In ecommerce, your website will make or break your business.
One key factor that can influence your site’s performance is who builds it: Will you build it yourself using a website builder, or will you hire an ecommerce web developer to build it for you? Both options have their pros and cons.
While a site built with a website builder can often be launched quickly and at a low cost, it often provides little in terms of customization and scalability. On the other hand, custom ecommerce sites can provide the flexibility and scalability you may need but at a higher cost.
Whether your ecommerce business is already using a commercial website builder, or you’re just getting started, there are several factors to consider when determining if a custom ecommerce development is right for you. Let’s cover several reasons why now may be the best time to upgrade!
When Custom Ecommerce Development Will Benefit Your Business
There are several situations where a website builder just may not cut it. If you feel that your business could benefit from any of the following, it may be time to start building that custom ecommerce site.
More powerful SEO and marketing tools.
One thing’s for certain: Your site won’t sell your products or services if no one knows about it. That’s where SEO and marketing tools come in; the better the tools, the better you’ll be at promoting your products or services.
Most website builders offer some SEO and marketing features, but they may not be enough to adequately promote your business. Features tailored to your unique business offerings can give you the opportunity to promote your business in a way that fits you and, hopefully, drives your bottom line. In an era when everyone is doing SEO, you need the most effective tools possible, and the most comprehensive strategy—if you're not doing everything you can to achieve rankings on SERPs (search engine results pages), you're not going to win—because your competition most likely IS.
Integration with existing business systems.
Maybe your business already uses various systems to effectively manage orders, track shipping, and more. And if you’re using those systems alongside a commercial website builder, you may be working across multiple platforms to get things done, which can slow down your operations significantly. To make it easy and keep everything in one place, your developer can design an ecommerce system that integrates with your existing business systems. This often makes all of your systems more accessible, your employees more efficient, and finally, keeps site management simple.
Complex checkout processes.
In many cases, a standard ecommerce shopping cart will suffice. But in others, a unique checkout process may be required. For instance, you may need customers to be vetted before they can place an order, to offer individualized prices to customers, or a checkout process that allows customers to place highly customized orders.
For a more complex checkout process, going custom is likely your best bet. While website builders may offer some shopping cart customizations, a developer can work with you to ensure that your shopping cart offers the functionality you need, while remaining user-friendly.
High traffic volumes.
If your website frequently experiences high traffic volumes, a site built using a website builder may slow down significantly, if not crash. This can drive away potential customers and you'll obviously lose conversions.
A custom ecommerce site, however, can be designed to better accommodate user traffic of this capacity. Your developer can design your custom commerce site to sustain heavy traffic, allowing it to perform as it should and continue providing the ideal user experience.
Scalability and speed.
Perhaps your traffic hasn’t reached insurmountable volumes yet, but is that something you anticipate in the coming months? Or perhaps you expect to significantly increase your site’s content load by offering more products?
In either case, you may need a site with the scalability to grow as your business does. As such, your site will be able to maintain ideal page loading times, which can play a significant role in encouraging customers to stay on your site and start making those purchases.
Reduce bounce rate, increase conversions.
While website builders seem to be getting better and better these days, they’re not known for offering the best user experience. For instance, website builders often provide little room to customize the user experience you provide and, as such, stand apart from your competitors.
In order to reduce your bounce rate, and encourage users to convert, a custom ecommerce site may be necessary. Not only can you create a custom shopping experience specific to your target audience, but you can create one that outshines what your competitors have to offer.
Better mobile compatibility.
With more and more people using their mobile devices to browse the Internet, it should come as no surprise that more users are also shopping on their mobile devices. Especially if your target audience is more likely to shop mobile, you may need your site to be mobile friendly.
Many website builders include mobile compatibility, but the more complex your ecommerce site, the more likely you will be to need a custom mobile solution for your ecommerce site to be mobile responsive. That way, you can offer a great user experience for both desktop and mobile users alike.
When a Custom Ecommerce Development Isn’t the Best Fit
Although a custom ecommerce site is often a great way to take your ecommerce business to the next level, it’s not the best choice for everyone. Here are two common situations when opting to use a website builder, at least for a while, may be the better decision.
You’re just starting out.
For a business that’s just getting started, trying a website builder first may be worthwhile. While it may not have every feature that you’re hoping for, this will give you the opportunity to test your ecommerce business venture.
Once you’ve launched your business, and it’s proven to be a success, you can feel confident migrating your content onto a stronger platform, such as Drupal or Wordpress. Moreover, you’ll have a better idea of what customized features your business would benefit from.
You have a very low budget.
As mentioned, hiring a custom software developer to build your ecommerce site is going to cost quite a bit more than using a commercial website builder. Unless you hire an offshore software development team, you’ll likely spend at least $150 an hour for development, which can add up very quickly.
That being said, using a website builder is much cheaper. For example, Shopify, a popular ecommerce website builder, offers monthly plans ranging from $29/mo to $299/mo. With a custom domain, theme, and plug-ins, it can provide you with at least enough to get by.
Ready to Get Started?
If you’ve decided that custom ecommerce development services would be right for you, you’ll need to hire a software development team to build it for you. Choosing a team that understands your business model, budget, and vision is key to acquiring the ideal site for you.
For a team you can depend on, ClikFocus is here. For over a decade, our team has ecommerce systems that have boosted traffic and driven conversions, and we can do the same for you.