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Tailored e-commerce solutions are those that are perfectly adapted to your brand’s needs. They allow you to present and sell your products in the most effective way possible, but this is just one of the benefits. We explore the positives of a tailored e-commerce website in this blog post and why it could be the avenue to your brand’s online success.
Firstly, let us provide you an explanation necessary for the purpose of this article.
There are two types of software: open source and closed source. In a nutshell, open source software is code which is freely distributed and modifiable. Closed source on the other hand is software which is protected by a license and subject to modification restrictions. It’s also useful for this post to highlight that our e-commerce platform, bluCommerce, is closed source.
“By its very nature, open source code is replicated across thousands of other sites. If you reach its limits then you are stuck – could even be back to the drawing board. This is just not good business by any standards.” [source]
The reason that this explanation is necessary is because open source e-commerce software tends to be off-the-shelf. That is, the design and layout of websites running with this software are very similar, apart of course from their content. Other than that there is little individuality between them, and they tend to look the same.
The reason for this is largely because these types of e-commerce software use templates. While there may be 100+ choices on offer, there will always be another brand using the same templates, making it harder for your brand to truly stand out from the rest.
The need for individuality is where the importance of a tailored e-commerce platform comes in.
Here at blubolt we understand and are passionate about e-commerce sites that are a true representation of our retailers and their brand values. Our bluCommerce platform and other e-commerce solutions give your brand the ability to showcase what makes it truly different.
So, explanations aside, let’s find out why bespoke is better.
Cookie cutter, off-the-shelf, mass production, there are many names for the process of creating the same model of just about anything on a large scale. It’s a popular option because it’s easy, which in e-commerce terms equates to ease of installation and use.
It may be true that off-the-shelf solutions are easy to set up at the beginning, but this is no trade-off for a tailored e-commercewebsite.
Why? Because to succeed in e-commerce requires originality in the form of an online store which exudes your brand’s personality in its design, content, and layout. It’s this originality, indeed authenticity, which is what effectively sets you apart from the competition.
To refine this, a tailored e-commerce website looks like it belongs to your brand. Not your brand and 70,000 others.
Of course we’re biased because no two of our sites look the same, but there is genuine logic behind having an e-commerce site that’s tailored to your brand, if only because it makes standing out from the crowded marketplace much easier. This is why there’s power in originality. Naturally it all depends on the size and nature of your e-commerce business, but individuality is important no matter your business.
The bottom line is to ask yourself : are you happy with generic design that does the job? Or would you prefer a totally original approach to e-commerce that fully reflects your brand’s identity?
Off-the-shelf e-commerce software usually restricts retailers to pre-designed templates, which, by the way, are often charged. While it’s true there may be 100s of templates available, multinational e-commerce software companies have thousands of clients, meaning that someone, somewhere will have a website more or less identical to yours. In a digital world that favours uniqueness and originality, that’s a big no-no.
“If you are looking to create a serious business that has the foundations in place to grow, or are already established, then we’d always recommend bespoke design when it comes to your e-commerce website. You’ll want the way your website and brand looks to be instantly recognisable and tailored to your values, so you can build a connection with your customers going forward.” [source].
This is why full flexibility over e-commerce site design is so important. We personally don’t believe that retailers who have built a successful brand should be forced to adapt their look to e-commerce software which doesn’t allow for complete control over brand expression. With a tailored e-commerce approach, redesigns are recognised as a part of your business growing, changing, and adapting to a marketplace in constant flux. We also give our retailers the ability to create and modify landing pages with ease, allowing them to remain agile in their marketing activities.
Large-scale e-commerce solutions are restricted as to the integrations and features available to users. This is certainly not a problem for the majority of standard e-commerce functionality. Nor perhaps for those just opening an online store in the early stages of growth.
However, growth is often accompanied by more niche requirements, where a brand needs specific plug-ins and integrations based on their unique brand goals. But this is often not possible with open source e-commerce software, who will offer a pre-determined (and usually limited) list of features, and requesting new ones is not always easy. This is because agency developers did not build the software themselves and may have significantly less in-depth knowledge as those working for closed source providers.
In this sense, open source e-commerce solutions can provide you with the fundamentals, but once new business requirements make an appearance it becomes difficult, costly and frustrating to adapt the platform. In other words, the exact opposite scenario of working with a tailored e-commerce platform.
That’s where bluCommerce comes in as one of the most feature-rich platforms on the market. We have customer account managers on hand to deal with our retailers’ needs directly. Not only that but if an integration is not feasible or wise for your business, a bespoke agency can provide that level of tailored advice, and without delay. Off-the-shelf e-commerce solutions simply don’t offer this calibre of client relations.
Also note: No 3rd party plugins were harmed in the writing of this article!
……because we don’t use them. We know it’s not wise to install a 3rd party plugin form an unknown source onto a retailer’s multi-million pound e-commerce site that’s the backbone of their organisation.
We believe in stability, speed, and security, which is why we develop all features ourselves, in-house. This means there’s no unnecessary risk introduced to your e-commerce site.
Admit it, how many of us have heard those words far too many times.
E-commerce solutions from large providers involve exactly these kinds of frustrating customer service scenarios. After all, who wants to be just another number in a system.
While you may not consider customer service to be an aspect of a bespoke e-commerce platform, it definitely is. Your e-commerce business is important, as is your success with your chosen provider, and having access to customer service teams when you need them is crucial in this success.
If you have a general query or something’s just not working, you need answers, and fast. The fact of the matter is that this comes as a direct result of a bespoke approach to easily accessible customer services.
All the elements we’ve discussed in this article ultimately feed into this final point.
A tailored e-commerce website can exponentially increase sales conversions. This is because large-scale, open source providers and agencies don’t (indeed can’t) take the time to understand their clients needs inside and out and design their e-commerce website accordingly.
Part of the tailored e-commerce platform experience includes in-depth business analysis and a deep understanding of an individual retailer’s requirements. Delivering this level of understanding empowers retailers to make decisions which result in increased sales conversions and a website that is designed in harmony with a client’s requirements.
This is yet another distinctive edge of bespoke e-commerce over off-the-shelf software.
You should choose your e-commerce partner very carefully. Part of this choice is reflecting on the nature of generic over tailored e-commerce solutions. Ultimately it will come down to what you need from your online store.
If you’re looking for the fundamentals, transacting with customers, running your day-to-day online business, then templated e-commerce websites could certainly suit you. However, as we’ve made evident in this article, bespoke e-commerce design provides the remarkably competitive edge that your brand needs to grow, succeed, and stand out from the rest.
bluCommerce is our tailored e-commerce platform. Managed entirely in-house, any potential issues are detected and mitigated by dedicated developers. They built the code and know it inside and out. No middle men, nowhere to hide, just full transparency and visibility combined with dedicated customer service. Add to all this a beautiful website exclusive to your brand and tailored e-commerce may well be the right option for you.
What to find out more about our platform? Contact us today to hear about our tailored e-commerce solutions.
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