Ecommerce Website: Coding from Scratch or Using a CMS
Turnkey ecommerce platforms, why not?
One of the questions that rises when starting an ecommerce website is selecting the technology stack and two main options are using a CMS platform or coding a fully custom ecommerce site from the ground up.
The hosted ecommerce platforms, like Bigcommerce, Shopify or less known analogues like Getsocio, offer a lot of features and customizations. They allow making ecommerce sites quickly and help handling hosting, payment integrations, logistics and other stuff. The capabilities of these platforms are more than sufficient for creating and running quite nice online stores.
At the same time, the online shoppers' expectations continue to expand. Combined with the increased cybersecurity threats of today, this often requires more sophisticated solutions than the SaaS platforms can deliver. It also should be taken into consideration that, even if it works well at the beginning, one day your interests can grow beyond the limits of the selected CMS. Besides, the costs of running your website on a hosted ecommerce platform may be higher than expected as you will have to to pay various fees and commissions.
So, if you have an ambitious business idea, want to provide a truly unique experience to your customers and want to scale up your application in the future, it makes sense to consider coding it from scratch.
How to make an ecommerce site from scratch?
When choosing a programming language for your site, there are many options - Java, PHP, Ruby, Python - and, basically, any of them can work well. However, there is an opinion that Ruby on Rails has some noteworthy benefits.
It is a matter of fact that Ruby on Rails is a very popular framework - over 800,000 live websites are using RoR and it is widely used for building ecommerce sites, including well-known ones like Airbnb and Yellow pages.
Let's see why Ruby on Rails is good for building ecommerce websites:
- Cost efficiency. Rails is perfect for fast prototyping. It allows you to check the feasibility of your idea without investing too much in it.
- Speed. Ruby on Rails is an open-source web framework and has huge community of developers. So, there are ready-made solutions for many features. Besides, it is highly automated which allows saving time on routine tasks.
- Flexibility. Ruby on Rails embraces the DRY and modular approaches, which reduces the code length, facilitates making modifications and integrating ecommerce sites with various third-party services.
- Reliability. Ruby on Rails development goes hand in hand with automated testing. This helps to ensure that all functionalty works correctly and to deliver highly reliable software products.
Being quick, cost-effective and agile are critical factors that many ecommerce businesses are looking for. Ruby on Rails comes in handy here as it allows building feature-rich web applications and adapting them to the changing requirements faster than other programming languages.
After choosing the technology for your project, you have to hire an in-house development team or outsource it to a good software development company. Outsourcing is usually is the best option as it may not be easy to find suitable developers locally and having an in-house developers is associated with substantial overheads.
A few tips for choosing and managing an outsourced development team
There are many ways to find an outsourcing services provider - freelance marketplaces, googling, etc. However, how to choose the right one for your project? Here are some key things to consider
- References. Ask for references or look for testimonials from their former clients at a review site, like Clutch.co.
- Portfolio. The live websites delivered by the developers you are going to hire is a good way to assess their level of expertise.
- Negotiation. Clearly explain your needs, expectations and collaboration terms, like approach to communication, project management, reporting and payment terms.
- Honesty. Avoid over-promising providers and give preference to those who insist on realistic time and cost estimates when it means that they can lose your project.
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