When it comes to eCommerce, there are loads of options for you to pick from. Platforms like WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify are some of the leading off-the-shelf solutions out there. You don’t just have the best software solutions to help take your business forward, but also a vast community around each of these platforms and the best of technical partners – freelancers and reputed development agencies – to choose from.
But then again, a ready-to-use solution can in no way compete with a custom solution for your business (assuming you’re investing in the right technology and the right resources for the job, of course). Even though building your custom eCommerce Cart can turn out to be quite an investment in terms of time and money, it’s definitely worth considering. And in some cases, you might not really have an option, but to custom-build.
The buy vs. build depends entirely on the volume of transactions and other situation-specific needs. If you can relate to any of the following situations, it’s safe to say that building a custom cart for your business is inevitable.
#1 Your Business Outgrew The Current Software
You’re probably aware that your sites’ performance and page load speeds have a direct impact on the customer experience, SEO ranking and consequently, your sales and revenue. Now, maybe your website performs just fine. But what about peak traffic periods?
Let’s say you whip up an amazing marketing strategy and execute it effectively. The campaign worked, your sales are about to skyrocket and business is going to be booming! But wait. Do you know the kind of traffic you’re expecting? The number of clicks per second? Is your platform really equipped to handle what’s coming its way?
You’ll come across a lot of such examples or rather ‘epic fails’ wherein the retailer’s ads drove in so much traffic that their platform just couldn’t keep up. The sudden spike in traffic could bring down a server to its knees, mix up orders, mismanage inventory, and worst of all – it could mess up the payment processing! Imagine the number of lawsuits and civil fines this could trigger.
If your business has constantly been scaling, it’s probably best to take out some time for a little self-reflection. If your business warrants the need for a scalable solution, you should definitely consider migrating to a more suitable custom-made cart.
#2 You Have Unique Shipping and Inventory Concerns
Shipping a standard type of product via carriers like USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL is pretty simple. But once people start getting acquainted with your brand and multiple orders start trickling in, managing product shipping gets a tad bit challenging.
Furthermore, if you have a wide range of products to ship, you need to have a solid product shipping strategy in place. For example, products like pharmaceuticals, and perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products have to be refrigerated. Fine Art, antiques, ceramics, and glass articles have special packaging needs.
Each of the shipping carriers mentioned above come with their specific packaging guidelines, shipping rates, and features. Some carriers prohibit certain items. Picking the right one for your business will require you to spend time investigating and evaluating all the options. Or in some cases, you might have to work with multiple carriers. Also, if you’re shipping internationally, you have customs to worry about.
After you’re through with creating your perfect shipping strategy, you need your cart to perform seamlessly, irrespective of the complexity of the back-end process. Order tracking and estimation of delivery dates cannot be messed up under any circumstances. Requirements like these would easily overwhelm a ready-to-use eCommerce Cart.
#3 You’re Looking to Create an Omnichannel Experience
We all know that modern-day customers are finicky when it comes to buying products. One person will tell you that they won’t buy a single piece of clothing before they try it on first, while another would refuse to step foot into a physical store after the surge of eCommerce.
Omnichannel shopping extends from a physical store to mobile-browsing, e-commerce marketplaces, onsite storefronts, mobile apps, social media, retargeting, and everything in between. Implementation of omnichannel eCommerce goes way beyond ensuring seamless inventory management.
You need to stay on top of the latest e-commerce trends, allow flexible purchases and ensure your physical workforce is kept abreast of your omnichannel strategy. You need to create a digital roadmap, enable cross-channel Integration and provide hassle-free transactions to your customers at each stage of the buyer’s journey. All in all, you need technology that’ll help you effectively execute your plan.
Do you really think using an off-the-shelf software solution is the way to go?
#4 You Want to Sell Custom Products
If you want to allow your customers to design or customize a particular product based on their preference, your cart implementation gets a whole lot more complicated than it is for a regular product.
Let’s consider a clothing store. The cost of a custom garment would change depending on the color, material and the design chosen by the customer. With so many options and permutations in play, it’s difficult to come across an off-the-shelf shopping cart that could work perfectly in this scenario.
Also, your cart now needs to take into account the variations in user credits, coupons, discounts, and the estimated delivery dates based on the numerous different possibilities of a selected product. Not to mention the fact that your Product Preview display needs to be able to effectively showcase a tailor-made product.
When it comes to customizable product websites or carts, the ‘easy way out’ is most definitely not the ‘best way out’.
#5 You Want to Work With a Product Distributor
Product distribution is one of the most important aspects when it comes to expanding a business. While a distributor handles the shipping regulations and allows you to expand your customer base, managing inventory may not be a straight-forward affair when you have a number of entities involved.
In some cases, a distribution channel may involve you – the manufacturer, the distributor, a retailer, an agent and then the end customer.
Yep, an inventory management nightmare!
If there is a hiccup in the distribution network, your team needs to be able to glide past it with ease and maintain a consistent presence on store shelves, keeping distributors, retailers, and the customers happy.
Under such circumstances, your Cart is not just responsible for facilitating the purchase of a product anymore. You need to synchronize it with custom back-end software and be able to establish clear lines of communication across all channels of the network.
#6 You Don’t Wanna Be ‘just another eCommerce Store’
Let’s face it. You’ll find umpteen variations of the same offering, that claim to be extremely customizable. But are they, really?
When you’re using an existing eCommerce platform as opposed to building one from scratch, you have access to some run-of-the-mill features that every other eCommerce store owner would. As far as carts are concerned, you’ll be able to assign promo codes, a few types of discounts, synchronize it with your inventory management system, enable payments processing, but that’s about the long and short of it.
The truth is, you can accomplish so much more using your shopping cart! You can track the buyers’ journey and enable product recommendations accordingly, use the data for retention marketing, enable top-drawer order tracking and updates, enable Country Specific Pricing, run Flash Sales and a lot more!
If this sounds like something you want to accomplish, what you need is a custom-build and technology that can deliver.
Hiring The Right Technology For The Job
Now, you’ll find that platforms like WooCommerce and Magento come with a plethora of plugins and extensions that’ll tend to all the major eCommerce requisites. However, when an organization goes from being an SMB to an enterprise, investing in a software solution that can perform becomes a must. The technology you rely on plays a major role in paving your way to eCommerce success.
If you’re sure a custom-build is what you need, you could use frameworks like Ruby on Rails or Django or the technology that we openly advocate – Laravel. There’s a reason Laravel is the go-to PHP framework for developers and business owners alike, that’s because it is cleanly coded, and guarantees security, customizability, and scalability, making Laravel an ideal platform for enterprise solutions.
Are you looking for a custom e-commerce cart? What challenges are you facing with your existing cart? Do you agree with our take on Laravel? Drop us a line in the comments section below!