To build or to buy? eCommerce software, that is.

5 factors to consider before you invest

1 Nov 2021

When it comes to investing in new eCommerce software, it can be tricky to balance short-term needs with long-term goals for growth. While off-the-shelf software often looks more attractive because of its lower price point and shorter time to market, it’s important to evaluate how it will serve you in years to come. Unfortunately, there are no specific criteria to define whether building or buying is best for your business, so how do you decide?

Assess your business needs

Business requirements vary enormously from one organisation to the next. For this reason, it’s crucial to gain a clear picture of the needs your eCommerce software must fulfil – for you and your customer. This will help you determine whether building or buying is best for your business. Here’s where to start:

1. Cost analysis

Price is always a key factor in any business decision-making. When it comes to eCommerce software, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re paying for and do an accurate cost comparison. This needs to consider more than just the initial set-up costs. On face-value, off-the-shelf is considerably cheaper, but it can cost you much more long-term as you pay for add-on features or integrate with other software. Be sure to investigate any ongoing maintenance fees, subscription fees, training costs and other limitations.

2. Competitive needs

While off-the-shelf software is a quick-to-market solution, it’s important to consider whether a custom solution can give you a much-needed competitive edge. Custom eCommerce platforms are unique to your customer needs and can be adapted and changed to continually improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Off-the-shelf software isn’t as adaptable and is also available to competitors – meaning your business can easily be replicated.

3. Time to market

If capitalising on a trend or getting to market quickly is key to your success, off-the-shelf can be a good solution. The time to deploy off-the-shelf software is practically nothing. In contrast, software built to the specifics of a business can take several months to develop – which may not be feasible in all situations.

4. Future integrations and flexibility

Consider what other business systems you currently use (or are likely to in the future) and how easy it will be to integrate them with the eCommerce platform. You can be faced with compatibility issues and the need for plugins with off-the-shelf software, which can lead to inefficiencies. Customised software often includes modules that can be added as your business grows and integrations with other systems as needed.

5. Support requirements

When it comes to troubleshooting (as it no doubt will), be aware of the support on offer. Most ready-made software comes with ongoing support, and if the user base is large, there may also be an online community to draw from. For custom software, you can contact your provider directly to solve any issues or answer queries. Resolving issues quickly is particularly important for some businesses to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.

A responsive, flexible solution is best

A one-size-fits-all approach rarely benefits eCommerce software. Good software is designed to meet both current and future business needs and scales with your eCommerce business as it grows. Taking a long-term view of your business needs and investing in custom software upfront will save you time, money and headaches in years to come.

At Solutionists, we’re experts in eCommerce software. For specialist help finding the right solution for your business, get in touch with the team today.

author:

Solutionists

date published:

1 Nov 2021