One of the most crucial decisions made during an eCommerce project comes at the very beginning when making a platform selection. There are countless vendors and technologies available when making this decision, but it ultimately comes down to what kind of platform will work best for your company.
Choosing your technology is not just a platform decision; it’s a business strategy decision as well. Between total cost of ownership, required in-house expertise, and levels of customization, there are so many factors that shape the eCommerce platform decision.
Another thing to consider is existing systems that will need to interact with the new eCommerce technology. Knowing what works with those systems and how they will function with an upcoming eCommerce implementation will help you determine your requirements for the project ahead. Remember: your business strategy should drive your technology investment, not the other way around.
With all of that information in mind, you can begin to evaluate your eCommerce platform options. Below, we compare two of the most popular choices for an eCommerce project: licensed, such as Magento Enterprise, and Software as a Service.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
When it comes to Software as a Service, one of the oft-quoted selling points is that it is a good option for those organizations that want to quickly set up a store without having to deal with hosting and site management. The risk of giving those responsibilities to the vendor, however, is that the vendor then has control of your site’s performance and stability. While selecting the right partner for a project is always a big decision, selecting a SaaS vendor can make or break your eCommerce project.
In order to make sure you pick the right SaaS vendor for your organization, Oracle compiled an eBook with questions to ask to help make the decision. Based on client examples from the vendor, be sure to consider the following questions:
- How does your organization compare to the other clients?
- How will other clients’ potential growth affect your site’s performance?
- Do you have the opportunity to grow into this platform?
- Will the level of service you receive be dependent on the needs of other clients?
Of course some things about SaaS may be enticing, such as the vendor’s responsibility to update technology or add new features instead of the business owner. But keep in mind the answers you get to the above questions, as they will significantly impact the success of your eCommerce site.
The most obvious advantage of a licensed platform is the amount of flexibility available to the retailer. There is access to the site’s code, giving you the opportunity to customize the site to fit your organizations specifications. Additionally, there is the freedom to host the platform with third-party hosters like Simple Helix, using internal IT, or any other option you prefer. But, that flexibility is the result of the platform being open source, which requires assembly. While some people see this as a source of customization, others see it as complexity.
Much like SaaS, the success of your licensed platform will depend on the partner chosen. As Magento CEO Mark Lavelle points out, there are thousands of certified developers and “8,000 extensions that work on the Magento platform.” That provides plenty of opportunities for quality, reliable customization work.
Magento also offers many crucial features without any customization at all, such as responsive design and marketing tools. It does this at a price that is far lower than some of its competitors as well.
Here at Briteskies we are big fans of Magento and all that it offers, but we’re even bigger fans of retailers finding the right eCommerce solution for their organization. Be sure to take the time to compare your options before jumping into a project. And when you’re ready to implement Magento, contact our certified team.