Vendor-Based vs Custom eCommerce Solutions: Which One Is Your Right Choice?

Vendor-Based vs Custom eCommerce Solutions

While the global retail sales dip down massively this year due to pandemic, the global eCommerce sales accelerated and reached $4.13 trillion.

As more B2B companies are tapping on the B2B eCommerce market, the first question they ask,

“Which eCommerce solution is my right choice? A vendor-based solution or a custom eCommerce solution?”

That’s certainly a difficult question to answer. However, most of the companies prefer a ready-made solution built by a tried and tested software company. 

A ready-made solution is an obvious choice, however if we dive deep into the details, every business has different requirements and an off the rack solution probably won’t work for it. 

To portray this concept in a crystal-clear way, today we have decided to do a precise comparative analysis on vendor-based and custom eCommerce solutions.

So let’s begin. Shall we?

vendor-based and custom eCommerce solutions

Vendor-based vs Custom eCommerce solution: Overview

A vendor-based eCommerce software is a ready-made solution that provides quality features that work well with existing eCommerce market trends and needs. These are the dedicated solutions which help companies to sell their products and services on well-built eCommerce platforms. 

Whereas, a custom eCommerce solution is built from scratch. It is a perfect choice for those companies who want a fully-customized eCommerce platform that is capable of fulfilling their business needs. Companies who want a full-fledged control over their eCommerce store, custom eCommerce solution is best for them.

That was just a general overview. Both solutions are good on their own, however both come with ins and outs. 

So let’s explore the both eCommerce solutions 

Vendor-based eCommerce software vs Custom eCommerce solutions

Vendor-based eCommerce software

Building an eCommerce solution from scratch is a strenuous task. Therefore most of the eCommerce companies prefer to choose a vendor-based eCommerce solution

These solutions are provided by third-party eCommerce solutions providers.There are thousands of ready-made solutions available at your disposal.

BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and Sharetribe are some of the most popular vendor-based eCommerce solutions.

All these top-notch eCommerce solution providers have built world-class eCommerce platforms to facilitate your business needs and help you to thrive in the market.

 Pros and Cons of Vendor-based eCommerce software

There are numerous benefits of using a vendor-based eCommerce software. Let’s check some of them.

Get all the advanced features out-of-the-box

The primary concern of an eCommerce vendor is to build a solution that is all set to use once delivered to the customer. It means that you don’t have to deal with the whole complex eCommerce solution development process.

You’ll get a complete solution to start your online business as quickly as possible. All vendor-based eCommerce software comes with a different set of advanced tools and features to enhance the functionality of your eCommerce store.

Without even tweaking a line of code you can start your eCommerce store within a couple of minutes. 

Stable and secured solution

When using a vendor-based solution, you don’t have to worry about security. They themselves manage the security, fraud protections, and security certificates.

Choosing a stable and secured solution will not only bring your mind at peace but will help you to build trust in your customers who’re looking forward to doing business with you.

Customer service

All the eCommerce third-party platforms offer powerful customer support. Most of the vendor-based solutions providers offer support via email,chat, and sometimes phone call. 

Not only this but they provide self-support options to customers so if they are not around to help, their customers can help themselves. They provide video tutorials, documents, manuals to provide extra support to customers. 

You can also submit your queries on their support form to solve the technical issues you’re facing.

Cost-effective solution

Building an eCommerce solution from scratch requires a significant investment. Compared to that, a vendor-based solution is quite affordable. Some vendor-based solutions like WooCommerce are free of cost, however you’ll have to pay for domain name, web hosting provider and an SSL certificate.

Even if you calculate the cost of all these elements still it will be much more reasonable than creating a custom eCommerce platform. 

Take less time to market

Starting an online store on a vendor -based solution takes less time if compared to custom eCommerce solutions. It can take up to several months just to develop the platform and years for execution. 

In this scenario, it becomes difficult to reach the market quickly and acquire customers to start the selling process.

Vendor-based solutions are all set to be implemented. They facilitate companies not to only open their eCommerce store but acquire more customers in less time.

Well, the facts we’ve discussed above are the advantages of using a vendor-based eCommerce software. But there are some disadvantages of it as well.

Middleman

A vendor-based solution limits your control over your business and customers. A certain layer  which you can call a middleman is always present observing and controlling activities going on. 

It significantly means your business growth plans can be thwarted easily if a third-party is involved and controlling your business.

High pricing

Most of the eCommerce stores often overspend on an eCommerce solution since they purchase a plan that offers additional features which they don’t need. 

The cost initially seems less but eventually it starts increasing over time. When your business grows, you require more tools and features to improve the functionality and provide better customer experience.

