Published on February 1st, 2016 | by Guest0
E-Commerce Platform Solutions: Should You Choose the Cloud or a Self-Hosted Website?
Whatever you wish to sell online, merchandise like clothing, or services like music lessons, there’s an important business infrastructure decision that you need to make your mind up on before you proceed — should you put your website, e-commerce shopping cart, software and database together yourself, or should you go with a cloud-based e-commerce platform that gives you a ready-built e-commerce package of every service that you will ever need, already to go?
This decision shouldn’t be unfamiliar
Everyone works with similar situations in a number of areas in life. If you need to do something about your transportation needs, for instance, you choose between using public transportation and your own car. While your car will always be there for you, it also comes with a greater set of costs and responsibilities. You need to not only know how to drive, but also something about getting a car fixed when something goes wrong far away from a mechanic.
Public transportation is the less convenient transportation option, and it won’t take you everywhere you want to go. However, it also costs less and frees you from every responsibility.
The decision that you need to take is not that different when it comes to choosing between self-hosting and cloud hosting: do you want easy e-commerce hosting that is like public transportation in the way it gives you a fixed, non-customizable set of low-cost, low-responsibility solutions, or do you want to take control in your own hands the way you would with a car? Should you put your website, e-commerce shopping cart, software and database together yourself, or should you go with a cloud-based e-commerce platform that gives you a ready-built e-commerce package of every service that you will ever need, already to go? Whatever decision you make, always compare different options.
The downside of the e-commerce platform solution
There are plenty of e-commerce platforms to choose from — Shopify, Volusion and osCommerce, among others. Plenty of good ,small retailers use them to great effect. SMS Audio, LMFAO Party Rock Clothing and Chalkd chalkboards are examples. The fact that these stores offer automated, all-in-one and ready-configured packages makes them very attractive to some.
The downside is that you only get to choose from a number of fixed customization variations. For instance, you don’t get to choose your own CRM or ERP software — you need to go with what they offer you. You also need to deal with higher transaction fees each time you accept credit card payments. Even more problematic, when you go with such a platform, checkout is always provided by the platform provider.
This means that when on the checkout page, customers see the URL of the platform provider, not the one for your business. While most customers are used to it, studies show that they tend to leave with a somewhat poor impression.
Going with self-hosting
When you choose your own host and set up your own website, database, shopping cart, security, image/content delivery, monitoring and configuration, you certainly put in more work and undertake to spend more. Yet, the upside is huge — if you’re serious about the long-term prospects of your business, self-hosting gives you the creative and business control that you need to do exactly as you please. You can get IBM AS400 hosting if you choose, greater security than any other business has, and any kind of advanced website design that you fancy.
Self-hosting makes a lot of sense for those who plan to truly take their business as far as it will go. For those who plan to stay small, though, and e-commerce platform is never a problem.
About the author:
Lela Watkins has her own e-commerce business. She enjoys writing about her experiences to post on the web. Her articles appear mainly on e-commerce websites.