So you've decided to start an online store. Congratulations! As your virtual storefront starts taking shape, one of the first decisions you'll face is whether to use a hosted or self-hosted e-commerce platform.
If you like having ultimate control over every single facet of your shopping site, which, unfortunately, includes dealing with SSL problems, downtime and buggy shopping carts, even when they happen in the middle of the night, then a self-hosted e-commerce platform might be right for you.
However, if you'd like a more convenient solution for your company, for example, if you want a consultant to help at every step of your setup, growth and maintenance, or if your company doesn't already have its own dedicated 24/7 tech guru to handle late-night emergencies, then a hosted e-commerce platform may be the choice for you. Most hosted platforms offer all those services and more in a single package with transparent pricing so you know what you're getting into.
Here's a look at six reasons to use a hosted e-commerce platform.
1. EASY, FAST SETUP
Whether you're a first-time shop owner or a seasoned pro, using a hosted e-commerce platform is the quickest, easiest way to set up your shop. You don't need to know much about your online shop's inner workings to get it started, and you don't have to shop around for individual components (hosting, an open-source e-commerce platform, a consultant to help with design and best practices), and someone else will handle the bulk of the setup work for you.
2. BEST PRACTICES ALREADY IMPLEMENTED
The best hosted e-commerce platforms run around the clock in many thousands of stores, so they're in the perfect position to stay abreast of the online world's rapidly evolving best practices. You don't have to worry about running tests to see what works and what doesn't or when the next big improvement will be pushed out; your e-commerce host handles all of that for you.
3. CENTRALIZED SUPPORT HAS YOUR BACK
Although you sacrifice a little bit of customizability when you sign up with a hosted e-commerce platform, you gain something invaluable: A customized support system that can help you through any issues you might have with the platform. If you have trouble navigating a new feature or redesigning the look of your storefront, help is just a phone call, email or chat window away.
4. ROUND-THE-CLOCK MAINTENANCE
Technical glitches are inevitable, especially when peoples' money or ordered products are at stake. Signing up with a hosted e-commerce provider means there will be someone else to handle those glitches, even when they happen in the middle of the night. Unexpected downtime, SSL certificates, system updates? No problem. Your round-the-clock maintenance is on the job.
5. TRANSPARENT PRICING
Your hosting costs will naturally grow as business expands, but if you're handling everything yourself, that can come as an unexpected surprise. Because hosted e-commerce providers deal with so many stores, they can help you understand what to expect as traffic picks up and offer transparent package pricing so you know exactly what you're getting into.
6. ROOM TO GROW
Finally, hosted e-commerce platforms make it easy to grow your business. They're designed for the easiest possible optimization and maintenance, with plenty of help waiting in the wings if you have questions. Some even offer consulting services to help you plan and monitor your business growth. If short, if you ever need a helping hand to get or keep your store moving, the hosted e-commerce provider will have someone there to help.