Starting an online design business is always a challenge for any company. Whether you are brick and mortar business or a startup with design ideas in mind, you are open to a multitude of solutions present on market for ecommerce platforms shipped with online product designer.
While you can go with a free open source solution or purchase a product that suits your needs, there is always an option of subscribing to a prepaid service, such as popular Deconetwork.com. Such services became very attractive as they give shop owners a very easy way to start. While most of the products allow try-before-buy experience, having ability to try the service before subscribing is a very good incentive, especially if you don’t have to care about own hosting infrastructure. What’s more, you can always unsubscribe from the service whenever you prefer, or upgrade to more expensive plan as your business grows.
However, there is a downside to an online designer services which you personally cannot control. While these may not be as dangerous for small shops and startups, a middle to large enterprises should be aware of certain risks that come with moving their online design business into the cloud.
Most of the online services offer a pay as you go scheme, trying to fit in a number of payments you cannot grasp while evaluating. There, along with certain monthly fee, adds up a transaction commission, necessity to pay in quarters rather than strictly monthly and insignificant discounts for loyal clients. Hidden fees became a normal fear of each shop owner from decoration industry when it comes to replenish the account.
If your online decoration shop is in the cloud, be prepared for downtimes which you won’t be control. While you can be confident in the host of your choice, with online services you would have to trust in system administrators of your vendor, thus not having opportunity to select one host or another and scale the website performance during high loads and seasons (Christmas, for instance).
Remember 1984 of Orwell’s, a unified society was an utopia and so is online decoration market today with hosted solution. To win your customer, your website should have good SEO and design, and stay easy for the customer and have streamlined fulfillment of the orders. At the same time, so can be your competitor’s who would use same service, same fonts, same templates and same website design! Once you are feeling pretty much confident with the settings of the service and like to be more unique, you suddenly bump the wall - you can’t go beyond standard features, templates and experience. SaaS services make customization not possible beyond most popular settings that will suit everyone.
On the contrary, a standalone ecommerce solution with integrated online product designer offers a full independence from fee changes or the above disadvantages.
One time license and no hidden fees!
Look for a product or service that clearly states and means all the TCO (total cost of ownership) required to start a website with online designer or integrate online designer with your existing website. For example, all of LiveArt products consist of one time license fee and there are no additional fees unless you prefer customizing your online design tool.
Unlimited options for customization
A standalone solution is always customizable. Built with open HTML and server code (e.g. such as .NET ASPX or PHP) it allows you, your technical team or anyone from freelance market to customize your website as you need it in specific business situation. This makes your business unique, flexible and always prepared to change!
With an ecommerce solution and host of your choice, you can always control reliability of your server performance. Being dependent on online services would also mean you trust them with host selection and stay sure they will bring their servers back up in time during high seasons.
The SaaS services are good for startups and companies that would like to have a cheap and fast start of their decoration ecommerce. The low TCO of hosted solution is a good start to test a strategy or quickly collect orders from a fair using the solution as a kiosk. On the other hand, be prepared to look or develop a standalone portal as your business grows and needs to stay flexible on the market.