Open Source software means that you own the code used on your website, and you have full access. This means that you have the ability to adapt it to your exact needs. An Open Source eCommerce Platform can be made to look like the rest of your website, it can have the features you want, and equally, you can remove those you don't.
Proprietary platforms often have a license that specifically states how you can use the software. It prohibits you from adapting the code and making it fit your needs better. If you were to re-engineer it and make a version with the features you want, you would be heading for major legal problems. Even though you paid for it, the software is never really yours.
How many times have you visited an online eCommerce store, and it is designed to look the same as countless other stores you have visited in the past. Everything looks the same, and it blurs the different sites in your mind so that there appears to be no difference. With Open source, you have access to the source code, and even a moderately skilled person can dip in and make changes to the platform's appearance. If the platform is not precisely what you need, a developer can quickly adapt it to function the way you want. It is your unique platform.
The World of Open Souce
Much of the time, the people who contribute to Open Source Projects do so for free. They do it because they are passionate about what they do and desire to create the best possible solution. Just like you, they have passion motivating them, whereas proprietor software employees may often be just employees who have no real interest in what they are creating, other than the paycheck at the end of the month.
The sheer number of developers working on an Open Source Project means that each stage of the project is peer-reviewed by other independent individuals. This results in issues with the platform being picked up and fixed much sooner than with proprietary software.
With Open Source, you will also find that developers who see an alternative feature or functionality may create "plugins" so that the general user can make instant changes to the core project. Think of the thousands of plugins with the WordPress Open Source Project.
It's Mine, All Mine!
To most of us, our website is a very personal thing. We take great pride in our site and what it to be the best. The site is designed with loving care, and we want it to stand out from everyone else's. Over time our needs may change as the business changes direction or big changes like the COVID-19 pandemic occur. If using a proprietary eCommerce platform, the option of making subtle changes to suit the new circumstances are severely restricted because we don't own the platform. We merely license it. We have no access to the source code. With Open Source, you are the owner. The site is completely yours to adapt as you wish, either making the changes yourself or buying in talent. This flexibility allows you to move fast and adapt quickly, which is so important in business today.
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