Ecommerce – The Pros and Cons

It’s not a surprise that business from all across the board in New York City, corporate to local shops, have been shifting from physical sales to digital purchasing of their products or services. More and more people are simply ‘Googling’ the products that they want to find online and clicking on the first online shops that the see above the fold.

This form of selling and marketing has proven to be truly effective on large and small scales for any kind of business. Ecommerce; defined as online shopping, selling, and business, has swept the world as the emerging dominant form of sales and there are many reason; especially in places like New York City where people don’t have time necessarily to physically visit all of the stores they see in newspaper ads, magazines, and commercials. Yet like everything, Ecommerce can quickly become a double edged sword with both advantages and drawbacks.

With everyone shopping online in New York, businesses are shifting their products to online shopping carts; many of this digital entrepreneurs are quickly swayed by the advantages of ecommerce. These advantages include things like:

  • Being able to sell products 24/7 and make money while asleep.
  • Being able to appeal to a wider audience not limited by the physical. What this means is that people don’t have to live in the same city or state to buy your products
  • The ability to use ecommerce as a marketing tool to a businesses name out into the world to drive more sales and game to a company or business.
  • Speed. Much to my personal dismay, computers seem to not only be able to think faster than humans, but they can sell products faster tool.
  • Effort. Much of the effort of having to ring up a customer, fill out their information, and serve the customer are stripped away and essentially put on the customer themselves. This is also known as self service.

All of these advantages however seem to cover up the most apparent disadvantages despite their over-reaching repercussions. Drawbacks such as the ones listed below could destroy a business if they ever occurred.

  • 100% online businesses rely on platforms, servers, and technology that can crash at any point in time rendering the business useless.
  • Online sales completely take away the personality that you get from human interaction. These human interactions sometimes drive sales up and open new leads
  • Lawsuits. Ecommerce websites are vulnerable (no matter what people say) to hacking and digital theft which will leave you and your business wide open for lawsuits if any of your customers suspect this happened because of purchasing something through your website.

The disadvantages could go on for pages, but those three should get across the point that ecommerce web design can be a tricky business for some people. Yet New York consumers and retailers don’t seem to pay any attention to the disadvantages and continue to shop and sell online.

Advantages Offered By Ecommerce Website Development

No matter what the size of the company, big or small, every company wants to expand their business. They want to use every way possible to market their products and services. Businesses organize marketing campaigns to spread the popularity and reach of their business. Ecommerce web development helps businesses in creating a personal bond with potential clients and consumers using the medium of internet. In the current era, Ecommerce apps and solutions are becoming imperative for every business or organization to claim their online presence. Ecommerce website helps a business in endorsing their products and/or services across the world in least possible time.

There are a number of ecommerce websites and apps created on a daily basis to fulfil the needs of different businesses. However, to survive the cut throat competition a business should have a highly effective ecommerce website design. A well designed and user friendly ecommerce website ensures high sales and business revenue.

Ecommerce web apps are increasing because of its high flexibility and ease of use they offer. Listed below are some of the advantages offered by Ecommerce website development:

– Ecommerce website development helps businesses in reaching their target audience which is based in the international market. This is one of the most important advantages provided by Ecommerce development. It helps any business located at any place to reach any client located at any corner of the globe.

-Ecommerce development helps a business in making their products and/or services available to potential clients round the clock. It helps you remain in touch with your clients 24 X 7. Your clients can also avail of your services at anytime of the day.

– Ecommerce apps are SEO friendly. SEO is the backbone of internet marketing. Ecommerce development provides great exposure to your business as it is SEO friendly. It makes your website more visible on search engines. Every potential client will view your website before they view you rivals’ website.

– It helps in the growth of international trade as well as the economy.

– Ecommerce development helps in easy customization. One can quickly change the contents within some time.

– Ecommerce site ensures highly scalable and secure process to help you expand your business on the online scale.

– It helps you enhance your business revenue. The user friendly nature of the website helps more potential users to visit your site.

– It is the most effective of marketing your business at affordable rates. This brings down the cost of advertising for a business.

– Ecommerce website development ensures high performance with fewer attempts.

– Last but not the least benefit is that it allows for ease in managing the ins and outs of business. You can easily track sales reports and understand what your clients are more interested in.

Ecommerce web development is a concept that has been introduced only a decade back and yet it has contributed to the growth of number of businesses. As people who are at home are managing online businesses through ecommerce websites the economy is experiencing good growth.

