2012

Use of standard CMS to develop an Online Store

In today’s day and age, everyone on the internet can start a business. There are many solutions which avoid the most difficult (according to many) part of developing an online store - the creation of the engine, or software for the online store. Simply download the archive ready to be unpacked on the server - and a basic online store is ready. Many times creators of such online stores do not think about writing a business plan, or further development planning of the online store. Sometimes such stores 'live' a month, or even less.

In this article we would like you to consider the advantages and disadvantages of using a standard content management system while developing an online store, as well as to consider alternative options for your online store. There is a lot of information on this topic. Often different sources contradict each other, we tried to collect the main facts and bring them to you:

1.     Standard CMS – advantages:

Low start budgeting

As noted above, most of the standard CMS for online store developments are free. Because of this fact, there is no need to invest large amount of money in engine development from the start.

Presence of high amount of standard modules and ability of online store to evolve with own forces

For standard CMS many plugins are available, that give the ability of rising functionality of an online store add new sections and features.

Low launching delay

In web store development, less time is spent on code development. All that needs to be done is to makeup designer layouts and set them up with system, which is has been set before.

2.     Standard CMS – disadvantages:

Despite great advantages of using standard content management systems for development of online store, they have weighty disadvantages. These disadvantages can cause huge problems while the online store is running, or even completely disable the online store in the future.

Loading speed

Wide functionality of a standard  content management system for the development of online store is a big disadvantage. Because the system is developed for resolving a big number of problems, the users request processing time is much longer than in systems developed for resolving specific problems. It can make a very negative impact on customer cooperation with your web store, because every customer wants to find what he needs quickly, add to cart, and finish the transaction. If he needs to wait for the download of every page, he will leave your online store without any purchases. This problem can be partially resolved by “cutting” unnecessary code, or page caching, but would need additional programmers, and additional programming dollars.

Low security level

In  standard CMS systems, the copy of code can be stored on a large number of servers and have a large number of users. It could be parsed to the smallest detail, and all security weaknesses can be found. They can be upload onto the internet, for everyone to see. Lots of programmers are working potentially hack your web store. If someone decides to hack your store, all he needs to do is find necessary information online (instead of developing an algorithm by himself, which is very hard and expensive). Finding the standard CMS on the internet is easy. Finding the necessary script to hack your standard CMS website is just as easy.

The aftermath of such an act is pretty clear – your competitor will get all your information about your customers, items and accounting, and what to do with this information, he already knows.

Limited (even if wide) functionality

Pretty often the specifics of a products that are sold in an online store causes the need of non standard modules and scripts, which will allow more effective and attractive submission of goods to the customer. In using standard CMS, a problem can occur. Because this kind of module or script can be not developed for your system. There is only one resolution is to hire a programmer to develop a new module and integrate it into the online store code.

While developing a web store “from scratch” the presence of all necessary modules are provided during the tech specification writing stage. They are developed according to the analysis of your product, market situation, and target audience by a web development company employees.

Management complexity

Again, because the standard system is built to support a wide number of functions, when you need to bring any changes to your online store, you have to spend lots of time looking for right admin form. Some of the free standard CMS systems are built without any logic.

We can make a conclusion that all the disadvantages of standard CMS can affect the functioning of your online store very negatively. It can also set the limit for further evolving of the web store (need to move to the more powerful servers, to get an ability to process all requests), or even cause more serious problems, such as loss of personal data and statistics. So this solution should only be used in such cases:

  1. If the start budget is very low, or not provided at all.
  2. If the project is temporary (month or two), and should be launched immediately.
  3. If the project is urgent, and the need to be launched is ASAP, but shortly after there are plans for total reconstruction.
  4. If evolving of the web store is not in the plans at all:
  • If you have a limited group of customers that always buy from you, even if your online store is very slow;
  • If your store is made mainly for off line sells.

Buying a Ready Made Web Store

As we described in the article “How to Start your own Business”, one of the ways to start a business, is to buy a ready made online store. The main advantages of such a decision are: online store starts to work immediately, your store already has a client base, working employees and a number of goods. This way to get an online store mainly involve an in-depth amount of business planning, so we won’t discuss it in the scope of this article.

Online Store Engine Development from Web Development Company

The main advantage of such a solution is that all your wishes and your product specifics are custom made. You also enjoy the experience of a web development company employees, who are with you from the beginning of project development. In the stage of creating technical specifications for your web store development, the web development company employee determines the main specifics of your store, target audience, and analyzes the competitors work. As a result, when is time for code development, programmers develop only those modules which fit your product and will sell them in the best way. Because of this fact, in the end we get an optimized code, with high work speed and store management system which allows you to make all the necessary changes easy and fast. There is a much high level of security since only personally developed code is used, if someone tries to hack it, he’ll have to try all possible ways of attack, which makes the hackers attempts very complicated.

The main disadvantage of such decision is the high (versus standard solutions) price of development. Prolonged development time is also a disadvantage, however is you plan for your online store to be a long time business investment, your ROI will far surpass your expections.