Thousands of businesses are taking to the Internet each year to sell their wares. The Web offers them a cost-effective way to reach a global audience. Plus, it's one of the easiest methods to reach new and emerging markets.
E-commerce sites come in two flavours: hosted and self-managed. Both options have their pros and cons. Are you planning to sell online soon? If so, you might be unsure which choice is the best one for your needs.
Today I will discuss the differences between hosted and self-managed e-commerce sites. Here is what you need to know so that you can make an informed decision:
In a nutshell: hosted versus self-managed e-commerce
If I were to compare the two at a low level, I would use the car versus train analogy. A train lets you reach destinations at particular times while a car allows you to travel anywhere. Or, to put it another way, cars offer total freedom and flexibility. You have to rely on trains and must conform to their way of doing things.
It's the same sort of thing with hosted and self-managed sites. Hosted ones take care of the background work. But, you must run your online store in accordance with their rules and site designs. With a self-managed site, you have 100% control over everything. That means you can create a bespoke design for your site and adapt its functionality.
So, why should you choose one over the other? The answer is simple. Your choice will depend on your specific needs. Let me explain a little more about each option:
The advantages of hosted e-commerce systems
If your IT knowledge is basic, managing an e-commerce site by yourself will be your idea of hell. All you want to do is upload product details and process orders.
Hosted e-commerce systems take away the maintenance side of things from you. All you must do is update your product and service listings. The host takes care of everything else. Shopify is one such example of a hosted e-commerce system.
The advantages of self-managed e-commerce systems
If you've got some technical knowledge, you might prefer a self-managed platform. It's an option attractive to those that want total control over how their online stores get run. You can decide how secure it is and even where it gets hosted.
To save time, you could hire some Magento Enterprise developers to help you get started. They can assist with the setup of the site, and you can manage it yourself from then onwards.
Self-managed e-commerce systems offer more expansion and flexibility than hosted ones. That means if you wish to integrate the site with a blog, for instance, you can do so.
Which option should you choose?
Now that you know the advantages of both options, one question remains. Should you choose a hosted or self-managed e-commerce solution?
Choose hosted if:
You aren't a technical person;
You don't want the responsibility of maintaining a server.