Open Source eCommerce platforms are ideal for both beginner e-businesses as well as big brands that want to professionally develop online sales. It is worth considering whether our online store is supposed to be on the PrestaShop ready template (theme) or rather it is worth choosing a dedicated e-store project.
Below, we will discuss the greatest advantages and disadvantages of both solutions, although one fact we mark at the very beginning – dedicated implementation of an online store is an absolute must for serious brands. Why? Read the facts about the differences between templates and individual implementations below.
For whom the template will be a good solution?
Open Source eCommerce platforms allow you to present your products to users relatively quickly. Thousands of templates can be found on the network, which enable the implementation of an online store at a low cost.
Who should choose the PrestaShop template?
- For companies that are just starting to sell and have no experience in the e-commerce industry and are not able to predict the demand for offered products / services.
- For brands that do not have a large budget for online sales.
- For stores that do not plan to develop an online sales channel.
- For companies that must – for some reason – start selling online very quickly and treat the first e-store as a trial.
An online store based on a template is usually a transitional solution or intended for people who treat online sales more as new experience and an additional source of income than a serious developmental business. Why? The relatively low cost and short time of implementation reflects negatively on other key aspects of the e-store. It should be remembered that the e-commerce market is already very competitive at the moment, and with time this situation will only intensify. It’s getting harder to keep up with the competition, and it’s even harder to stand out against it. The template solution certainly can not guarantee it.
Disadvantages of online store implementations on the template.
Unfortunately, the disadvantages of template implementations definitely outweigh their advantages, especially for entrepreneurs with a specific profile, ie those who treat online sales with seriousness and want to achieve success in it. Below we will list the most important of them:
- Limited functionality of the store.
- An imposed eCommerce layout that does not necessarily match the profile and expectations of potential customers.
- Limited possibilities of eCommerce development.
- Predefined UX, so – in our opinion – bad UX.
- The limited possibilities of e-shop personalization.
- Common incongruity in terms of SEO.
- Common problems with the quality of the template code and the inability to check it before buying.
- No person responsible for the template or difficult contact with the creator.
- Problems with support and development of the project.
- Template-based stores often run slower.
- Poor security.
- Problems with proper integration with external systems.
- Hundreds of stores are based on the most popular templates, which undermines the professionalism of the company and makes it difficult to stand out from the competition.
Perhaps it would be possible to mention more problems that can be met by people who choose a template, as well as find a template that eliminated some of the above imperfections.
The advantages of implementing an individual eCommerce project.
The wonderful feature of the open code is that you can put an e-store tailored perfectly to the needs and expectations of the customer and his customers. Below, a large part of the benefits of choosing a dedicated eCommerce project will be discussed.
Control over the project.
The main advantage of a full, dedicated implementation of the online store is control over the project – information architecture, elements of layout, graphics, programming process, integrations, modules and all other components of the process.
Reliable eCommerce agency will guarantee you full transparency of activities, propose appropriate solutions, take care of usability, functionality, security and performance of your online store. Thanks to this you will have a real influence on the final look and operation of the online store.
Usability and functionality – UX eCommerce design.
Each brand is different, just like groups of customers. Thanks to the individual implementation of the online store and the user-oriented design approach (UCD – user-centered design), your eCommerce will be tailored to the preferences of the potential customer.
Individual implementation should be based on hard data, not assumptions. This can be achieved through analyzes of the customers, competition, brand communication strategies and its image. The right approach consists of workshops with the client, analysis of competition, creation of key clients personas, analysis of existing data (information from Google Analytics, heat maps, visitor recording), evaluation of order history and current questions from clients. On such strong foundations you can go to the design of information architecture as well as eCommerce maps and mock-ups. At this stage, the advantage of a dedicated store over the one based on a ready template is created.
All these elements affect the usability and transparency of the store, its conversion and sales.
With the graphic design of a tailor-made store you have the full impact on the final look of each eCommerce element.
Thanks to this, your e-store will stand out from the competition, it will be unique and aesthetically suited to the character of the company. Remember, the first impression happens only once.
Adaptation to SEO.
Finding that all templates are not matched for SEO would be a lie. Dedicated implementation of the online store gives this certainty, as long as the design follows the best practices of customization to the search engines.
By buying a template you decide to invest in a “cat in a poke”. Adapting the template to SEO requirements can take many hours, although on the market you can find templates well prepared for positioning.
Code quality and development opportunities.
The quality of the code in templates is often not too good – especially in their cheaper versions.
It affects on:
- the possibility and easiness of later development of the e-store
- the ability to react quickly to errors and failures
- page speed
- possibility of conflict-free and correct installation of modules and integration with external systems
- online store security
- making updates while maintaining the continuity of proper eCommerce operation
The ready templates are adapted only to specific goals and business environment, which will not necessarily correspond to the needs and requirements of your eCommerce. Comprehensive re-make of a ready template and adapting it to your business is time-consuming and problematic.
An additional problem is the responsibility for incorrect operation and control over the code. “Entering the skin” of the person preparing the template is problematic even for an experienced developer and requires from him a lot of commitment and tedious work tracking the line by line.
In the case of a dedicated implementation, the store is tailored to what you need at the moment and in what direction you intend to develop. What’s more – all future unexpected changes can be implemented faster and at a lower cost, because the implementing agency knows your project from the inside out and does not have to dig through its mechanics. In addition, a professionally operating company takes responsibility for how the store works. The creators of the template usually do not guarantee this.
The eCommerce agency, which implements an online store for you, may support it in a further stage of cooperation, thanks to which you will have permanent access to programmers who created your e-store. Thanks to this you will ensure your safety and guarantee proper action and development of e-business.
Thanks to this, you will ensure security and appropriate activities as well as the development of e-business. Otherwise, you’ll have to solve all the problems yourself.
Support and development of an online store based on a dedicated PrestaShop solution is also faster and easier, if the creators of the project take care of it.
Template, or dedicated design. What to choose?
You already know what you can expect from the eCommerce template, and what the dedicated project offers you. You know the advantages and disadvantages of a given solution.
Of course, the choice is yours, because no one, as well as you know your approach to e-business, has an insight into your expectations, needs and perspectives.
If you decide to cooperate with an eCommerce agency, try to pass on as much as possible of this knowledge, because nothing will affect the development of your store as well as a professional, partnership cooperation with eCommerce specialists.