Eighty percent of Americans have made an online purchase in the last month. Just four percent have never ordered something on the internet before. These statistics prove that U.S. ecommerce is thriving, with more consumers choosing the mouse over the mall. Ecommerce platforms — software used by online retailers in various niches — fall into two categories: self-hosted and hosted. Both come with pros and cons. But which one is better?
SELF-HOSTED ECOMMERCE PLATFORMS
Self-hosted platforms provide you with lots of control over your digital retail business, and you can personalize your store just the way you like. Product pages, banner ads, coupon codes — all of these features are available.
Unlike hosted ecommerce platforms, you can download and run this software yourself. This means you need at least a basic understanding of ecommerce applications, including security and fraud issues. This is a little harder than it sounds. Some small businesses struggle with self-hosted platforms and, as a result, are unable to fully optimize their digital store.
Magneto is the most popular self-hosted ecommerce application out there right now. It accounts for 29.1 percent of total ecommerce platform market share. Other popular self-hosted solutions include Spree Commerce and WooCommerce.
WHAT BUSINESS WOULD BENEFIT FROM A SELF-HOSTED PLATFORM?
Self-hosted platforms are best suited to large business with a dedicated IT team. Typically, you have to pay all the costs involved in setting up your online store, so you need a sizable budget to get started.
HOSTED ECOMMERCE PLATFORMS
Hosted platforms run on someone else's server, which reduces the amount of control you have over your online store. These solutions, however, are perfect if you just don't have the time to manage your online store. Hosted providers install updates and security patches, reduce downtime and implement the latest features that consumers love. As a result, you can focus on other areas of your business.
Ecommerce is booming. Still, some companies face a number of issues when incorporating this technology into their business. Forty-seven percent of B2B executives, for example, say integrating ecommerce with traditional sales models is a challenge, while 62 percent have trouble finding the right ecommerce technology. Hosted platforms solve some of these problems. A third-party provider will manage your site and make sure everything runs smoothly. There's no need to worry about code or customization — a hosted provider will take care of everything for you. There's also technical support and customer service — things you don't always get with self-hosted solutions.
WHAT BUSINESS WOULD BENEFIT FROM A HOSTED PLATFORM?
Hosted platforms are great for small businesses who want to sell products online without any stress. Usually, you pay a monthly fee to a third-party provider, so you don't need lots of capital to launch your online store. This lets you generate a profit from online sales right from the very beginning.
Self-hosted and hosted ecommerce platforms both provide you with advantages and disadvantages if you want to sell products and services online. While self-hosted applications give you control over your retail store, hosted software is simpler to manage and comes with lots of flexibility. If you want to take the stress out of building your own digital storefront, using a hosted ecommerce platform will give you with the ultimate return on your investment.