Increasingly more companies are looking for an easy and affordable way to build an e-commerce website. The market is booming: in 2021, online sales grew by 1.587 billion (about 41%) compared to 2019 and will increase by another 56% by 2026. You need to stay competitive.
It seems no retail business can do without an online store today, especially if they plan to scale. And this store has to be launched quickly, offer useful options, and have a nice look and feel. But where do you begin?
We recommend starting with this article. Allow us to explain what you can do to get your e-commerce store up and running in a matter of weeks. Because WebileApps knows a thing or two about e-commerce software development.
E-commerce platform pros and cons
If you ask us, we’ll tell you that going for an e-commerce platform with pre-built functions is great when you need results fast and don’t have a huge budget. But to give you a full picture, here’s a list of the pros and cons of this approach.
E-commerce platform advantages
Development speed, cost, and convenience are at the top of the list.
E-commerce platforms offer everything you need to assemble an online store like a Lego house: several interface design options, systems for convenient catalog management, payment gateways, and integration options. This means you don’t have to develop and integrate each of these elements separately — just combine what you need.
Since you don’t need to develop each element individually, you don’t have to hire a large development team. Of course, if you want to customize your store and add some features the platform doesn’t offer, you’ll need a specialist or two. But in general, you can save money on the tech team and infrastructure.
These platforms are designed specifically for building e-commerce projects, so they have everything you need to make them work from the get-go. They also make sure you don’t miss any critical features. Plus, you get all kinds of analytics and reports from these platforms.
In addition, you can be confident in data security since these platforms put a lot of effort into complying with universal security standards. After all, they have a reputation to maintain, and a breach is not going to do it any good.
E-commerce platform disadvantages
Certainly, e-commerce platforms have limitations.
Limited customization and Ownership of data
The platforms offer some degree of customisation, but it’s quite limited. To access any additional features, you’ll either have to pay for a premium account, buy or subscribe to a plugin that suits the requirements or hire a developer to write plugins for missing functionality. All of these options come with additional cost.
Service providers look at all the ways to buy tie-in and make migration a cumbersome process for the customer. One way to do it is by storing data in cloud using proprietary tools. If you choose to move to a new platform, data migration can be a time intensive process limiting your options for growth and scalability.
That is why, if you have a very specific and unique solution in mind, developing an e-commerce store from scratch might be a better choice.
Although it’s much cheaper to develop a simple store on an e-commerce platform, you still pay a monthly fee to use it. Even if some platforms offer free access in the early stages, the price usually increases with the number of sales.
For example, BigCommerce‘s Standard plan costs $29 per month but allows up to $50k online sales per year. If you sell up to $400k, you should pay $299 monthly for the Pro plan. Other platforms charge a transaction fee on each sale in addition to the monthly fee. Overtime these charges quickly add up to a significant portion of revenue.
More features = more expenses
Platforms are a convenient and affordable alternative if you don’t want anything out of the ordinary. But, if you need more advanced features, the price goes up.
Most platforms offer multi-store functionality, mobile version adaptations, or more templates for interface design only at the Premium or Advanced tiers. So the price piles up and can go from a few hundred dollars a month to a few thousand.
Indeed, choosing between the out-of-the-box and the platform approaches is not easy. But what if you found a solution that combines the best of both worlds? WebileApps might just have an alternative for you.
WA Commerce from WebileApps — your perfect e-commerce solution
The WebileApps team has been in e-commerce development for years and knows the ins and outs of these projects. We know where they’re similar, where they differ, and what to do to avoid the most common challenges.
That’s why we came up with a solution: to build our own Magento-based Platform as a Service (PaaS) with all the critical features for an e-commerce store. We call it WA Commerce.
WA Commerce is a convenient, affordable, and effective system for creating e-commerce projects. Our clients have already experienced what it’s like to get a fully functioning online store in a matter of weeks. The basic functionality covers the most widespread customer needs, while our tech team is ready to make the necessary adjustments.
And now, we’d like to show you what WA Commerce can do.
It makes development accessible
Magento is a free and open-source e-commerce platform, with more than 20 years of history. Meaning, it has solid foundations that we could build upon to cater to the newer requirements in the marketplace like Omni-channel model, POS, loyalty, closed wallet, partial returns and refunds and much more.
It makes development fast
WA Commerce is an e-commerce platform with vast customization abilities. And the best part is that our development team is always ready to add or delete whatever functionality you need. In the end, you get an e-commerce solution that feels like it was developed from scratch but was actually delivered in a matter of weeks by a professional team. And, most importantly you own the data and the code.
It has all the essential features
Since Magento only offers basic features, we added other functions to meet our customers’ needs:
Headless API-based commerce model for easier customization
Our platform is based on headless commerce architecture that decouples the frontend from the backend. So if you don’t like our standard neutral designs, we can easily customize them without messing with the backend.
This architecture type also makes developing a mobile version of your store much easier, cheaper, and more convenient.
Support for many e-commerce models
Most platforms (especially in their free plans) support only one e-commerce model — a single store. Our e-commerce PaaS supports most of them, including:
- Drop-in commerce
- Point of sale
This means various clients can find a suitable set of functions to manage their store in WA Commerce.
Suppose, you own a company with multiple stores across the country. You want your managers to only see the activities related to their stores. Meanwhile, you should have the ability to oversee the entire network. And we can implement this kind of access control in no time!
Since different goods are subject to different taxation options, we added the possibility of flexible taxing. That is, you enter taxes on different categories of products, and the system takes them into account to calculate the total cost of goods while placing them into the catalog.
Better customer experience features
We added a number of features to make using your store more pleasant and convenient for customers. First, it’s the easy login function that allows users to enter a phone number and type in a temporary password they receive via text.
Second, it’s the effortless return and refund if the clients don’t like the products. And if it’s only one item they want to return from the batch, WA Commerce has functionality for that too.
And don’t worry, this won’t be a big problem for administrators because the system automatically calculates and sends the required return sum to the customer after confirmation.
Finally, your customers can join a loyalty program and enjoy their discounts with every new purchase.
Another feature that can make your life easier is location-based control over customers’ orders. For example, if a customer wants to order a pizza from your franchise, the system shows their nearest restaurants and doesn’t allow ordering from a remote one. This will help you optimize logistics and ensure that the pizza doesn’t reach the customer stone cold.
WA Commerce easily integrates different management and e-commerce systems. It connects to larger, key infrastructure points like ERP, PIM, OMS, and POS. Plus, it meets PCI compliance, security, fraud management, and inventory management requirements to the letter.
WA Commerce allows us to combine the benefits of e-commerce platforms and development from scratch to provide our customers with solutions tailored to their needs in a short time and at an affordable price.
Building an online shop using an e-commerce platform or a team of developers has its pros and cons. And you need to consider them carefully to get the best value for money. Both options are valid, but if you want to combine their advantages, why not go with WA Commerce?
This PaaS from WebileApps is powered by a professional team of software developers that has ample experience in bringing e-commerce projects to life and doing it quickly, cost-efficiently, and according to the clients’ requirements. If this is something you’re looking for, contact us, and we’ll start planning your e-commerce solution right away.