A Simple Guide to Managed eCommerce Platforms vs. Open Source CMS

The biggest difference between these two eCommerce solutions is that a managed eCommerce platform is hosted on a separate server, which you won’t be able to access. Generally, this means that your eCommerce website will be provided for you (with the ability for some customizations and added features) and all you need to do is add your content and products. On the other hand, when you use an open source CMS (instead of a managed eCommerce platform) you will host it on your own server. However, this leaves you to set up your own online store. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a managed platform over or open source CMS, so to make the choice it’s helpful to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each type of platform.

Managed eCommerce Platforms

There are two primary advantages to using a managed eCommerce platform. The first is that it requires less website development. The various managed eCommerce platforms use pre-built templates that you can choose from when setting up your website. For eCommerce business owners with no website development experience, or any knowledge about web programming or code, this can be a huge advantage. Of course, it’s always possible to hire a professional to develop your website for you, but that isn’t realistic for everyone’s budget. The platforms are set up to have easy-to-use and intuitive admin dashboard that allow you to go through and add your content to make any changes you want. The disadvantage to this is that it limits your ability to customize your website how you want. You may find you want a feature that isn’t available on the platform, but that you don’t know how to make a code for it. Or everything on a template is great, except for one major detail that you can’t change. The ease-of-use means that your website is going to look not as unique than if it was fully customized. Chances are that another eCommerce store out there is using the same template as you.

The other advantage is that a managed eCommerce platform is much easier to stay on top of and manage, particularly for people who don’t know a lot about website programming or don’t have a lot of technical knowledge. When your website is hosted by a separate server there are fewer things for you to worry about or be in charge of for your website, because the managed eCommerce platform is doing it for you. This means that features like payment and visitor information protection will be covered and managed by the hosting platform’s security. Another big advantage is that you will have greater access to a customer support and technical team. You are technically renting the server from the managed eCommerce platform, which means they will be available to help you through any technical difficulties.

Open Source CMS

An open source CMS is definitely geared towards eCommerce business owners that have a greater technical knowledge of web programming and development. The first advantage of an open source CMS is that you have a much less limited ability for customization. You can modify any of the features available, which means that you online store is completely unique. The next advantage has to do with how you own your store; with an open source CMS you have to actually purchase the server for your website (whereas with a managed eCommerce platform, you are technically renting a server for your eCommerce store). However, this means you will most likely have limited access to any technical help should there be a problem over your server.

Another advantage is that an open source CMS is better equipped to handle larger online stores with more traffic. This is because of the ability for customizable features, so an eCommerce business owner can find a server to host a larger online store and still have the ability to run a well-functioning eCommerce website.

The main disadvantages associated with an open source CMS is that there is a lot more to manage with your website, because you are in charge of your own server. This could be a great feature for some, or a hindrance to others. And if you struggle with website development and programming, an open source CMS can be particularly difficult for you without professional help.

Overall, choosing between either a managed eComerce platform or an open source CMS boils down to personal preference and technical knowledge. Someone who prefers to have more control and more ownership of their website should turn to an open source CMS, while someone who needs more of the technical work managed by an outside source should use a managed eCommerce platform. At the end of the day, the right choice is whatever is going to work best for you and work best to make your eCommerce business a success. If you have any questions, or are trying to start your own eCommerce business, contact Genius eCommerce and get your successful business started.