Whether you are deciding to take your first plunge into eCommerce or upgrading your current site, you’re likely considering whether to use a template or to have a fully custom shopping site designed and built. Both are great options. It’s simply a matter of choosing what’s right for you depending on your specific budget, brand, skills, preferences, and design insight.
To help you make the right decision, we’ve put together a comparison of templates, customized templates, and fully customized shopping sites:
Templates for Online Retail
If you have a modest budget, using a template can be an excellent solution.
In the past, using a template was discouraged due to dull, cookie-cutter designs and limited functionality. That is no longer true. A myriad of design choices and a multitude of extensions are available for platforms like Magento or WooCommerce.
While setting up your own storefront using a template is certainly doable, working with a developer can greatly speed and ease the process. If you do opt to tackle this on your own, beware of installing a lot of extensions without fully researching your options. We are often tasked by business owners to help clean up a site with security issues, slow page speeds, SEO problems, buggy software, and consistency/reliability concerns.
Shopping Sites with Customized Templates
If you have a moderate budget, working with a developer to customize the template for your shopping site is a great option for boosting functionality and improving your customers’ experience. Modifications to the right template can also support your brand and style guidelines.
It’s important to work with a knowledgeable developer for any template modifications; the underlying code for each can dramatically affect the functionality of your site. Be sure to work with someone who can assure you that the code added to your new site is well written.
Fully Customized eCommerce Sites
If you have a robust budget, opting for a fully customized eCommerce site is the best way to go. When working with skilled developers to design and build your site from scratch – with your brand and feedback at the center of the process – the result is a site that does exactly what you want it to do.
In addition to delivering the perfect look and feel of a fully customized site, going this route results in a storefront that is faster and performs better because all of the code is written to do exactly what it needs to do and nothing else. (Third party extensions often include unnecessary bells and whistles in an attempt to attract the widest audience.) A customized site is also much more secure because the source is not known to the community at large, which makes it more difficult to hack.
It really is true that the more customized your site is, the better your overall experience will be. More importantly, your customers will have a better experience.
Still unsure which route to take? We welcome your questions.