Cutting the Cord - Why choosing an open-source framework is analogous to ditching your cable provider

In today’s tech-driven culture, any business that’s looking to succeed must have an online presence. eCommerce, is rapidly becoming pervasive. There are plenty of high-cost, enterprise software solutions available as well as inexpensive SaaS options that provide turn-key ecommerce solutions.

Regardless of which solution you choose, both the enterprise solutions and the smaller SaaS solutions create liabilities and risk for your business. The reason is that they both lock your business into a cycle of license (or maintenance) fees and deep dependency on a single vendor to extend the feature set and remain relevant in the fast paced world of technology.

eCommerce software = Cable (or Satellite) TV.

Think about it. How much of your TV lineup do you actually watch? Probably less than 10%. In fact, back in September of 2014, Nielson reported that most American Households watch only 17 of the 189 channels that the average TV service provider pipes into our homes. This wouldn’t feel so bad if the average cost for pay-TV service wasn’t climbing at an astronomical rate.

So it’s no surprise that many are deciding to ditch their cable company and get the specific entertainment options they actually use, without over-paying for services they don’t want and will never use. People ultimately want to choose their entertainment options and control what it costs. Do a Google Search for cord cutting and you’ll get countless articles detailing fed-up customers and fearful pay-TV executives. You’ll get even more links to how-to’s and YouTube videos with advice on how to get the content you want, often for free… or at the very least, less expensively via streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and others using devices like an Apple TV or Google ChromeCast (plus, more every day). It’s clearly a tipping point for home entertainment, and the big companies who provide the content are taking notice.

Something very similar is happening online.

Companies are also beginning to look at their eCommerce platform in the same light. Rather than a huge code base and feature set that makes vast assumptions about their requirements, many of which they will never use or simply won't fit their business model, they are looking for solutions that can exactly meet their current and future needs without costing a fortune.

As mentioned previously, any business today must be online. It’s not a nice to have anymore or a service reserved for companies with specific plans to sell online. Your customers will be shopping online. If not with you, then with your competitors. Companies today are increasingly choosing free open source solutions rather than proprietary solutions that lock them into contracts, license fees, and a single vendor. Those companies choose software that offers a flexible framework rather than rigid technology that can’t deliver on all their requirements. They are embarking on a strategy centered around a web publishing framework that allows them to build something that exactly matches their business needs and doesn’t come pre-packaged with anything that will compromise the experience the customer receives.

Only need a catalogue online? Get that without having to disable features that come with the enterprise software that’s costing X over the next Y years. Ready for eCommerce? Enable it. Need a new feature? Build it in-house, or pay a web developer to give you exactly what you want. The alternative is to submit a feature request and wait helplessly through the software vendors next (and next, and next) release cycle for the feature you need. An open-source framework allows you to build a modular web application with just the features you need... and none of the features you don’t.

That’s why Drupal is the perfect software for web publishing. And why over 1 million sites have been built with Drupal. Its modular architecture and community supported framework allows companies to get just the experience they are looking for without the bloat.

And thankfully for companies who have eCommerce requirements, Drupal Commerce provides the perfect extension of that framework. It brings the modular thinking to selling online, lets merchants pick only the features they need to sell their products online, and skips the licensing, the bloatware and the software release cycle. If you need to enable a specific third-party connection, or have a unique product to sell (like digital goods or subscriptions) there are modular components that let you do that. Enable them and you’re good to go. And if you’ve come up with a new idea and there isn’t a module that lets you just turn that on, well then, there are many services companies with developers ready to build it and a huge community of developers to support it.

So if you’re planning on cutting the cord at home (or maybe you already have), why not do the same with your eCommerce solution??
Stephen Weinberg's picture
Online Marketing Manager
Posted June 25, 2015
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