Best ecommerce solutions for small business

5 DIY Ecommerce Solutions for Small Business

Finding the best ecommerce solution for building an online store isn’t always easy. You can choose between going the open source route or you can go for a fully hosted SaaS application. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. In this post I’ll try to clarify the differences between both to help you decide which approach is best for your business.

Before you continue reading, you should know that we ourselves are a commercial and hosted solution. In this article I’m simply trying to demonstrate and clarify what the difference is between open source software and commercial hosted ecommerce solutions.

There is no clear winner here, it all depends on what you exact needs are. Let’s get started, shall we?

An open source solution isn’t free

Let’s get a misconception out of the way first. A big advantage is that you can download and implement open source ecommerce solutions free of charge. That means you don’t have to pay a license to download or use the software.

What that also means is that you are responsible for installing, maintaining, securing and configuring the software on your own servers. Unless you are a technical person yourself with lots of free time, setting up an open source solution will take up time.

For most people, time is a valuable thing and you will need to charge your client for the time you spend setting up an open source solution. That cost adds up.

If you are not a technical person yourself, you will need to hire a web designer or developer that can take care of this process for you. By the time you’ve got a working setup, open source isn’t as free anymore as you might thought is was.

But how can a hosted solution be more cost effective than free?

As you know by now, open source isn’t free unless you’re doing all the work of setting up an open source solution yourself and your time isn’t worth a penny. Even then, you still have to pay for hosting, SSL security and again spend time on maintaining the software whenever an upgrade comes out.

A simple comparison

Let’s take a look at the basic tasks that one has to tackle when using an open source solution.

  • installing and setting up the open source solution: 1-2 hours
  • buying and installing an SSL certificate for one year: 1 hour (costs between 30$ and 150$ yearly)
  • hosting your ecommerce store: 150$ yearly (cheap estimate)
  • renewing the SSL certificate every year (1 hour)
  • updating/patching the open source software every few months (4 hours)

Of course, rates depend on where you are but it’s fair for a web developer to charge you 50$ an hour over here.

8 * 50$ + 150$ + 30$ for the SSL equals 580$ upfront costs just to get your open source solution up and running.

This is just the cost for going the open source route and I’m not exactly exaggerating prices here. Of course, this is just an estimate to show you that there are costs associated with open source solutions, unlike what many clients tend to think.


For Dummies Google Business Solutions All-in-One For Dummies
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2004-10-03 19:44:08 by blackmantis

ECommerce

I don't get the feeling that many POC communities are that tech-savvy. Ironically, the best and cheapest way to start many businesses is to open an online shop.
For example: soltherepe.com. I LOVE their lotion. LOVE. It's a black-owned, female-owned business. But their store is 1 1/2 hours away from me. And although they have a website, it doesn't allow for online ordering (OK I'm really lazy). And even if they didn't want to support that on their website, they could sell on eBay and reach millions - but they don't. So really, they are limited to their East Bay locations. Why oh why??? They probably aren't aware that they can increase their market so easily, and for so little money

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