvantages of hosted eCommerce solutions to consider. Hosted eCommerce solutions are not owned by you, the business owner. If you stop paying the monthly fee, you will lose your website and need to find a new solution. Generally, hosted eCommerce solutions are locked in that code cannot be greatly modified making eCommerce cart design and feature customization nearly impossible. With hosted eCommerce solutions, you get the features the system comes with AS IS, without any ability to add/edit/remove features. If you have a basic eCommerce store this is usually not a problem. If you want the ability to modify features and grow the website into a more feature rich solution, you may need to move to a custom eCommerce solution. Those who anticipate high end second generation features may want to consider a custom eCommerce solution that will allow this growth when ready to implement such new features and elements. If one does this, the website can grow without the need to redo the website design completely.

Search Engine Optimization for hosted eCommerce solutions can be more difficult than more robust, custom eCommerce website software solutions. Most of the time, a search engine optimization company is limited in what can be changed to a hosted eCommerce website's structure. Ecommerce SEO requires the tweaking of code due to hosted eCommerce software limitations. Design variance testing also becomes more difficult with hosted solutions because we cannot create multiple versions of landing pages, product pages, and checkout. Sometimes Ecommerce SEO strategy involves creating a few different versions of the home page to see how users react. Another part of this strategy is testing if 1 page checkout or multiple step checkout gets more sales. Hosted eCommerce solutions can make variance testing very difficult to impossible.

Open Source eCommerce Website Solutions (Open Source eCommerce)

Often the term "Open Source," comes across when making an eCommerce software decision. Open Source means that you or your developer has complete access to your eCommerce software code and can make any changes to the website. Given your eCommerce website developer knows design, programming, and search engine optimization very well, the obvious advantages are that your website can work and function as you wish. Custom eCommerce websites can look any way you want, sell products anyway you want, and display products anyway you want.

Custom eCommerce websites cost more, generally, because custom eCommerce require additional programming hours and design hours. These extra hours are used to make a completely custom ecommerce website design with setup the way you need it to be for you and your users. Costs may be more at outset, but if you consider the monthly fees of hosted eCommerce solutions (anywhere from $50 per month to $2,000 per month), return on your investment generally pays off by end of year 1 or 2.

Custom eCommerce websites create a professional, serious, high-end user experience that in the end will provide your users and administrators with the most up to date functions you need without clutter you do not. Custom eCommerce websites allow you to update your website when you need without waiting on your system update itself to standards. If you want to havea new image zoom feature, your coder can get on it right away. If you want to make your checkout a one page checkout, your coder can start right away.

There are good advantages and interesting disadvantages for both hosted and custom eCommerce websites. If you have any questions about which is a correct eCommerce solution for you, please contact ATAK Interactive, a eCommerce Website Development company located in Los Angeles, California.


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