Custom vs. template design and code

Custom vs. template design and code

We have already discussed the pros and cons of template-based e-commerce stores. So, what additional benefits does custom design and code bring?

Most of the clients are discouraged by the high costs of a new e-shop with custom design and code. For some, it is difficult to understand why they should pay more instead of buying a template for €140.

The purpose of this post is to reveal the main advantages of custom-built solutions.

Unfortunately, in Lithuania, international best practices are still rare. Small and mid-size enterprises receive offers that are primitive and fail to create value. This might be one of the reasons why company owners and decision-makers do not understand the direct value brought by a custom solution.

Drawbacks of templates (in brief)

·         bugs in the purchased template that cost to fix;

·         unintuitive and complicated back office;

·         incompatible with the brand of color scheme (adjustments cost as well);

·         too generic looking;

·         support costs more in the long-run.

You can read in detail about all this in our previous post.

Analyzing the project

An analysis needs to be performed before drafting a custom project.

Custom code design requires an in-depth analysis of the client’s business processes, product line and customer profile. Not all companies are used to such offers, but the success of your e-shop depends on it.

In the scope of each project, we analyze the competition and ask clients to fill in questionnaires. As a result, we:

·         Understand the needs of the client. Depending on that, we focus on the requirements to the e-shop.

·         Forecast the profile (persona) of our potential customer. Depending on demographic and other traits of the future customers, we adjust the design and purchase process, which differ from template solutions.

·         Discover and discuss the business issues our client has. In e-commerce, just uploading the items does not lead to sales. The merchant might have a shortage of some products, others are often unavailable or have to be pre-ordered. It is often impossible to order specific products, although they are displayed in a catalog manner, and the list goes on.

·         Solve third-party system integration problems. Many companies in Lithuania still use outdated and inconvenient storage management and accounting systems. Integrating them is often a real issue.

·         Analyze the competition. What makes us stand out from our competitors? What do they do better or worse than we could?

After an in-depth analysis we gain a firm understanding of the client’s needs. This knowledge helps us be confident in our decisions, knowing that we will not waste time and money. The bottom line is no one needs an e-shop that does not generate sales.

Custom design increases brand value

A brand is at the core of each company. Worldwide brand recognition is what generates the lion’s share of sales for such giants as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. They do not offer a unique or superior product but their brands, reinforced by wide-scale marketing campaigns, guarantee they remain above competitors.

A custom-designed e-shop will provide more value to your brand. You will not have one of those e-shops that look the same (many companies purchase the same template). Thus, there will be no need to worry about a competitor trying to knock you off by mimicking your design.

Custom design – tailor-made solutions, latest trends and fashions

Custom design lets you stand out from the army of plain e-shops, which are all based on templates. Templates are generic by their nature, because no one would buy them otherwise. For this reason, they all look the same, differing only in the choice of color scheme and layout.

When creating a custom-designed e-shop, not only do we follow the guidelines set by your brand, but we also apply the latest design and UI/UX trends to optimize conversion. As we are not limited by a template, we can introduce unique solutions, which make you stand out from the competition.

Mobile-friendly custom design

It is often the case that template-based solutions are not fully compatible with mobile browsers. Template designers do not ensure a proper layout on mobile devices, as it costs additional resources.

We always think about mobile users when creating our designs. Their number should not be underestimated. In the US, almost half of the online purchases are made on mobile, whereas in Lithuania nearly 30% of the customers browse e-shops on mobile devices.

Custom code optimizes conversions
Using the knowledge gained from analyzing customers and competitors, developers can tailor the purchase process tailor-made for you and your product line.

Each business has a different set of products and customer profile. Your customers should not find it difficult to purchase the products, learn about shipping and payment options, and so on.

Template solutions usually provide the same old PrestaShop purchase process. Product and category pages also look and function the same. A custom solution lets you take that extra step and focus on sales instead of just owning an e-shop.

Custom code: guaranteed bug fixes, cheaper support and improvement in the long run

Before buying and installing the template, you can never be sure that it will function exactly as shown in the demo version. However, a custom code based on your specification provides you a 100% guarantee that the e-shop will work the way you want. Most of the time (always – if you choose us), you will get a warranty for free bug fixes. If you contract the right suppliers, you will be sure that it will be much cheaper to expand, improve and change your e-shop in the future than to modify the template.

Custom code is created having in mind the possible future features. In the long run, supporting and improving a custom e-shop is often cheaper.

Custom code: integrating third-party systems

Most e-shops depend on the integration of at least two modules – shipping and payment options.

At the same time, more and more clients come to realize that is not feasible to monitor and update the stock manually. Thus, ways to automatically synchronize products and connect orders directly to accounting systems become increasingly popular.

Drawbacks of custom code and design

Despite having numerous benefits, custom code and design have their flows, which boil down to:

·         High initial costs. Creating an e-shop requires a hefty one-time investment.

·         Slow time-to-market (all steps take time if done properly). Building a high-quality e-shop takes from 2 to 6 months.

·         The client has to get involved in the process.

·         It takes a lot of work. The client needs to fill in questionnaires, help in analyzing the competition, make a lot of difficult decisions, and so on.

·         Once an e-shop is online, it is recommend hiring someone to manage it. Our experience shows that all successful products require a lot of time and attention. It is best to hire someone, even part-time, specifically for this task.

·         Choosing the right suppliers is hard. Contracting the proper team of web professionals is not easier than hiring staff for your own company.

·         The client must understand that running an e-shop is a never-ending process.