According to Verizon’s State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud report, an estimated 80% of IT enterprises will be migrating to cloud computing by the year 2018. That is just two years from now. In fact, cloud computing has been rapidly moving into the mainstream of many enterprises. Ecommerce is no exemption. In order to improve business transactions, the eCommerce industry has been implementing cloud-based platforms to streamline solutions for business retail owners, from the smallest to large and established enterprises.
On the other side are self-hosted eCommerce solutions that would also offer comparative functionality for eCommerce businesses. A strong contender on this side is the WooCommerce plugin. WooCommerce is a self-hosted eCommerce solution that is popular among WordPress websites.
So how does WooCommerce fare against cloud-based eCommerce solutions? To find the best fit for your eCommerce needs, let’s do a brief quiz to guide your decision-making:
- Are you just starting out your business retail store? Or are you an established business store with a large inventory and increasing customer base?
- Do you need a straightforward business solution for your small business or a more complex platform that offers a wide range of functionalities?
- Do you prefer a solution that you can integrate and take full control in your back-end system or a separate solution that is not integrated into your back-end system?
- How many back-end systems does your business run?
- Does your business conduct transactions internationally? Do you need localization for tax, currency payment, and language among others?
- As a merchant, do you conduct business in multiple channels?
While WooCommerce and cloud-based eCommerce solutions offer competitive functionalities that are comparable to each other, the two are distinctively different. If you are new to online selling, chances are, you need an out-of-the-box platform that offers streamlined solutions for your first eCommerce business.
How does WooCommerce Differ from Cloud-based Ecommerce Solutions?
- Cost – Cloud-based eCommerce solutions such as Shopify offer a monthly, biennial, and annual subscription fees. Cloud-based eCommerce solutions offer different types of contract plan that include different features and functions. Depending on your eCommerce needs, you can either select the most basic or the more expensive plans that offer more functionality. You can use the platform as long as you are a paying client. WooCommerce on the other hand, does not require roll-over fees and other charges. It is, in fact, a free WordPress plugin. This alone should give you an idea as to what to choose, if your main concern is the recurring cost of putting up a website store.
- Management Control – For WooCommerce, you have full control of the plugin – you can perform extensive customization tailored to your business needs. You can customize the look or theme of your store. Difference aspects of your online business such as delivery status, tracking of orders, setting up taxes, viewing open orders are among the solutions that you can take full control. Cloud-based eCommerce solutions on the other hand, would only allow you to choose available themes based on your chosen plan. Functions, solutions, and features are streamlined in cloud-based eCommerce platform so there is no full control of the platform, but only a general oversight. Depending on available themes, you can only tweak certain details on the look of your website store.
- Level of Technical Expertise – Since WooCommerce is an open source plugin for WordPress websites, you need to have technical expertise in order to customize the solutions that you want. While there are tools that you can use, basic technical understanding on editing a website is a necessary skill. On the other hand, since cloud-based eCommerce solutions only offer limited tweaking for your theme, a more technical skill is not necessarily needed. In fact, all you need to do is to input data and upload files and the platform will perform the technical implementation on their back-end system so it can be displayed on your business store accordingly.
- Flexibility and Scalability – For a platform that is internally integrated in your back-end system, flexibility and scaling up might be an issue. Most website stores that rely on self-hosted solutions are using outdated technology because changing the entire website store would require more investments in time, capital, and staff. For cloud-based eCommerce platform, it is a different story. Solutions that are cloud-based are flexible for scaling up. All you need to do is choose a higher plan to add more room for additional features, functions, and options for your website store.
- Resource Utilization – For cloud-based eCommerce solutions, resources for your staff are focused on coming up with strategic initiatives to look for prospective leads and increase the sales of your website store. For self-hosted eCommerce platforms like WooCommerce, your staff need to consider the daily maintenance of the infrastructure of your website store. Portions of your resources will be poured into the day-to-day activity.
- Promotion – Cloud-based eCommerce solutions offer customized but ready-made coupon codes, gift cards, and other promos that you can send to your customers. You can only choose among the available options, but to tweak the display and coding of these would not be possible. For WooCommerce, since you can tweak some of the codes, you can customize your promotions to your heart’s content.
- Design – This is where WooCommerce would shine. Since the platform is created by Woothemes, you can have full access to a variety of user-friendly templates along with the source code. This allows you to perform design customization for your storefront to any look that you desire. However, for cloud-based eCommerce solutions, the themes are readily available and you can only do so much by selecting which one you like.
To sum it all up, each type of eCommerce solution – whether WooCommerce or cloud-based – has its own unique pros and cons. If you are just starting out, a cloud-based eCommerce solution might just be what you need to save on time and resources, so you can focus more on promoting your website store. You need a solution that allows you to sell online without the complexity of coding, tweaking, and back-end installation. This would also be true for established-large-scale business stores that would want to align their resources in initiating strategies rather than allot more on the daily maintenance of the website. Ecommerce Prestashop