There are numerous free open source solutions, all of them let you create online store free. You have Magento, WooCommerce, OpenCart, etc. You also have a myriad of paid platforms like Shopify, Square, BigCommerce, and more – So, which should you choose?
Why Free Is Not A Good Idea
The free open-source platforms work great as eCommerce solutions. They’re free to use and provide access to the source code to help you customize the features to suit your requirements.
Which sounds like the ultimate solution, free and full freedom for deep customization. However, there are many challenges in using them for your store:
Understanding The Features And Functions Of The Online Platform
The software’s free to use, but how do you set it up and create online store free? You have access to full documentation, but you have to sift through various changes and versions to understand how the platform works. It’s open-source so it has gone through several modifications. Even with the standardized version, you may find it difficult to understand the functionalities and features from the documentation.
In spite of being free, you need to pay for essential add ons to run your business smoothly
Do You Have The Technical Skills To Configure And Manage The Platform?
If not, you will need to hire a professional service to take care of the configuration, store design, SEO, etc.
How Do You Take Care Of Regular Maintenance And Updates?
With open-source software, you’re on your own when it comes to installation, configuration, regular maintenance, upgrades, etc. Managing an open source software requires a lot of time, effort, and technical know-how.
As you’re using open-source software, anyone can modify the source code and so the software may have many vulnerabilities. You have to keep up with all the security patch releases and apply them to the platform. Otherwise, you’ll be extremely vulnerable to hackers, which may result in security breaches, loss of data, stolen data, loss of faith among customers, etc.
Can You Afford The Costs Involved?
If you don’t have the time or the knowledge for all the backend management, you will need to hire a team of professionals and pay them a salary to keep your site up and running smoothly.
Do You Have The Time To Work With Different Service Providers Who Keep Your Store Running?
eCommerce involves so many different elements – web design, development of extensions/plugins, the interaction of the platform with other business solutions like your accounting software, supply chain, etc. You will need to work with the hosting service, database administration staff, web admins, programmers, and so on. All these just to keep your backend running.
Problems Of Growth And Scaling
Your business will eventually outgrow your current infrastructure like the hosting space, bandwidth, processing power, etc. You may be, eventually, forced to migrate to other vendors for certain basic requirements.
The Benefits Of Paid SaaS eCommerce Platforms
Fully Hosted solutions like Shopify have a higher entry cost. However, there are many benefits to using them:
Clarity On The Basic Costs
With paid platforms, you know where you stand on the basic costs of the platform. You get a set of features for each plan and you choose the plan based on requirements. If there are other fees like transaction fees, they’re specified so you can get an idea of additional costs.
Clarity On Feature Sets
With a SaaS solution, you’re pretty clear on the features and functionalities you will be getting. These are listed clearly on the website, the feature sets for each pricing plan. You can also quickly contact the vendor and resolve your queries.
Easy To Design And Start Your Store
Fully hosted eCommerce platforms provide professional templates and intuitive design tools to help you set up your store and load the products, with no need for any technical knowledge. You design your store and get it ready to sell your products within hours.
No Worries About Backend Management And Updates
You’ll not be faced with the task of installing and configuring the backend, updating the various elements of the backed, software upgrades, data backup, etc. All these are taken care of by the vendor of the SaaS solution.
Well Implemented Security
Paid cloud-based eCommerce platforms are always worried about security and always stay on top of new threats and apply security patches. They provide uptime guarantee, so you can stay free of worries about crashes and data loss.
Shopify allows you to easily scale your business
As your business evolves, you can upgrade plans, you can use apps to extend functionalities. If you need more resources like storage, bandwidth, processing power, etc, these are taken care of seamlessly, as all the resources are on the cloud. So, scaling becomes very easy.
So, for most people, a SaaS, like Shopify, might be the better option even if you cannot create online store free. Shopify, for instance, lets you build your store within minutes, try out the platform for free for 14 days, to get familiar with all the features. Shopify gives you the ability to quickly add products, manage inventory across stores and sales channels. You can create and share customer profiles across sales channels.
Shopify offers you all the tools and support you need to successfully run a business.
Shopify also offers heaps of apps, helping merchants to increase their sales while providing the visitors with some great experiences. According to trytada.com. apps like TADA, offer interactive email collection pop-ups unique discounts to help merchants collect more subscribers and sales while keeping their website visitors engaged and happy!
Shopify offers a painless checkout experience for customers. Connect with your choice of payment gateways, connect with many shipping companies. You also get SSL certificates and full PCI Compliance out-of-the-box.