Magento Extensions vs. Custom Development
For all of Magento's power and flexibility as an eCommerce platform, if you're looking to build an online store that makes a lasting impression on customers. It's unlikely you'll be able to do that effectively by simply using Magento's preinstalled blocks and widgets. It’s fair to say that neither the Eiffel Tower nor the Sydney Opera House would have been quite so memorable if built out of the same red brick.
Fortunately, Magento has inspired a whole community of eCommerce developers to create solutions to this need for character and distinction — with these solutions falling into two main categories: Magento extensions and custom development.
Both categories have their advantages and disadvantages. In a bid to help you decide which solution might be best for you, we’re going to take a balanced look at them both.
So let’s kick off with Magneto extensions.
Extensions are small code packages, often called modules, that add specific functionality to your primary Magento-built store. They are predeveloped, can be bought off the shelf, and quickly operate in a plug-and-play fashion.
With 12% of all eCommerce sites built on the Magento platform, there’s now a vast extensions marketplace. With over five thousand of them covering everything from aesthetic themes to sales analytics and mobile functionality, they are a quick and easy way to enhance the look and performance of your store.
- Extensions are relatively cheap.
With the regular price for an extension between fifty and five hundred dollars, extensions cost considerably less than custom development. Therefore, they tend to choose newer or smaller eCommerce stores where budget is a primary concern.
- Immediate and practical use.
With extensions ready-to-use straight off the shelf, you don’t spend time designing them then testing their functionality. Additionally, with most extensions on the market available for some time, they will already have been updated, optimized, and most importantly, debugged (which is often a huge problem when it comes to custom development).
- They come with their support system.
Not only do extensions come with instruction manuals that explain everything you need to know, but most extension providers offer unlimited upgrades to their packages, so you don’t need to worry about staying up-to-date.
Fantastic. So what about the downsides?
- Extensions may not give you what you want.
There may well be over five thousand extensions available. However, if you’re looking for a precise capability or aesthetic, you might not be able to find it. Ending up with an extension that’s ‘close but no cigar’ may be fine for smaller, less established brands. Still, for larger companies looking to give their customers the best possible online experience, then extensions may well fall short of the task.
- Extensions can hamper your store’s performance.
With extensions being a cheap option to customize an online store, store owners tend to using lots of them. Possibly problematic as even though most extensions are well-coded, self-contained modules, they may not work that well with each other, which can severely slow your site down. Sparing use of extensions is, therefore, sound advice. However, that may mean your site doesn’t have the functionalities you were hoping for.
Are you confused or worried? Don't be. There's always another way to go.
Magento Custom Development
Suppose your brand requires a specific look or set of functionalities, then instead of attempting to stitch together a patchwork of third-party extensions. In that case, your best bet might be to pursue a custom development. With plenty of Magento web development agencies to choose from, they’ll analyze your business from the ground up and build you a bespoke, fully-functioning eCommerce site that fits your every whim and demand.
So let’s take a closer look at custom development.
- Magneto customization is the perfect online store for your business.
Custom development could benefit in giving you pretty much anything you want. However, putting specific functionality and appearance aside for a moment, the added benefit of custom development is that it requires far less code to perform the tasks requested. With the code written and streamlined to meet your brand’s specific needs, the resulting store is going to operate much faster. With 40% of online customers abandoning a site if it takes more than three seconds to load, it makes it worth the thought.
- Custom developments can evolve along with your business.
With the fluid and changeable nature of the business world, custom eCommerce solutions can adapt and grow as your business does. Writing it can be seamlessly written into your code if new functionality is needed.
Wonderful. But before you get too excited, let's take a look at the downsides.
- The cost.
As you might expect, Magento custom development doesn’t come cheap, with a bespoke eCommerce store costing anywhere from $20,000 to well over $100,000 (depending on your requirements). When you add the ongoing costs of keeping the store maintained and updated, custom development tends not to be a route taken by small businesses.
- The time.
Unlike Magento extensions that are ready to use almost immediately, your custom development will take time to design and test. Additionally, with the custom developer you’ve hired most likely involved in the ongoing operation of the site, you’ll need to adapt your company’s management structure to integrate them.
Still confused? Well, hang on because there is yet another way to go.
Custom Magento Extensions
If your business requires a specific eCommerce solution, you can avoid paying a fortune for it by purchasing an off-the-shelf extension that’s close to what you want then having it customized to meet your exact needs. With the developer not having to build from scratch, this route can provide tailor-made functionality at an affordable price.
The drawback here, though, is that unless you’re going to pay your developer an ongoing maintenance fee, if there are any problems with the customized extension or it needs replacing as your business grows, you're going to have to keep repeating the process.
Which Way to Go?
The most significant deciding factor here, of course, is budget. Building a sleek, perfectly-designed webstore isn't going to come cheap any way you look at it. So while extensions are probably a wise first step for small businesses starting an eCommerce site, custom development is perhaps the right move for everyone else.
With twenty-four million eCommerce sites competing for attention, it may well be in your business’ interests to invest whatever is needed to keep your customers engaged and happy — they’ll thank you for it with their wallets.