Posted by Yaroslav Luzin on 22 Dec, 2022

​​When you plan to reinforce, optimize, or automate your e-commerce business using software solutions, several aspects must be considered. Every company has unique needs, goals, and requirements, which determine the choice of a relevant e-commerce platform.

As there are thousands of e-commerce solutions on the market, selecting the best software might become a real headache. Luckily, you can significantly narrow your options with one simple question: Should you use custom e-commerce software development or go with an out-of-the-box e-commerce (OOTB) solution?

Let’s discover the key distinctions between these two approaches.

What to choose: Out-of-the-box e-commerce software or custom development?

Comparing custom products to out-of-the-box solutions, we should take into account the following parameters:

1. Functionality

With numerous outstanding out-of-the-box e-commerce platforms available today, you should determine whether any of those ready packages can fulfill all or most of your functional requirements. If the OOTB solution meets 70-80% of your functionality requirements, then you can choose it.

However, if you need to alter half of the basic program to achieve the required functionality, the scales are tipping in favor of custom e-commerce software development

2. Control

Control is a significant benefit of choosing a custom e-commerce software solution over the OOTB one. Developing your own platform will give you complete control over how and when your application is updated or changed. You can add new features and remove or adjust old functionality at any moment—you have the last word.

With an OOTB solution, you have no control over product improvements, license fees, or any other application modifications.

3. Time-to-market

Timing is an essential factor to consider, especially if your e-commerce project is urgent. In case you want to speed up your business’ time-to-market, using out-of-the-box software is a winning decision. You’ll start earning as fast as in a couple of days, while developing a custom software solution will take a couple of months.

On the other hand, if you’re managing all aspects of your business alone, including software integrations, you will still need time to get familiar with the off-the-shelf product. In the end, such onboarding may require even more time and effort.

4. Costs

With a ready-to-use e-commerce solution, you don’t have to make a significant initial investment; you just pay a monthly subscription fee which starts at less than $5. What’s more, you don’t need any additional equipment, thus eliminating extra expenses. 

Nonetheless, you may end up paying more than you anticipated. The original price usually doesn’t cover software upgrades, installation, support and maintenance, license costs, and other configuration. As a result, these fees may exceed your budget and outnumber the costs of customized or configured solutions, especially when your business grows and requires more functionalities. 

Custom e-commerce solutions are more expensive upfront. However, many IT service providers don’t charge an extra penny for recurrent product support and maintenance. Thus, you pay once for your project implementation and, finally, become the owner of an exclusive e-commerce platform.

All in all, the cost of bespoke vs. off-the-shelf e-commerce software may be equivalent in the long term. The difference is whether you make a greater initial investment and then use your solution for free or renew your service subscription every month paying extra fees when some unexpected needs arise. 


There’s no right or wrong answer to the question: ‘What to choose: Out-of-the-box software or custom development?’ Both of these two options have tremendous advantages and specific disadvantages—the choice depends on your required functionality and the end goal. 

Take time to outline your needs and requirements, research the market of ready products, and assess the pros and cons of each solution before making a final decision regarding what type of e-commerce software to use to reinforce your business.

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