Should You Design Your Own E-commerce Store or Use a Ready Built Marketplace?

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It has never been easier to begin selling products, services, subscriptions and digital downloads via the internet. With a variety of paid and organic mediums available – social media, search engines and email, to name a few – businesses have the ability to reach any particular audience imaginable. Providing access to products and services is only half of the battle, though: the other half is building an e-commerce store or marketplace that customers will love. Many debate on whether a pre-built e-commerce store or a custom-made solution is best for their needs. Below, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of each so that you can make the best decision.

Advantages of a Ready Built Marketplace
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of a ready built marketplace is the cost and time savings associated with it. With content management systems like WordPress, you can easily deploy a fully-functional online store in less than an hour. This allows you to quickly add products, photos, descriptions and payment options with little to no hassle. The money saved by selecting this option can also be substantial.

Advantages of a Custom E-commerce Store
Building your very own e-commerce store provides flexibility and customization that many online marketplaces do not offer. This can be a great way in which to design a website that provides customers with an unprecedented amount of features and options that may not be commonly found in standard marketplace themes and plug-ins. Unique business models often find it necessary to build their very own websites from scratch, using a variety of different programming languages in order to achieve the best possible outcome.

Disadvantages of a Ready Built Marketplace
There are disadvantages with deploying a ready built marketplace instead of a custom-built solution. With a ready built marketplace, there are limitations on how much can be customized, which types of product elements can be added and how the overall framework of the website connects with other elements (such as payment solutions). While some plug-ins can often be downloaded and enabled to improve functionality, an increase in plug-ins can actually slow down overall website performance. This can be damaging to search engine optimization and how well your site ranks in Google, Bing and other search engines.

Disadvantages of a Custom E-commerce Store
Businesses that want to develop a web presence in short order will find it difficult to do so when pursuing a custom e-commerce store. It takes substantially more time to build such a solution, whether you are doing it yourself or paying a professional firm to deploy the solution. It is also worth noting that professional web services for custom e-commerce stores can be quite expensive. Building a professional website from scratch that is designed to sell products and services can cost thousands of pounds. For smaller businesses, this cost may simply be too much – it can take a small business months or years to recoup the costs associated with a custom-built e-commerce website.

Building a comprehensive e-commerce presence can be a rewarding and successful experience. Time, cost and customisation are the three main elements that factor into whether one solution or another is the best option. As always, it is important to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of each in order to ensure you get the best possible investment from whichever decision is made.

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