"Custom eCommerce" means different things to different people and organizations.
For some eCommerce shopping cart sites that pump out literally hundreds of websites a year, it may mean you get to choose from a dizzying array of "templates" that can set your website apart from others.
For others, it may be a slightly more involved arrangement where you can "create categories" to group display of your products on your website ... after you have entered your products into a prearranged database schema.
There are many levels of "custom" out there. Generally speaking, the closer you get to true "custom", the more accurate the term "development" becomes.
It is very important for your business that you decide what fits your needs, and that you match your needs to a platform or company that can provide appropriate services. As you can imagine, this will depend entirely on your business.
For example, a small one- or two-person business that does fulfillment of online orders may be well suited for a pre-built approach, where you pay a monthly fee to simply log into an admin, add your products, and some content, and the company does the rest. It handles all of the "details."
A slightly larger company that has maybe 5-10 employees, and possibly a staff member with some understanding of websites, may choose to purchase a package that requires more customization and company related input, and perhaps even design or choice of templates.
From this level up, decisions become far more important and complex. For example, even though the previously described company may be perfectly suited with the choice described, if sales are expected to increase dramatically in the near future, or if the company is in a niche market where custom accounting or regulations require specific handling of records, a more advanced approach may be warranted.
What we do
The purpose of this post is not to give you guidelines as to what sort of website service you should buy, or consultancy you should hire for your company. Rather it is to point out some of the types of things that we at End Point do for companies that need a higher level of custom eCommerce development. In fact, the development we do is not limited to eCommerce.
We offer a full range of business consultancy and IT development services. We can guide you through many areas of your business development. True, we primarily provide services to companies that sell things on the web. But we also provide support for inventory management systems in your warehouses, accounts receivable / payable integration with your websites, management of your POS (point of sale) machines, strategic pricing for seasonal products with expiry dates, and the list goes on.
The following is a real-life example of services we have provided for one client.
Consultant vs Service
Hopefully, the real life scenarios will help serve as an example as to how complex business needs can be, and how using an out of the box "eCommerce" website, will not work in every circumstance. When you find a good business consultant, you will know it. A consultant will not try to make your business fit into their template, they will listen to you and then assemble and tailor products to fit your business.
Regardless of the state of maturity of your business, very seldom will a single "system" or "website" cover all of your business needs. It will more likely be a collection of systems. Which systems and how they work together is likely what will determine success or failure. The more mature your business, the broader the scope of systems required to support the growing requirements of your business.
So whether you are a sole proprietor getting started with your business, or you are a CTO tasked with organizing and optimizing the many systems in your organization, understanding what type of service or partner you need, is the first step.
In the future I will spotlight a few other examples of how we have assisted businesses in growing and improving how they do business.