A few days back, I was having a discussion with my mate over lunch, and we couldn’t decide which was better. A Tesla or a high end BMW? My friend preferred the BMW, stating that the present world is not for cars like Tesla. However, I’ve always been a huge Tesla fan. Not only because it can clock 0-60 mph in 5 seconds, but for the sole reason that it is the future of the world! Visions and innovations have always fascinated me and I find it hard to believe in something which does not support my future visions.
Recently I was writing an article on e-commerce platforms and I happened to notice that most of the online articles were about how you need to pick the right proprietary platform based on your current status and the market size. What puzzled me was, if they do so, how will they cope up with meeting their goals, their innovations, their visions, and grow amidst all the competition.
While I don’t disagree with them completely, and they are actually pretty good in a particular sense, these articles are definitely not accurate. Let me tell you why.
It Was Never About The Size Of The Business Or The Market
Yes it is important that you pick a platform based on what your e-commerce business needs right now. But that is not it! The platform you pick should also be able to support and stay in parallel with your future goals, visions and innovations you have in store for your business.
Imagine you pick an e-commerce platform based on your current status or the current "market size" and it is perfect for all the things you want. After a year, you hit the bull's eye and your e-commerce business starts growing. Now you will need more and better integration, improvements on your e-commerce website and better e-commerce solutions which are not possible because your platform does not support it! You certainly picked the wrong platform.
In a few cases, when financial crunch is something to worry about, the things I said might take a back seat ( I will put them back right in the driving seat soon). However, if you have the required capital to invest on a platform that can stay in line with your growth, it is always better to invest sooner or later.
Know The Long Term Costs & Investments
The misconception of costs is another major nemesis in most of the articles online. They are so much into presenting the upfront cost that they tend to ignore the long term investment which comes along with it.
A lot of the online articles narrow down on suggesting that using a proprietary platform for a small or growing business is a go-to option. If you look at it straight away, it seems like they are absolutely right. But what you miss is the long term investment involved with such proprietary platforms. Especially with the additional functionalities and the capacity required to incorporate your solutions, investments are sure to soar, over a period of time.
Confused? Did you know that most of the proprietary platforms charge roughly a 2% fee on every order purchased through your e-commerce website? Though this doesn’t sound much, but a simple calculation can you show that over a span of three years of your "growing phase" it takes a huge chuck of out of your gross revenue. And as you business grows, the fact that you need to add more functionalities in order to support your solutions, leaves you at the mercy of your solution provider, his product road map and his pricing scheme.
On the other hand, for a simple one time cost you can get a nice customized website built for your e-commerce site. And suppose you use an open source platform like Magento , keeping up with the growth and all the customizations required, would be simple and hassle free.