The Price of Do It Yourself E CommerceWhen launching an enterprise B2B ecommerce site, at some point you will have to decide whether you want to buy an existing ecommerce platform or whether you want to move into the realm of do-it-yourself and build your own platform. When compared to the cost of buying someone else’s platform, the do-it-yourself route can seem like a good option. And for some organizations, it can be–provided you have the resources, know-how, and time to get it done.

Undertaking the design and build of an ecommerce site can be a little like deciding to remodel your bathroom on your own. Keep in mind that you aren’t a plumber or a carpenter and that your day-to-day life has to continue before, during and after the remodel. It also helps if you can function around the mess and the reality of the project.

What’s interesting about most do-it-yourself home renovation projects is that they start out looking pretty straight forward. It’s time to finally retire the pink porcelain fixtures that your house came with and put in something that’s more you. You stop by the local big box, pick up the fixtures and install them. You’re a smart individual–you can do this.

The trouble with home renovation projects is that they are rarely straight forward, unlikely to be as simple as they sound, and reality throws a lot of curve balls.

For example, in your bathroom remodel, let’s say you pull the permits and budget for the fixtures and tile that your spouse requested. Great! From what you can tell, if you work on it yourself in the evenings and weekends, it should take about a week or two to complete. That should be just enough time to get the project finished before your inlaws arrive for the holidays. You start tearing the ugly pink flowered tile off the wall.

Uh oh. Looks like whoever installed the tile didn’t put it over tile backer and so you’re actually tearing out chunks of drywall with the tile and when you pull out the old tub and toilet, it quickly becomes apparent that the subfloor is rotting and will need to be replaced.

You fix the subfloor and tear out the old drywall which takes an additional week and then hang new drywall so that you can tape, mud, and paint. That’s another week. By this time you have a fine layer of drywall dust over the entire bathroom, your bedroom and the entire stairwell and entryway. Your spouse is frustrated by the mess, having to run downstairs to use the facilities in the middle of the night and is fretting about the imminent arrival of the inlaws.

You slog through installing the tub and the toilet and replace the sink. Before you start putting the finishing touches in place, you have to survive a visit from the city inspector, who promptly tells you that you installed the tub drain incorrectly and that the tub needs new double check valves installed before you can get the approval to continue. Back to the big box store and a week later, you’re over budget but ready to paint.

Okay, I don’t know about you, but I’m sweating a bit here thinking back to that remodel! What does this have to do with building your own ecommerce site? While the do-it-yourself path might seem cheaper and easy enough to manage, like bathroom remodels, ecommerce builds are rarely straight forward, unlikely to be as simple as they appear and are likely to throw you a lot of curve balls. You probably aren’t a programmer or graphic designer and so tasks that are standard procedure for them will be more challenging for you. You are likely to make mistakes–and they can be costly.

And in the mean time, while you are busily trying to get your site live, the day-to-day of your business keeps rolling along. Building your site isn’t where you get paid, so it has to take second chair to doing business.

Before you decide to build your own ecommerce website, seriously consider the PROs and the CONs of buying versus building. Understand that building an enterprise ecommerce site is almost never as simple as it appears to be and that if you put your project in the hands of professionals, you can focus on your core competencies AND get the site built at the same time.

To learn more about how to maximize the success of your ecommerce initiative, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.