Are you thinking about migrating your eCommerce site? With so many options, it can be overwhelming. Especially since this is your livelihood. Whether you’re just starting out and need some guidance or are looking to make a change in your business, we have one simple tip. Don’t worry.
In this guide, we’ll talk you through everything you need to know when it comes to choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business.
Hosted versus self-hosted
When choosing a platform, you have the choice between fully hosted or self-hosted platforms. Both provide the foundations on which eCommerce businesses are built:
- An internet connection
- A shopping cart
- Product pages
- Content management systems
But, after this, their differences are vast. A self-hosted platform is like a house your design from scratch. You buy the plot of land and customise everything to your taste until it’s fully livable. Hosted is more like a five-star hotel. They design everything for you to provide a fantastic, easy, top-quality experience.
Which you choose will probably come down to the size of your business, your funds, and the features you need. Self-hosted platforms are more suitable for those with both time and money. They’re more likely to be long-running, large businesses who have the money to spend on building servers and designing their site and features from scratch. This can cost over £10,000 depending on size and functionality. Hosted platforms come with a range of existing features and add-on packages perfect for businesses looking for affordable hosting without compromising on functionality. This leads us to the next point.
With self-hosting, the cost largely depends on you. You must pay hosting fees, web developer fees, and other fees associated with installation and setup. You also have to spend money on technical support for your site and setup is often more time-consuming and expensive.
Hosted options provide a complete service, however, pricing options vary. Some offer fixed costs, meaning you pay a set amount to use the platform annually or each month. This often has a limit, such as number of user accounts supported. For example, your platform could offer unlimited storage, unlimited products, other products, and two staff accounts for £900 per year.
This might be their basic plan. But if you wanted to have four staff accounts, you might have to upgrade to a higher plan which might offer unlimited storage, unlimited items, the same features, and 10 staff accounts for £1,800 per year. That’s a huge increase in your overheads for just one extra user account. The problem with this type of pricing is there is no in-between, making small growth very costly.
The other option is pay-as-you-grow pricing offered by platforms like Shopit. The price you pay for the platform is the price of the database plus your traffic. This means the price increases in proportion to your growth, leading to a very cost-effective way of setting up an eCommerce site. This is particularly important for small businesses and startups, but it also provides equally large savings for bigger companies.
Scalability and features
Your eCommerce site needs to be able to change and grow as your business does with ease and no disruption to your processes. When you choose your platform, you need to know if the features will adapt from low-volume sales to high without issue or costly maintenance.
With self-hosted designs, you’ll largely be responsible for ensuring your site is scalable. But with fully hosted platforms, you must ensure:
- The cost is right and increases at a reasonable amount
- The platform automatically translates to a multitude of other languages
- It has the potential for multi-brand management
- There are tools available for simple multi-warehouse management
- The platform streamlines your processes, no matter the size
- Works on multiple devices, e.g. mobile and desktop
You can find this information often by looking at the features available on the platform’s site.
Choosing the right platform is easier when you have the right information to help you with your research. Then, it’s much easier to move forward with confidence in your business.
Shopit is the best eCommerce platform for those looking for a fully hosted, comprehensive, scalable, and affordable service which streamlines all your vital processes. To see our full range of features and pricing options, visit our website.