Renting an e-shop: pros and cons

Renting an e-shop: pros and cons

The Internet is full of articles that compare the costs of building a self-hosted e-shop and renting a pre-built one from a provider. Such comparisons are usually misleading because the authors often compare renting an e-shop with creating a tailor-made e-commerce solution from scratch.

In reality, clients that have a specific business need requiring them to seek unique backend and web design solutions, never consider renting. Basic versions offered by e-commerce platform providers simply cannot satisfy the needs of such users.

In some cases, renting an e-shop is indeed the right decision. It helps to test out your product, discover your niche on the market or simply gain experience in the world of e-commerce. Users that choose to rent usually emphasize the easiness and speed of setting up. Such e-shops, however, fail to solve specific business issues as the default versions are quite limited.

Self-hosting a basic e-shop is another quick solution that costs less because you have to pay only for hosting. Other steps are pretty much the same – you choose a template and design that suits you and ask the developer to set up and test the system.

This way you not only get rid of additional monthly fees, but you also get full control. If you are tied to a provider, migrating to your own e-store might become problematic in the future, when your business expands.

Here is a list of common drawbacks of renting an e-shop:

1.      Limited functionality. Users can only choose from the modules and functions offered by the provider. An identical self-hosted system allows users to add virtually any free or paid module by themselves or with the help of a developer.

2.      Difficult to migrate content. We had our fair share of clients that decided to migrate to their own server. The reason was always the same – the businesses had outgrown the options offered by the provider. In most cases, they had to pay extra for exporting their content. Moreover, months or even years of efforts were wasted, as all functional improvements were lost with the old e-shop.

3.      Rental fees. When you rent an e-shop, you have to pay an unnecessary monthly fee for consultations and additional work. However, if you have a self-hosted e-shop, you are free to hire any developer you wish and pay them only for the work you order.

4.      Unappealing templates and designs. E-commerce platform providers usually offer only the most basic design options. Why limit yourself, when multiple online marketplaces let you choose from thousands of templates and design variations?

To sum up, self-hosting gives you more options without monthly fees and other expenses. Plus, you receive the following benefits:

1.      If you decide to expand, you will not have to change or adjust the design if it still fits you.

2.      No need to learn your way around a different backend interface, as it stays the same.

3.      More options to implement SEO, track sales and other data.

4.      No limit on the number of items, customer account, product categories, and so on.

5.      You are not dependent on a third party provider that might go out of business any day.

If you want to receive an offer for a basic e-shop built on the PrestaShop platform, get in touch now – we will be happy to advise you.