Arcadier is an online marketplace company which offers a wide array of marketplace products at different price points, starting from its Freemium package, the Enterprise package that gives access to Arcadier’s APIs (Application Programing Interface) for custom-build online marketplaces, to the newly launched marketplace software for the trade shows and events industry, Exzbit. One frequently asked question that Arcadier gets is whether or not we offer a free open source marketplace software. This is understandable, considering the popularity of ecommerce open source software.
To those who are new to the field, open source software (OSS) is software that’s published with an open source license. It’s generally free and made publicly available so that developers can study it, help weed out bugs, and build on it based on their needs. Mozilla Firefox, Wikipedia, the GNU/Linux operating system and Android are some examples of open source software.
For entrepreneurs and organizations looking to build a multi vendor marketplace, open source software offers many other benefits besides its low cost. You can adapt the codes to your own marketplace requirements as it is completely customizable. Also, the community is constantly adding and modifying the codes, which may improve the software over time. Lastly, with open source software, you're not locked into using one vendor’s ecosystem and your marketplace can still operate even if the vendor can no longer offer support for the software.
Often, though, it makes better business sense to choose proprietary software to build your online marketplace. Here are the reasons why Arcadier Marketplace software is not open source:
Open source software is not for the average user who has no technical knowledge, as you need to work with code, arrange the setup, hosting and maintenance of the software. While proprietary software is tested extensively and updated frequently for user-friendliness, open source software is written by and for computer professionals.
Having gathered data from thousands of Arcadier users, most say that they prefer to have flexibility to customize their marketplace on their own, which is also why Arcadier has released easy-to-use features like open sockets for payment gateway integration, customizable homepage, and access to Arcadier APIs. Although OSS can be customized to a great extent, you'll still need a technical expert to make the changes you need.
OSS support depends on the voluntary help of other open source users. When you find a bug or issue with your OSS marketplace, it may not be resolved quickly. Don’t forget you are relying on a community of volunteers. Making major changes to OSS codes may also render it incompatible with future updates from the publisher.
Sometimes, the OSS publisher may charge for support services. On the other hand, most proprietary software includes free tech support. Arcadier offers free email/digital support for its off-the-shelf marketplace users and regular updates to its software based on feedback from users.
Any developer in an open source community can help to identify bugs and fix them, but it isn’t always a good thing when the software’s flaws can be exploited by studying the system. Since the code is open, it’s more vulnerable to hacking and viruses. Malicious users can be difficult to identify, and they will inevitably appear when a platform gains popularity.
That said, given enough time, anyone in the open source community can identify security issues in the open source code and address them. You can also counter this problem by having a security expert on your team to examine the OSS for potential risks. Different from OSS, the security of proprietary software is a top priority, which is why Arcadier has team members dedicated to constantly monitoring and ensuring the security of its software.
For the reasons stated above, OSS requires you to put in more time and effort into training employees to study the software and learn to work with it. Although the software itself is free, you may also end up spending a significant time amount of money trying to fix certain problems and customizing the user interface, and a lot more paying for external support, security and technical administrative tasks such as updates and backups, compared to if you had use proprietary software in the first place. The costs can add up rather quickly, and just the setup can easily cost more than you’d expect.
Instead of a free open source software, Arcadier provides access to its APIs, starting from its US$199/month Growth package. The use of APIs can fulfill your custom business needs at a reasonable cost. It enables you to gain access to all of Arcadier’s existing (and new) APIs, and your developers can simply build on Arcadier’s existing templates and add new applications that are essential to your marketplace.
Arcadier’s features evolve in line with the needs of the end user. We take pride in our software’s user-friendliness and how easy to use the features are. Some more things you can do with Arcadier’s APIs include changing the user/payment flows, integrating third party apps, and building a mobile application.
Why did Arcadier choose APIs instead of OSS? The answer lies in serving our customers well! As such, quality control and “speed to market” are of utmost importance. Arcadier aims to offer users the best and latest product that we’ve developed for our online marketplaces. Hence, we take into account the time it takes to launch a new feature or software and how long before it’s available to the customer, testing and improving to perfect the experience. This also means better support from our expert team members, as opposed to voluntary community support.
Arcadier’s APIs are based on RESTful, which uses robust Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) technology as REST leverages less bandwidth, making it more optimal for internet usage. It’s much more efficient — in terms of time, effort and financing — than having to write codes from scratch. Simply put, APIs are essential to developer productivity and modern day application development.
Do note that to use APIs to customize your online marketplace, you would still need adequate technical expertise. To help our users, we’ve partnered with full-stack developer partners around the world who are familiar with our API Sandbox that are highly qualified to assist entrepreneurs, enterprises, and any organization in creating an Arcadier-powered solution, tailored specifically to the needs of each individual marketplace.