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If you're on the fence about going with a "free" open source ecommerce platform or a subscription based web store software provider such as InstanteStore, do consider the points below.
While both subscription-based ecommerce software and open source alternatives have their merits, there are several reasons why a merchant might prefer to go with the former.
Support and Maintenance: With a subscription-based service, you get a dedicated support team that can provide assistance and help troubleshoot any issues you might encounter. With an open-source platform, you may have to rely on community support or hire a developer for maintenance or customization, which can be time-consuming and costly. This holds true no matter where you are. You could be a Malaysia ecommerce merchant or an online store owner in the US.
Ease of Use: Full-featured ecommerce solutions often come with user-friendly interfaces and clear instructions, making it easier for non-technical users to manage their stores. Open source platforms might require a higher level of technical expertise.
Security: Subscription-based platforms often include regular updates and security patches to keep your store safe from threats. In contrast, managing security on open-source platforms usually falls on the user, requiring continuous monitoring and potentially the need to hire a security expert.
Regular Updates and New Features: A subscription-based ecommerce platform often includes regular updates, with new features being added consistently to keep up with industry trends and demands. These improvements are automatically available to subscribers without any extra effort. Also, in the case of InstanteStore which has been around since 2001, the list of available features which are available for free is extensive.
Integration with Other Services: Subscription-based platforms often come with built-in integrations for a wide variety of services, like payment gateways, shipping providers, marketing tools, etc. While open-source platforms can be customized to integrate with these services, it usually requires extra work and technical knowledge.
Scalability: As your business grows, your ecommerce platform needs to be able to handle increased traffic and sales. Subscription-based services often provide scalability options, allowing your ecommerce site to grow with your business without the need to worry about server capacity and infrastructure.
Time and Cost: While open-source software may seem cheaper initially, the costs can add up when you consider the time and resources needed for setup, customization, and maintenance. A subscription service with a monthly or annual fee can be more predictable and often less costly when considering the total cost of ownership. At InstanteStore, many features are available for free. Certain features which are available on all InstanteStore subscription plans, on the Manage Products page, for example, require custom implementation on some free and paid platforms.
It's important to note that the choice between a subscription-based ecommerce software provider and an open source alternative often depends on a business's specific needs, resources, and capabilities. Some businesses may prefer the flexibility and customization potential of open-source software, while others may prefer the simplicity and support offered by a subscription-based provider.
That said, at InstanteStore we offer our merchants the flexibility to customize their stores. We have frontend and beckend developers with UI/UX knowledge to design both customer and merchant facing interfaces. We've been in the business since 2001 and we've seen businesses grow, and no two businesses have identical needs.
When a merchant requests a customization, we use the experience we've garnered over the years to fine tune what is actually needed to reach the end in mind. There's no value in simply producing exactly what is requested. It might be what the merchant wants but not what the merchant needs.