Choosing a platform to host your e-commerce store can make or break your brand. While there’s no right or wrong choice, you should aim at a platform that allows your business to grow, or you will spend each stage of growth looking for a platform that can handle your new business needs.
You can choose to host your store on open source or proprietary platforms. The platform you choose should allow you to expand to new markets, increase your sales, protect your data, prevent fraud, and be affordable for your business.
Proprietary software has its positives, such as providing an easy to use solution “out of the box” and built in support. On the other hand, proprietary e-commerce platforms also limit your ability to make changes. When you sign up to one of these platforms you’re agreeing to certain terms such as:
- I don’t need any custom features or functionality.
- I only need the functionality you provide, when you provide them.
- I’m trust that the software is kept updated and uses security best practices.
Open source e-commerce platforms, on the other hand, are an ideal long-term solution for your business due to their flexibility, scalability, and ability to integrate seamlessly with third-party products. Let’s delve in and explore in detail:
If you can dream it, you can create it with open source platforms. Open source e-commerce platforms offer users the flexibility to choose or develop the features they need on their store.
Open source platforms do not limit the customizations you can apply to your store, allowing you to display your products on the platform you envisioned.
Having your e-commerce store on open source software gives your business more independence. It is like owning a small piece of your own land, rather than being a sharecropper on someone’s farm.
This means that you will not encounter problems such as vendor lockout or limitations due to the terms and conditions of using proprietary software.
The liberal terms of open source software allow you to scale without limitations to the number of scaling factors such as the number of users the software can accommodate.
Since an open source software has many developers of different skill levels working, a collaboration between them enhances a growth community, which ensures that open source software remains ahead in technological developments.
These developments are good news to any e-commerce retailer who wants to leverage the power of technology into improving their sales and increase their competitive advantage.
While open software is not free, it does allow free access to technologies. You will not need to renew licenses yearly to access the software, which lowers the costs of running your business in the long term.
Open source e-commerce software has lower costs in its acquisition, utilization, support, and maintenance than proprietary systems. They do not come bundled in several products and functionalities, which tend to raise the price, and businesses cannot opt-out of the features they do not use.
With an open source e-commerce platform, you develop or use third-party tools relevant to your business.
Open source software allows open access to the source code, meaning that you can get support from the community of developers working on the software. In most cases, you find that developers working with open source software can identify the common problems with the platform and develop solutions to this.
These solutions offer businesses opportunities to access solutions to their problems and input from more knowledgeable developers without incurring development costs.
In an argument for or against open or closed source software, security always comes up. Most people mistakenly believe that open source software has a higher risk of security problems as anyone can read the code and identify weaknesses.
This is true. But, the fact that more people can read open source software code increases the chances of finding security risks and developing fixes to enhance the security of this software.
When you entrust your business to a proprietary system, you trust that their source code is secure, and they have the human resources and tools to handle security gaps that could be in their software.
Open source software has more people working on it, finding ways to make it better for everyone. Developers on these platforms must also follow best practices in identifying and fixing any security vulnerabilities.
When developers adhere to security guidelines, software set-up procedures, data validation processes, and data encryption techniques, the resulting software is technologically advanced and secure for businesses.
Developers who support open source software are usually dedicated to keeping the software safe and will often disclose security vulnerabilities publicly or fix them. Their competence, reputation, and motivation are invested in this software and making them better.
Of course, not all open source platforms are safe; you have to evaluate each software on its merits before choosing one for your business.
In addition to the security offered by developers of open source platforms, you can enhance your store’s security by using third party security tools such as fraud detection software to enhance your business’s security. You can integrate these third-party tools seamlessly with the open source e-commerce platform you are using.
For example, some tools can help prevent fraud when customers approach your business with fraudulent documentation by tracing their digital footprint. This footprint reveals the device and mode the user access your site on, a profile of the email the person is using, an analysis of the phone number they are using, and the connection’s IP address.
With such information, you can have better identity proofing and reduce fraud cases that affect your business without affecting your customer’s experience.
Ease of Integration with Third-Party Solutions
Running a successful e-commerce store requires various integrations for different activities and customizations you need. Third-party solutions help you customize your customer experience and fulfill certain functions that make your business more profitable.
For example, accounting software allows you to track your finances while a shipping vendor helps you deliver products to your customers, and an inventory management system enables you to keep track of the units you have.
While you can access some of these with proprietary software, you will face restrictions on how far you can customize them.
Open source software allows you to edit an existing plugin or module or develop your custom plugin that fulfills your business needs.
Such ease of integrations with third-party solutions allows your business to grow and evolve with changing needs.
Setting up an e-commerce store means you have to invest in either closed or open source software. If you are okay with a website with minimal customization, proprietary software will work for you.
However, if you need a solution that will grow with your business and allow you to customize as much as possible, consider using open source software. Open source software allows flexibility, cost savings, ease of integration with third-party tools, transparency (you know what the source code is), and better security.
Disclosure: We might earn commission from qualifying purchases. The commission help keep the rest of my content free, so thank you!