Open E-Commerce: Weighing the Pros and Cons 

When it comes to running an e-commerce business, there are two types of website software you can choose to support your store: open source or software as a service (or SaaS). Their main difference relates to power and cost. Nor is the intention better; Which platform is right for you will depend on your business needs and budget. 

The e-commerce market is expected to reach $4.13 billion in 2020, and is expected to rise, according to Statista. As online shopping continues to grow, many businesses are looking for information about these two types of platforms, especially the benefits they offer and what sets them apart. 

What is Open Source?

 Open source is a powerful and customizable form of software because its source code can be replaced or modified. You buy it (sometimes for free), install it and support it on a server, either in the same building as your office, or from a hosting company, or rented from cloud by the company that provides this service. . As with everything, you get what you pay for: the free version is sometimes stripped down to the basics and doesn’t include all the features you need to run your business. 

The big difference with source is that you manage everything yourself or pay a third party vendor. As they say, with great power comes great work. So unless you have developers/programmers on your team, you will need the help of a development company to build and maintain your open source eCommerce website.

 What is an open platform?

Magento is one of the leading open source platforms, and it is available in three flavors: Magento Open Source (formerly Magento Community Edition), which can be downloaded; Magento Business (formerly Magento Enterprise Edition), which requires you to pay a license fee to switch to advanced features and ticket-based support; and Magento Commerce Cloud, which is a paid version with cloud hosting included in the license fee. Other open source platforms include WooCommerce, OpenCart, PrestaShop, and Shopware.

Advantages of open source 

Change from complete set  

Open source platforms are highly customizable, meaning they offer greater control over the shopping experience. In fact, robust projects can be created by replacing the source code, which makes them ideal for companies with specific niche needs. For example, since many fashion e-commerce companies are looking to offer high-tech solutions such as virtual fashion houses, this makes an open platform an attractive option. The only limit is the ability of your developers, your imagination and, of course, your wallet.

There are unlimited trades 

 There are no limits on what you can sell through an eCommerce site built on an open source platform. You can start in any style and keep growing. This is great for automated shopping websites, since they manage their product numbers in the hundreds of thousands. 

Community support  

Open source platforms are built and reviewed by a community of developers, and programmers share ideas online in blogs and forums. A hosted environment can be great for boosting creativity, solving problems and generally creating amazing websites. However, the level of cooperation opportunities can determine whether you pay a license fee for your version of the platform or not.

Advantages of open source 

Confusion can turn people away 

 In general, software developers and designers create an open site, which means that not only the initial design and creation of the site, but also any ongoing maintenance and improvement work requires a developer. , internal IT department or external company. There is a lot of technical knowledge that is required to get started, which should be kept as a platform and the best practice starts. It can be difficult or at least time consuming and expensive for the average marketer to manage these capabilities themselves. 

Housing and maintenance costs are high 

The initial cost of building an open source site does not include any additional software and configuration that you may need to make the site work as efficiently as you need. The more you change the source code, the more complex it can be and therefore the more expensive it is to maintain. Plugins can often conflict with each other because they are created by different developers, and when they are useless and unsupported, they need to be replaced, which requires finding, purchasing and deleting them, add new ones. This may mean that you have to keep creating new tools for promotion, marketing, etc. Hosting provider fees can also change based on usage and traffic spikes.

Safety and maintenance are within you

Open sites can be vulnerable to hackers. A software provider (eg. Magento) can provide improvements. But it is your responsibility as the customer (or any third party you engage) to install these patches, as well as install upgrades, fix bugs, and meet the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security compliance standards. .

Interested in learning more?

BMBMatrix has a team of highly skilled developers who have extensive experience in building and maintaining open source platforms for a variety of online businesses. If you would like to learn more, contact us to see if an open source platform might be right for your business.


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