Guest post written for catecosta.com
The Website Builder Secret They Didn't Tell You
You've got a great new idea for an eCommerce website business. Investors have given you the green light and you are good to go.
Next on your to do list is to give your chosen digital agency the nod and your new world beating website will be given the development go ahead.
Are you missing something? Is there something they didn't tell you?
Open Source software may be “free” as in “given away” but out of the box it needs a ton of work to customise and make it look like the beautiful creation you envisaged it to be.
That Takes Time...And Time Is Money
A typical Magento developer on the top of their game charges out at around $100 per hour. And there's no advantage in paying out at the cheaper end of the market because at $20 per hour it will take five times as long to get to the finished product.
Hot developers are in demand and do stuff very quickly. In a market where constant change is invariable you need to get to market as fast as possible to start repaying your investors.
When Boo.com collapsed in 2000, with it went £80m of investors cash. The original dot com bubble claimed many victims and this was one of the most high profile.
Lavish offices and thousands of staff on the payroll meant that the company swallowed four times the original seed fund of $30 million.
They had the right idea but the wrong implementation and we are still learning the lesson today.
Ready, Fire, Aim!
The list of internet businesses that have pivoted from their original idea is eye opening:
Did you know that Twitter began life as “Odeo”?
The idea was to let people subscribe to podcasts but when iTunes got established the founders could see the writing on the wall. Odeo morphed into Twitter. Now it's worth around $10 Billion.
Facebook started as “Facemash”
A “Hotornot” image comparison website. Now it's worth over $334 Billion.
Instagram was originally a location service...
Where you shared your pictures and “hung out”. Today's Value? Around an eye watering $35 Million.
If anyone of these bright ideas had run out of investor cash before they transformed from an ugly duckling then they wouldn't be around today.
With hundreds of thousands of eCommerce stores all vying for attention your focus should not be on developing a new eCommerce solution that drives the competition into submission.
It should be on using your available resources to develop marketing techniques that outsmart them.
Using Customer Experience Tools
For example User Replay is a service that allows you to replay user sessions on your eCommerce website and identify the reasons for abandoned carts or other event based metrics.
Kana delivers software that enables users to take control of their browsing experience and makes online interactions more effective.
There are many more customer experience tools available to delve into the mind of your buyer and implementing any one of them will put you way ahead of the competitor that chooses to focus most of their energy and resources on developing eCommerce software.
It's for that reason that online website builders are beginning to be taken seriously.
The combination of a scaleable hosting solution together with proven reliable architecture mean that there is far less risk to take onboard.
Development is quicker and far more cost effective than traditional website building techniques.
There is no point in reinventing the wheel.
Online website builders like Shopify, Bigcommerce and more recently Lemonstand have an approach to eCommerce website development that can give you results far superior to standard digital agency output and at a fraction of the cost.
Here are some of the advantages to be gained by building your next eCommerce store “in the cloud”:
By creating your website using the latest in Content Delivery Networks (CDN) you will be building in a secure and robust environment that will scale as you grow.
There is no need to employ server specialists to monitor your own servers and deal with the endless upgrade cycle of the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) platform. It's all taken care of for you.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for being afraid of using a mass eCommerce platform is that you'll end up looking like everyone else.
Most eCommerce providers have around eighty responsive templates for you to choose from and they are all highly customisable using simple website development techniques.
In fact the latest templates from Lemonstand use Open Source libraries that make development of your own custom look and feel a breeze.
Third Party Integration
When online website builders first came to prominence they were clunky and difficult to use.
Now, instead of trying to incorporate every feature into their design they use integration with third party “best of breed” solutions by default.
The monthly fee charged equates to what you would pay for a decent server to host your Open Source solution. What you save by managing it yourself is lost in maintenance and hosting fees.
Giving You Back Your Most Valuable Asset – Time
If you are paying developers to produce a custom eCommerce solution then they are using up your time bank. Time is not infinite. We only have so much of it to use before our work is done.
It's far more preferable to begin with something that does the job and evolve it as you gain customer feedback. Using customer experience tools will show you where to invest wisely.
Building your eCommerce solution “in the cloud” allows you to take advantage of the very latest in hosting technology and build quickly on “barebones” eCommerce technology.
You don't need to sink large sums of money into website development to start taking orders quickly freeing up cash to spend on customer experience analysis.
About The Author:
I’ve been building eCommerce websites since I first discovered the Internet in 1999 and I've worked for several successful internet startups.
Now I run a website dedicated to eCommerce website builder reviews and associated tools to help the startup entrepeneur.
You'll find all the information you need to build a successful eCommerce website at Storebuilder.co.uk