Custom-built vs ‘Off-the-shelf’ E-commerce Solutions

E-commerce has become essential to everyday life and commercial purchases are conducted digitally at every moment – maybe without you even realising! Whether you’re doing your weekly food shop, booking a restaurant table, or liking a picture on social media, a positive and authentic online presence is a necessity – especially for businesses!

Because they’re easy to use and affordable, business owners may be tempted to opt for a ready-made or ‘off-the-shelf’ e-commerce website building platform to promote their business online, such as Shopify, Wix, or Squarespace.

However, here are 5 reasons why choosing a bespoke, custom-made e-commerce store has invaluable benefits that can see your business flourish and thrive in this ever-developing online world.

1. They’re Ready-Made for SEO and Social Media!

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media presence are crucial to e-commerce. Whether you’re guiding customers towards a fresh product, advertising promotions or engaging with your consumer community, a high-functioning and striking online presence is key to the success of your business.

If you have a weak SEO, this can negatively affect your search ranking on sites such as Google, and makes it more difficult for people to find your product! Template websites aren’t equipped with on-page SEO options or give only a few options to their subscribers, e.g. product images, descriptions, and prices. Making it less likely that a potential customer will be able to find your website, despite you selling exactly what they’re looking for!

Custom-built e-commerce shops created by design agencies can fuse SEO and Social media readiness into the composition of your site right from the very start! Meaning they will consider how each element influences your website ranking on search engines.

2. They’re made with you in mind!

Every business is different and will have particular requirements for a digital shop to showcase its product. In the end, the website should reflect that company’s product or service truly, displaying through how it looks and feels that they are the right choice for the consumer. However, within the universe of the internet, it’s easy for websites to get lost among the crowds. Ask yourself: would you buy a product from someone that hasn’t put effort into their store? If the shop looks of good quality, then surely the product is too!

‘Off-the-Shelf’ websites, such as Wix and Shopify, aren’t designed for your vision to shine through; they’re mainly a mass-market solution. Although they provide suitable functions – such as a catalogue of layout templates and low price – there are invisible setbacks such as pay-monthly subscription increases, which means needing to pay extra for anything other than the basic package. You also might need some coding knowledge to customise your website – meaning business owners have to adapt their needs to the limitations of the website template rather than having the website creating opportunities for the business.

A tailor-made e-commerce shop can be built to meet your business needs, creating an atmosphere of uniqueness. Flexible to the needs of the client, bespoke website designers can embed features that can showcase brands and products, such as high-definition photography, videography and carousels. Working with software like WordPress and WooCommerce gives your business easy and free access to tools like Google Analytics. Here, Custom-built websites evolve alongside a business as it expands, as they are shaped to present the growth and finesse of a business.

3. They’ll outshine the competition!

Everyone wants to stand out from the rest – especially with businesses within the same industry! Template websites are easy to acquire and use, and can look attractive. But in the end – they still look like templates (and customers notice!). Template platforms are limited to their catalogue of layouts, slower update development and restricted functionality for e-commerce websites – meaning thousands of online stores could look identical to each other! This diminishes how special your product is and leaves a negative impression on customers. This means you could be indirectly blocking your businesses from competing in the market to their full potential!

A bespoke web design service allows companies to gain advantages over their competitors by using complex e-commerce systems, which make sure that your business is appropriately positioned to promote its services, products, and company brand. Businesses can highlight themselves by expressing company ideologies through inventive user experience enhancements – instilling in customers that their happiness is important while adding value to your business.

4. They care about your business!

Fantastic customer service is essential to any business’ advancement – whether you’re a catering company, a personal trainer, or an app development company. Therefore, when choosing how to present your organisation online, it’s important to consider any worst-case scenarios and personal business constraints when it comes to your online platform, and how those issues might be resolved.

Larger companies that provide template-based solutions may see the businesses that use their platform as just a number – not providing services that are important to business developments essential to your company’s growth. For example, independent design companies will offer methods to edit the mobile version of their sites and provide telephone support in case of an urgent issue. For ‘off the shelf’ solutions, problems may occur which can’t be solved until there is an update to their main systems or an update to a plugin – wasting time and a potential loss of sales.

With custom-built web design, you can gain from working alongside experts in web development, social media and brand specialisation. Personal interaction with web designers and cooperation with an in-house team establishes communication about the specific needs of a business – resulting in a website that meets all your desires.

5. They don’t own it – You do!

When using online template-based websites, the client is essentially renting an internet space from a third party. This means relying on someone that you’ll never meet to maintain any plugins and keep up to date with any software developments, which may not happen when and where you need it – which is not very reliable.

One of the greatest advantages of possessing a bespoke made website is that the site belongs to the client, it is the intellectual property of the business owner and they have full control of their data!

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The benefits of a custom-created e-commerce shop over an online web-building platform centres around quality and how you would like your product or company to be seen. The performance and aesthetic of an online shop is a virtual portrayal of your product and company. A high-quality product needs a website that harmonises with the quality of that business!

Choosing a digital design agency to create your website allows you the ability to build your product or business’ identity and present yourself as distinct from their competitors. Utilizing knowledge and skills, in-house teams can craft a site that suits both functions and desires while minimising long-term costs of time and effort. Working alongside an independent agency supports websites to bloom simultaneously with the growth of an enterprise – providing personalised communication and developing a relationship whilst maintaining the autonomy of your website.

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