In a previous e-commerce article, I discussed the components needed to start and operate an e-commerce website. If you missed the previous article titled, “Entering the E-Commerce World”, you can read it here:
In this article, I will discuss and compare two types of e-commerce platforms. I will provide you with resource links to each of these services.
There are two main types of e-commerce platforms. Each of them have their pros and cons.
Let’s go and explore exactly what they are…
Open Source is a software platform used to construct and host e-commerce websites. This software is created not by one individual, but several who each deliver a part of their expertise. They make sure the code is solid and that the software is easy to use.
Documentation for this software is not hard to find and there are plenty of “how to” books that make designing and developing fun and easy. Count on regular updates and continual improvements from the designers themselves.
Open Source systems allow you to see what makes the software tick. You can even change it to suit your needs. However, because of the popularity of the open source platform, many people are familiar with its source code, which creates a higher risk for hacking and viruses. Open Source software is usually free, but there are also paid options available.
Closed Source software usually has a support system and security. I say usually because some systems do no provide support at all. The software construction team may consist of very few people or just one person, which makes the barrier to entry very high. The smaller the community, brings a greater risk for a decrease in experience and collective knowledge.
So, if you come across a problem with the software, getting support and assistance may become a hassle. Support and assistance may be non-existent and is not always included with the software. You may have to come out-of-pocket to pay someone for their expertise…
If support is present, most likely it will come with a much higher price tag. There is a good book out called E-commerce Get It Right! It walks you step-by-step from building to launching an e-commerce website. This book also gives you the heads up on advertising. Before you proceed down the road to creating your own e-commerce website, it would be a great idea if you check out the book below…
Just below, is a list of the top (5 each) open and closed e-commerce software systems.
Top 5 closed source e-commerce software systems
- Shopping Cart Elite
- Ashop Commerce
Top 5 open source e-commerce software systems
- Zen Cart
If you purchase e-commerce software, you may encounter monthly fees for hosting. Pricing will vary roughly from $15 to $150 US a month depending on the level of service you want.
A good e-commerce store will include the following:
- website templates and tools
- traffic generator
- shopping cart
- sales and traffic reports
- accept e-checks
- credit card processing
- PayPal acceptance
- affiliate program
- fraud protection
- Search Engine Optimization
- help and support at your fingertips
I have discussed the pros and cons of 2 software e-commerce sources. With the information given here and from my previous article, you should be able to make an informed decision as to what source you will choose for your business. Most people go with Open Source because it is usually free, easier to use and support is close by.
Keep in mind though, with open source, there is a high potential of website hackers and security is minimal.
Do a through comparison and weigh out the pros and cons for each. Only you can make the decision as to which software works best for your business.
Business Marketing Coach