Online store development. What tech is better?
Business Development Manager at AlvariumSoft
E-commerce development is the core direction of our work. Since we get requests for such type of work often and they have similar questions to be answered, I've prepared a short article about pros & cons of technologies, approaches, etc.
Why we don't develop online stores using popular CMS.
We all know an online store can be constructed by many different ways. Popular CMS have in private functionality different components of online stores, they can be paid or for free. There are specialized CMS for store development like www.opencart.com, www.prestashop.com, https://www.insales.ru/, and so on. Online stores are developed also using 1C Bitrix, Magento, Drupal, and WordPress. If you need to create a store for a few goods, you may use even Tilda.
We've had experience in development stores using WordPress, 1C Bitrix, and others. We used developed components of an online store.
For now, we create a backend side of our online stores using a fast framework Laravel. You may ask, why? Because a popular CMS is already developed product. When you're deploying "Box solution" of Opencart or Bitrix, it's dizziness from a big amount of opportunities and adjustments. And "happiness" is till the time, when client requires to make something outside the box and boundaries of a developed static component..
The truth is when you need more-less deep integration in a developed static functional takes much more time than development the same thing from scratch. And eventually takes more costs. .
With all the variety of choices, you will not find a ready-made "Box" for a complex online store with special client's requests. Their functionality is enough when you just want to try the first step in online selling. But if a client knows his requirements and what store he wants to get done according to a prepared Software Requirement Specification, then "Box solutions" will be at the last place of our choice chain.
Because in this case, a ready-made solution (It doesn't matter it's free or paid) is a compromise.
A middle-size online store is described in a software requirements specification. Adapting "Box solution" for detailed SRS will be much more complicated than creating it from scratch using Laravel framework. Or it requires to make an SRS shorter according to described functionality. Anyway, it gives no opportunities for client's business to be scalable and fast adapting to the market changes.
What platform do we use to make great online stores?
The most loved tool for e-commerce development is Laravel framework. The first and most important advantage of using Laravel is flexibility. Flexibility is a word that is used often and everywhere. But it's really a great thing. And no matter what type of work need to be done.
When we worked with CMS, each third task was being investigated in detail. We were afraid to find in an SRS something "outside the box" and outside of CMS possibilities. In this case, we couldn't to prognoses spent on the development process and we were not able to make an accurate estimation for projects.
We had to have risks to start development process or persuaded clients to refuse some part of functionality. When we started to use Laravel, the problem has been disappeared.
Using Laravel framework we build exactly what clients want. And we are not adapting a ready-made engine for clients' requirements. Laravel allows choosing an architecture of content without a prepared environment.
The most valuable profit of using Laravel is custom admin panel development. Because we build admin panel from scratch and can do any functionality clients require.
The second advantage of Laravel is a high speed of working. Online stores developed using laravel are very fast. If you have some thoughts after reading, it means you know that site speed is the most valuable point for searching systems like Google. Google allows getting first positions in searching results for fast stores, simultaneously decrease positions for slow websites. It's very important for getting new buyers.
The third advantage of using Laravel framework is absolute neutrality to SEO. Lots of specialists have been argued many times about "What CMS is better for SEO?". The disputes are not important because the requirements of Google are changed very often. The problem of CMS is in situations when CMS doesn't have the necessary flexibility to realize requirements from SEO specialists. Laravel allows redeveloping everything from scratch when Google again invents something new.
You can ask, "But an online store built using framework costs more expensive?"
The head surprise waits for you if we compare prices for sites using CMS with prices using Laravel. Logically assume when we use ready-made CMS than store will be cheaper and developed faster. It doesn't work in this case.
Website development consists of several stages:
2) UI/UX design
3) Markup development
4) Integrating mark up into Framework
5) Putting content
Development using CMS will be cheaper when the online store is too simple.
You can get some positive points only if you deploy it from a box and integrate a ready-made HTML template. There is no unique design here, but it's fast and cheap. In this case, you can erase prototyping, design, and markup development. You just need to put goods in your store. It works when you don't have a budget and don't know which store you really want. It's okay when you just want to try yourself in this field.
Web development cost with CMS is more expensive when the online store is more complicated.
And the main problem waits for you, not at the time when you want to make it for a cheap price. It is when you want to make a great shop but have chosen for it CMS. You may lose the time and money if an SRS of your store goes outside the boundaries of CMS. In this case, web studio will be creating incorrect approaches to realize the requirements. Deep integrations will take much time instead of creating from scratch.
Programmers have to redevelop the code which was created by other people. It's additional time which requires to be paid from client's pocket. For you, as a client, it doesn't matter which technology is used for development your e-commerce project. But bad code can see Google, and it slows down your web site in search results.
There is no universal solution for creating an online store using a ready-made engine.
It is obviously to create a modern online store there is no necessity to use ready-made CMS. Even if an online store isn't big, using Laravel is better, because in some time you as a client can want to create some new functionality or increase load speed. If we use a CMS it's very complicated to do, sometimes it's unreal. Having done an online store on Laravel framework, you can modify it whatever you wish without any limits and for less cost than using CMS.
If you have goals or ambitions to start working in an online area with a powerful online store, we would love to help you to make it great and fast according to best practices of e-commerce development.
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