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Greg_M
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I think it’s less the platform, than the savvy of the operators, and developers (from both a retail and technical point of view).

I’ve used most of the open source platforms, and been in the back end of a couple of hosted solutions (e.g. Bigcommerce, Shopify and Squarespace) and I think you can argue till the cows come home which one is best.

None of them are worth a cracker, if you don’t know what you’re doing, from both a business and technical point of view.

If you have a unique product line, and little capital then why not have a go with any of the open source “carts” or plugins? Chances are you’ll fail, and probably get ripped off by a slippery SEO team when you get desperate.

I don’t do ecommerce, but I have advised clients … step one, get someone with a track record (not me) to develop the site. Step two, if you’re not technically savvy (99% who ask) … go to a hosted and managed platform, the risks associated with having a serious business portal on unmanaged shared hosting are seriously underrated … OK to test the water, but beyond that, no way.

If I had a serious online retail idea, clothes, whatever … I’d be talking to JohnD or someone like him … not DIY, and that’s coming from someone that does know how to code, and manage a remote VPS server from the command line. The issues of maintaining a secure and fast site needs a specialised team.

Wordpress (or most open source stuff) for example is a clever platform, and in the right hands is obviously a fine solution, but I see heaps of sites put up here for review, that that look pretty, make all the right noises from a visual design perspective. BUT, take forever to load …are full of badly configured and piggy backed JQuery plugins manipulating the DOM, and making them virtually impossible for an SE to index. Add in crap copy (or more often, virtually none) badly
configured images, and you have the life blood and staple resource for SEO’s to make a living from.

I won’t even mention the mess you’ll be in if you get hacked on shared hosting (been there, done that), because you haven’t “hardened” or maintained your site properly … all too hard IMO.

Hosted and managed platforms (regardless of the underlying framework) at least give you the basics to get started properly.

I think it’s why they’re seeing growth, while it’s getting harder to start with an open source “kit”.

My $2.50 worth.