Moreover, some vendor-based solutions charge additional platform fees which you might be missing.

Limited custom features

Vendor-based platforms add features over time. There can be ample of custom features which might be missing in the bundle. Convincing their developers to add a particular custom feature is a challenging task.

Even though vendor-based solutions providers make sure to offer 80% of what their custom needs, you still need the remaining 20% to take full advantage of the solution. 

Most of the vendor-based eCommerce software are customizable, however if you want to add something totally unique then you should be pro at coding.

If you’re not into technical stuff then you have to hire an expert which can cost you a bomb.

Heavy reliance on support team

Using a vendor-based solution means heavily relying on the support team. It means whenever you get stuck and you’re unable to solve the issue by yourself, you have to take help from customer support.

Thus, you’ll be totally at the mercy of the support team. 

Custom eCommerce Solutions

Undoubtedly, off the shelf eCommerce solutions like WooCommerce or Shopify have a number of advantages, but these vendor-based software don’t fit every business, especially a B2B business. 

A custom eCommerce solution is built from scratch. Before creating a custom solution your business requirements and customer needs are taken into account. This signifies the solution is solely built to facilitate your business. 

Pros and Cons of a Custom eCommerce solution

There are considerable benefits and some drawbacks of choosing a custom eCommerce solution. Let’s look at them.

Add unique custom features

If you own a unique business, your eCommerce store should reflect the uniqueness by offering special custom features. Once you’ve hit your primary business objectives, you can enhance your online presence by adding custom features to improve the conversion rates. 

With a custom eCommerce solution you can provide personalized shopping experience to your existing customer by customizing the look and feel of the store for each customer. 

Unfortunately, vendor-based solutions only provide standardized features to facilitate as many customers as they can. 

Full ownership

Creating a custom eCommerce solution means you completely own each and every component of it. It means, there will be no middleman and you can control your software just how you like. 

You will have full ownership to customize your store infrastructure to meet customers’ expectations. You can work around the emerging business trends to build resilience. 

Easily integrate with other software

When running a business on an eCommerce platform, you need some other software. Whether you’re using an order tracking software or accounting system, it should be compatible with your eCommerce software. 

Integrating back-end software on vendor-based solutions is a complex process. In most of the cases, you’ll face a lot of challenges in this particular process.

In such a case, using a custom eCommerce solution is a good choice since it’s built to facilitate your business needs so it will be compatible with all the other systems and software you’re using since the beginning. 

Affordable solution

When you use a custom software, you won’t have to pay any monthly/yearly license fees to platform owners. You can save a lot of money by choosing a custom software building company that falls within your budget and provides all those features which your business and customers require. 

Even though custom eCommerce solutions have a number of benefits but still it has some considerable disadvantages

No customer support

Nothing is worse than downtime in online business. When something goes wrong your whole business is affected, even customers. In such a scenario, you’re totally dependent on your technical staff and technology partners to take you out from the hot waters. 

You cannot seek help from any expert or you don’t have access to any document or tutorial to solve the issue you’re facing. 

Resource Intensive

Building a custom platform requires a large work force and ample time. Before you start, you’ll have to list down requirements, organize the development process, find a team of developers, QA team etc. 

Development mistakes

A lot of hard work goes into developing a custom eCommerce solution. Developers will face monumental challenges to recreate a platform that offers the off-the-shelf capabilities in a customized way. 

Since most of these features are quite sophisticated, the development process will be much longer and there will be more possibilities of bugs and errors. 

The right eCommerce solution: Looking from the lens of B2B

As online sales are accelerating, more B2B companies are digitizing their brick-and-mortar business. A vast majority often prefer to choose vendor-based solutions. 

Whether you’re choosing a vendor-based solution or custom solution, your final decision must be based on functionality, features, customizations, and integrations you require. 

If you’re a large B2B company with a huge consumer base in a regulated market, a customized solution might be your right solution. But there are some B2B platforms like B2BWoo that come already geared-up with features that you need to build your B2B eCommerce store.

B2BWoo

Companies need flexibility and reliable infrastructure for a vendor-based solution, B2BWoo is perfect for them. It offers you the best of both worlds. 

It is an eCommerce solution that is specifically built to facilitate manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors. It is packed with all the essential B2B features that simplify and optimize  sales cycle and deliver out-class customer experience at checkout.

If you would like to learn more about the astounding capabilities of B2BWoo, contact us and try our free demo today!

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A writer by profession, Maria Ilyas is an eCommerce and digital marketing enthusiast and is always digging into the latest marketing trends, best practices, and growth strategies.

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