All ecommerce solutions have pros and cons

All ecommerce solutions have pros and cons

Whether you’re implementing a locally hosted solution or using a SaS based shopping cart there are always pros and cons. Ecommerce can be simple, but as your business grows the complexity of integrating services into your shopping cart can grow with it.

Woocommerce, oscommerce, Cartthrob, Ubercart, Magento, FoxyCart, BigCommerce, Shopify

Ecommerce solutions can be specific to a particular CMS solution, while others try to operate independently, and can integrate with your existing CMS. For instance, Woocommerce is probably the most popular shopping cart solution for Wordpress - and it works only with Wordpress - just like Cartthrob works only with ExpressionEngine and Ubercart works only with Drupal. Conversely, oscommerce is a self-hosted solution that can operate as your CMS too, or integrate alongside an existing CMS, handling only your ecommerce functions.

Then there are hybrid solutions that are available as both SaS and self-hosted solutions, i.e., Magento. Their enterprise edition is a SaS solution but they also offer a community edition you can download for free and host on your own server. Or you can deploy a cart only solution such as FoxyCart, which is a SaS based shopping cart and payment gateway only. So you can manage your products on your own and integrate with it only during checkout. And finally, you have the SaS only options such as BigCommerce and Shopify - along with many others.

All of them have abundant options, plug-ins, and upgrades

Any solution you choose will probably get you started smoothly. But eventually you’ll encounter a point where you’ll need something outside of the core features. Fortunately, all of the solutions we’ve mentioned offer add-ons or enable custom development to create exactly what you need. You can integrate with shipping providers, fulfillment companies, various payment processors, and much much more. But... often these add-ons cost additional for the add-on, the custom programming, or for the additional service.

No solution is perfect

Invariably you’ll run across an integration or user problem that will fill you with frustration. We’ve used, implemented, and supported dozens of ecommerce solutions and they all have issues at some point. As stated above, hopefully a workaround or plug-in can solve that issue. Or in the worst case, some custom development will fix the problem.

But every so often, depending on the cost of the fix, you’ll have to simply tolerate the issue until hopefully... the ecommerce developer addresses it. Which means... often you’ll have to be a squeaky wheel and complain about the problem. Sometimes your voice will resonate with other users and you’ll create a groundswell the developer can’t ignore. Other times it’s a known issue they’re working on already, and you simply have to be patient.

The moral of the story; the grass might appear greener, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon your current solution simply because the other side of the fence looks nicer. Sometimes you have to do some testing first, take a walk (with a free trial) and you might discover the other ecommerce option has foibles too.

Jan 09, 2015

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