In today's tech-savvy world, more and more consumers are shopping online. They can buy from their PCs, laptops, tablets and even smartphones! With the multitude of online shopping channels available, it is no surprise that companies are being pressured more than ever to venture into eCommerce. But what if your budget doesn't allot for new software? Or what if your legacy solutions aren't flexible enough to meet your new business requirements? Don't panic; download an open-source eCommerce platform.
What does open-source mean?
The term open-source refers to software whose original source code is made freely available and can be modified or enhanced by anyone. Yes, the term free was mentioned. However, by free, we mean freedom to use the code, not necessarily free as in no cost (even though many are free to download). Utilizing an open-source eCommerce platform renders more benefits than just being budget friendly.
What are these benefits? Let's take a look.
1. No Vendor Lockdown Unlike proprietary software (Microsoft Windows and Adobe Flash Player), open-source eCommerce platforms do not require users to pay a licensing fee. All licenses attached to the program transfer to any party who downloads the software. This allows others to redistribute the application as well as lifts restrictions on using it in conjunction with proprietary programs.
One of the big appeal factors of open-source eCommerce platforms is that users aren't locked down to a specific vendor. With proprietary software, developers restrict products by using a code that only their programmers can understand leading to increased pricing and limited usage.
2. Old School Integration
Replacing your current system is both expensive and time consuming. Plus trying to determine the best workflow of data and tackling the technical challenges take a lot of time, effort, and expertise. Nobody has time for that. Instead, integrate an open-source eCommerce platform with your legacy software.
Along with time and cost savings, integrating with your current system gives users more flexibility when running the program on older hardware and operating systems. Most proprietary software requires you to have the most up-to-date system in order to upgrade to the latest version.
An open-source eCommerce platform, alternatively, is not as resource-intensive, allowing you to decide when you should upgrade.
The customizable nature of an open-source goes hand-in-hand with its flexibility. When you purchase software, you're limited to the abilities the system came with unless you're willing to spend money on vendor developers shaping it to your specifications.
With access to the source code, programmers can mold the platform to fit their exact business needs. This, in turn, allows you keep your current processes instead of changing them for a computer system.
In reality, the transparent set-up of open-source eCommerce software does not make it more vulnerable. Despite the misconception, open-source platforms are much safer than you'd think.
When people break software, they don't use the source code. With the freedom to modify, enhance and redistribute, developers are constantly creating systems patches and correcting bugs. The responsiveness to open-source software glitches is also much quicker than proprietary software due to code exposure.
Even though the word audit is scary in most business situations, auditability is a huge positive when it comes to open-source eCommerce platforms.In proprietary software, claims about the quality of security measures, flexibility to changes, adherence to standards, and freedoms from backdoors are just that; claims. Users have no other choice but to trust their vendor on such promises.
By publishing the source code, open-source eCommerce software eliminates any speculation that their claims of quality are false.
In the end, it's all about finding the software that will work best for you and your business. While using open-source software for all of your technology needs isn't ideal, the benefits of utilizing one for your eCommerce platform make it difficult not to consider it.
An open source, as stated in a Computer World article, isn't just about saving money anymore. They provide business agility, a quality that is valued above all others.