by Tom Shackleton
Huge volumes of orders, a flourishing brand and growing infrastructure. A fast growing store is every eCommerce Manager’s dream, but growth also brings challenges. So is switching to a bespoke platform or a hosted platform the solution?
A bespoke platform may be your first consideration, but this isn’t your only option. Hosted eCommerce platforms like Shopify Plus can also offer impressive scalability, and often at a lower overall cost.
A bespoke eCommerce platform will certainly add flexibility, something that can be highly attractive to high volume eCommerce retailers, but could a hosted platform be a better fit?
The option you choose will determine your store’s future, so here’s our guide to the differences between hosted and bespoke eCommerce platforms.
Should I Choose a Hosted eCommerce Platform?
Hosted eCommerce platforms (led by the likes of Shopify, BigCommerce and Salesforce Commerce Cloud) have exploded in popularity over recent years, and are now home to some of the world’s biggest brands.
With the growth of enterprise platforms like Shopify Plus, many of the features previously only available for bespoke platforms can now also be achieved through a hosted platform too.
Here are just some of the reasons you might opt for hosted eCommerce, such as Shopify:
1. Faster Innovation
Building new technologies into your store can quickly burn through time. Hosted eCommerce platforms add new features (like Apple Pay, for example) to all stores simultaneously, so you won’t have to develop these yourself.
With a hosted eCommerce store, you’ll have instant access to the latest features and technologies, without the need for a project plan or developer.
2. No Ties to Agencies
With a hosted platform, you won’t find yourself tied to one developer or agency, as you will with a bespoke system.
Instead, you’re free to choose from the wealth of talented developers and agencies specialising in hosted eCommerce. For example, Shopify Experts and Shopify Plus Experts will offer the best level of service for the Shopify platform.
3. No Security Worries
As an eCommerce store manager, security is of course a big concern. Hosted platforms like Shopify Plus come equipped with SSL certificate, level 1 PCI DSS compliance and automatic security updates.
This means no more patches, and no more worrying about maintaining your platform’s security. Instead, you can focus on growing your eCommerce business.
4. Lower Costs
With hosted eCommerce, there’s no need to build your platform from the ground up or invest in ongoing maintenance of infrastructure. You’ll find that this leads to lower development costs, with no need to constantly develop new features and updates in-house. That means plenty more funding for your sales and marketing teams to focus on growth instead.
So Why Would I Go Bespoke?
As the name suggests, a bespoke eCommerce platform is totally custom and built from the ground up, usually specifically for your store.
Naturally, this comes with a higher build cost, and means you’ll have to take on the responsibility of hosting your store, as well as covering security updates and patches too.
Here’s why you might choose a bespoke eCommerce platform for your store:
1. Total Control
A bespoke platform puts you in full control of every aspect of the design, development and maintenance of your store.
This of course gives you great flexibility as you grow, but also means you’ll be responsible for managing absolutely everything about your store. Be sure that you truly need this much control before deciding on a bespoke system.
2. Custom Integrations
A bespoke eCommerce solution gives you the ability to build around your legacy systems. Working with existing systems is never easy, but a bespoke platform should give you the ability to integrate them as efficiently as possible (although hosted platforms are fast becoming capable of this too).
3. Build in Unique Features
If your store needs to provide a particularly unique customer experience such as a bespoke ordering process or a large amount of product variations, a bespoke eCommerce platform may be the best option.
Perhaps your store requires very complex search and filtering features or complicated POS integration, a custom platform may allow you to build this in from the ground up.
Planning Your Store’s Future
A bespoke system gives you flexibility and increased customisation options in the short run, but it also has the potential to become obstructive in the long term - which is why at Statement we recommended a hosted solution.
Constant updates, maintenance, development and the lack of freedom to move between web agencies when stuck with a bespoke solution can really drain your resources.
A hosted platform however, will remain effective, and allow you to focus on what really matters: sales and growth.
As Shopify Plus Experts ourselves, it’s not hard to see why eCommerce retailers from Kylie Cosmetics to Gymshark are increasingly choosing hosted eCommerce platforms.
Your Next Steps...
For eCommerce retailers looking for a flexible platform tailored to the needs of their store, bespoke was once the only option. But that’s no longer the case.
Enterprise level hosted platforms like Shopify Plus can now provide highly customisable, scalable, reliable stores without the need for expensive maintenance and bloated systems.
Before deciding to switch to a bespoke eCommerce platform, we always recommend to take a moment to take a serious look at hosted.
Want to find out more about replatforming your existing eCommerce store to Shopify or Shopify Plus, just get in touch with our friendly team, and we’d be happy to help.