Selection of e-commerce platform
To build an online store, you first have to choose an e-commerce platform you need. The E-Commerce platform can be divided into two broad categories. One is the software as a service (SaaS) platform and the other is an open source platform.
SaaS (Software as a service) e-commerce platform
SaaS (Software as a service) E-Commerce platform is a system already equipped on the vendors’ internet. So, business owners can build online shops directly using the features provided from the vendors. The business owner must pay a monthly fee and commodity sales fee for the SaaS platform. Typical SaaS e-commerce platforms include Shopify, Volusion, BigCommerce, Wix, and Big Cartel.
Building an online store using the SaaS E-Commerce platform has many administrative advantages. First, security and software updates and upgrades are done directly by the vendor, so you do not have to worry about it.
Site design using the SaaS E-Commerce platform can use themes already in the platform. However, for an original design that fits your business, it is better to hire a designer rather than the existing theme to create a unique theme that fits your business.
Open source e-commerce platform
An open source platform can be very inexpensive if you are able to download it yourself and then modify the source to suit your business. If not, you should hire a source developer to modify the source to suit your business. So building an online store using open source can cost a lot initially if you hire a developer to modify the source. Examples of open source platforms include Magento Community Edition, PrestaShop, Open Cart and Zen Cart.
In addition, you must purchase web hosting or a dedicated web server to install open source software. You need to decide whether to buy web hosting or a dedicated web server, depending on how many visitors will visit on your website. Web hosting is significantly cheaper than dedicated web server. You can think of installing it on web hosting first and then moving it to a dedicated web server later if you have a lot of visitors. However, you should consider the problems and difficulties that may arise when moving online store from one server to another.
The updates or upgrades of open source software must be done by you or a software developer. If you hire a software developer, you incur additional costs. In addition, you must also consider the cost of hiring a software developer to modify and supplement other functionality to the source.