Spree Commerce

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Is an Open Source Platform Right for Your Ecommerce Business?

Posted on May 21, 2015 by Jenna Compton

About The Author

Jenna is the Director of Marketing at Blue Stout, a digital production agency that builds custom commerce applications, like ecommerce shops and interactive mobile apps, for clients ranging from startups to billion-dollar public companies. Jenna provides regular contributions to the blog, and when she’s not reading about business, she can be found running or drinking lots of coffee (never at the same time).

Ready to launch your online retail store? Choosing the right platform for your ecommerce business can be a challenge, especially with all of the different open source and full-service options available.

Larger businesses need to be equipped with more features and professional support, while smaller businesses may be looking for a lower-cost option that will allow them to manage their customers and products in an easier way.

Here are the pros and cons of some of the most popular open source and full-service ecommerce platforms used today to help you decide which platform fits your company at this stage of your business development.

Open Source Pros/Cons

Pros: free, customizable and manageable for small startup businesses

Cons: costly add-ons, less technical support, and too basic for businesses growing quickly.

Open Source Solution: Spree

Spree Commerce is an open source option for those who are interested in a self-hosted solution that’s built on Ruby on Rails. Known for its speed, Ruby on Rails was used to build over 200,000 websites, including big names like Basecamp and Groupon. Shopify’s developer, Sean Schofield, developed Spree as the shopping cart open source alternative. Although you’ll need to download extra apps in order to get more out of Spree, it still offers many free options.

As soon as you have access to the platform you can download discount code apps, make use of special offer and gift card capabilities, try selling on Facebook, and take advantage of more immediate features. Due to its fully customizable nature, it will take you time to learn how to use Spree, as the initial setup is not as simple as most Enterprise solutions. So even though you may have a slight learning curve in using it, Spree Commerce is a platform we highly recommend here at Blue Stout and have worked with it on multiple ecommerce designs.

Still Undecided?

If you’re still not sure if open source is the best choice for you, read more about the pros/cons of fully-hosted enterprise solutions in my post here on the Blue Stout blog.