28 February 2020 Jackson Last Updated: 09 February 2024 Pros and cons of “off-the-shelf” Ecommerce platforms When setting up a new ecommerce website or revamping an existing one, choosing the right ecommerce platform is crucial. There are two main options: “off-the-shelf” ecommerce solutions or a bespoke solution developed specifically for your needs. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so the choice will depend on your needs and budget. Off-the-shelf eCommerce platforms: Pros and Cons Off-the-shelf eCommerce solutions are generally cheaper than bespoke solutions since there are lower development costs. Although you will still need to have a developer implement the platform, you will pay for the technology upfront. While there is slightly less flexibility with off-the-shelf solutions, developers can still adapt most eCommerce platforms to meet your needs. Customisation will incur some costs, but most things are possible. One of the main advantages of using an off-the-shelf eCommerce platform is that it is usually much simpler to connect with marketing platforms, either directly or through plugins. These platforms will also usually come with support for users, although wait times may be long during busy periods. Off-the-shelf eCommerce platforms have been used for years and are able to service most websites. Their suitability has been proven over the years, and their many happy customers are evidence that they can be trusted to perform for many clients and businesses. Off-the-shelf eCommerce platforms are also PCI compliant (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard), ensuring that companies who accept, process, store or transmit payments have a secure environment. Bespoke Ecommerce Solutions A bespoke ecommerce solution is a custom-built platform that is tailored to the specific needs of a business. One of the main advantages of a bespoke solution is its flexibility, as it can be designed to meet unique ecommerce needs and can be updated and modified as those needs change over time. Additionally, a bespoke solution can offer greater control over the user experience, branding, and functionality of an online store, which can be particularly important for businesses with a strong brand identity. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to a bespoke ecommerce solution. One is that it can be more expensive and time-consuming to develop than off-the-shelf platforms, particularly for businesses with limited resources. Additionally, a bespoke solution may require a higher level of technical expertise to develop and maintain, which can be challenging for businesses without in-house technical expertise. Finally, as with any platform, there is always a risk of security vulnerabilities or other technical issues that can impact the functionality of an online store, which may be more difficult to address with a bespoke solution. Overall, while a bespoke ecommerce solution can offer a high degree of flexibility and control for businesses, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons before deciding to pursue a custom-built platform. Businesses should weigh the potential benefits against the cost and technical challenges of development, as well as the ongoing maintenance and security considerations. So which eCommerce platform is right for you? What your requirements are will determine which eCommerce platform or bespoke eCommerce solution is right for you. Your website developer should be able to help you through this decision so that you can find a solution that will help your website to be successful. Shopify Shopify is an ecommerce platform that has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ease of use and range of features. Some of the pros of using Shopify include its user-friendly interface, which makes it easy to set up and manage an online store, its customisable themes that allow for a personalised look and feel, and its extensive app store that offers a range of tools and integrations to enhance functionality. Additionally, Shopify provides a secure and reliable platform for processing payments and managing inventory. However, there are also some potential cons to using Shopify. One major disadvantage is that it can be expensive, with monthly fees and transaction fees adding up quickly. Additionally, while the platform offers a lot of flexibility, there are still limitations in terms of customisation, particularly for more complex ecommerce needs. Finally, as with any platform, there is always a risk of downtime or technical issues that can impact the functionality of an online store. Overall, while Shopify can be a great choice for many ecommerce businesses, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons before committing to the platform. WooCommerce WooCommerce is an ecommerce platform that is built on top of WordPress, making it a popular choice for businesses that are already using WordPress for their website. One of the main advantages of using WooCommerce is its flexibility, as it offers a wide range of customisable themes and plugins that can be used to create a unique online store. Additionally, WooCommerce is a free and open-source platform, meaning that businesses can save money on upfront costs and have greater control over the development of their store. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to using WooCommerce. One is that it can be more difficult to set up and manage than some other ecommerce platforms, particularly for businesses without experience in website development. Additionally, while WooCommerce is a powerful platform, it may not be the best choice for businesses with very large or complex ecommerce needs. Finally, as with any platform, there is always a risk of security vulnerabilities or other technical issues that can impact the functionality of an online store. Overall, while WooCommerce can be a great choice for businesses that are already using WordPress and are willing to invest the time and resources into developing their store, it may not be the best choice for all ecommerce businesses. Magento Magento is a popular ecommerce platform that offers a wide range of features and customisation options for businesses of all sizes. One of the main advantages of using Magento is its scalability, as it is designed to handle large volumes of traffic and complex ecommerce needs. Additionally, Magento offers a robust set of tools for managing inventory, processing payments, and analysing data, which can help businesses optimise their online stores for greater success. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to using Magento. One is that it can be more difficult to set up and manage than some other ecommerce platforms, particularly for businesses without experience in website development. Additionally, Magento is a paid platform, with fees based on the size and complexity of the store, which may be prohibitive for some businesses. Finally, as with any platform, there is always a risk of security vulnerabilities or other technical issues that can impact the functionality of an online store. Overall, while Magento can be a great choice for businesses with large or complex ecommerce needs, it may not be the best choice for all ecommerce businesses due to its cost and level of technical expertise required. Back to blog list About the Author Jackson Lead Web Developer Jackson is our lead developer and has revolutionised the way we build websites at boxChilli, introducing new standards and pushing the latest technology. Swooped up straight out of the University of Portsmouth, Jackson has been at boxChilli for 5 years now. But, as a self-taught developer, Jackson’s journey began at the youthful age of 16 with Adobe Dreamweaver. In the wild, Jackson can be found exploring the countryside or on his driveway cleaning his car for the 3rd time in a week. Oh, and he thinks dinosaurs are cool.