Best PHP Based ECommerce Platforms

In addition to being the most popular server-side programming language, PHP has been evolving consistently to simplify development of websites and web application. The latest version of PHP also comes with several new language features, enhanced speed and reduced resource consumption. Hence, you can always consider developing your ecommerce application with PHP 7 to make the website load faster. The enhanced loading speed will boost the search engine ranking of the website and keep the visitors engaged.

You can even avail the resources provided by various PHP-based ecommerce platforms to build a custom web store without putting extra time and effort. Also, you can take advantage of these ecommerce platforms without increasing project overheads as most of them are open source and free. Also, you have option to choose from a number of PHP-based ecommerce platforms according to your business model and needs. However, it is also important to compare the features and tools provided by various PHP-based ecommerce platforms according to your specific needs.

Brief Overview of 7 Widely Used PHP eCommerce Platforms

1) Magento

You have option to choose from various editions – enterprise, enterprise cloud and community – of Magento. The community edition of Magento is open source and free, whereas other are commercial and paid. But the community edition of the ecommerce platform lacks technical support. The themes and modules provided by Magento will help you to customize the look, feel, and functionality of the web store without writing additional code. You can further download a variety of themes and extensions from online marketplace. However, you have to incur additional expenses to avail the additional features provided by commercial editions of the ecommerce platform.

2) WooCommerce

The PHP ecommerce platform is supported by WordPress. You can even use WooCommerce as a plug-in to integrate ecommerce functionalities into an existing website developed with WordPress. The themes and plug-ins provided by WooCommerce will make it easier for you to customize the web store and shopping cart according to your business model. Despite being highly customizable, WooCommerce also allows you to choose from a variety of extensions. However, some of these themes, extensions and plug-ins are paid. But you can always take advantage of the resources provided by WooCommerce to simplify custom ecommerce application development.

3) OpenCart

The open source ecommerce platform was initially rewritten in Perl. But the developers subsequently rewrote OpenCart in PHP. In addition to providing an out of box shopping cart, OpenCart also provides a variety of themes and plug-ins to simplify ecommerce website development. Also, it supports multiple languages, currencies, tax rates, and payment gateway. The built-in SEO feature of the platform further enables you to increase the ecommerce website’s search engine visibility and ranking without deploying skilled digital marketers.

4) ZenCart

ZenCart is originally designed as an ecommerce shopping cart program. But the features provided by ZenCart enable you to set up and run a custom web store within a short amount of time. You can take advantage of the themes and plug-ins provided by the shopping cart program to customize the ecommerce website according to your business needs. At the same time, ZenCart supports multiple languages, currencies, payment options, shipping options, and discount coupons. Also, it boost customer buying experience by keeping the checkout flow and process simple and fast.

5) PrestaShop

Unlike other PHP-based ecommerce platforms, PrestaShop supports over 60 languages. You can take advantage of the multiple language support provided by PrestaShop to promote and sell your products to customers residing in various regions and speaking different languages. At the same time, the modules and layouts templates provided by PrestaShop make it easier for you to customize the web store without putting extra time and effort. Also, you can avail an array of useful features provided by PrestaShop like customizable themes, mobile-friendly design, and professional ecommerce website templates. However, you have to incur additional expenses to avail the paid modules and layouts templates for PrestaShop.

6) VirtueMart

The open source ecommerce platform is designed with features to complement Joomla CMS. VirtueMart scores over other ecommerce platforms due to its enterprise grade security features and performance. But many developers use VirtueMart for developing small to medium web stores. You can always opt for VirtueMart to avail a number of robust features like varying product edit options, creating and managing shopper groups, generate invoice, and a unified calculator. Also, VirtueMart supports multiple currencies, shipping options, payment options, and payment gateways.

7) OSCommerce

In addition to being a mature ecommerce platform for PHP, OSCommerce is also supported by a large and active community. OSCommerce developers can take advantage of the free add-ons uploaded by members of the community to add functionality to the web store without writing longer lines of code. OSCommerce further provides a shopping cart which is developed with PHP and MySQL, and can be integrated seamlessly into an existing website. Also, the ecommerce platform supports multiple currencies, unlimited products and categories, payment process systems, and tax rate. Further, it simplifies the billing and invoice generation process by updating currency exchange rates automatically.

On the whole, you have to choose from several ecommerce platforms written in PHP. But you must remember that these ecommerce solutions differ from each other in the category of learning curve, technical support, maturity, and compatibility. That is why; you must evaluate the pros and cons of each PHP-based ecommerce platform, and choose the one that meets your precise business needs and objectives.