06 Nov 2019
Build vs buy a site search solution – Part I
Karanvir  Gupta
Karanvir Gupta
Senior Manager - Product Marketing

Sometimes, it is not as simple as tossing a coin to determine the course of action to take. But unfortunately, that is not a viable option when faced with important choices that will ultimately shape how you run your business, such as the decision to either construct or purchase your website infrastructure. This is especially true for ecommerce store owners, as the choice between building or buying software can be challenging.

The need to make this decision often arises when seeking software to address specific business challenges. Once you have determined that you require a Site Search system, the question becomes where to start. You may be left feeling uncertain, with no clear path forward and a series of questions that continue to plague you. However, by following a set of tasks and activities, it is possible to determine which option – building or buying – is the most suitable for your needs.

For example, suppose you operate an apparel store and want to be a leader in the industry, featuring the latest fashion labels and trends in your online store. In that case, you may encounter a problem with your Site Search, causing it to display the wrong products to shoppers.

Alternatively, perhaps you run a home improvement store, constantly introducing new inventory and striving to keep up with the rapidly changing needs of your customers, only to find that they are struggling to find the correct products using the search function on your eCommerce site.

In these situations, you must prioritize solving the core issue at hand or build a site search solution that will effectively guide shoppers to the correct products. While it can be challenging to make these tough choices, a thorough analysis of the problem, including the uniqueness of the issue and the maturity of the software designed to address it, can provide valuable guidance and help you determine the best course of action. Get your website audited with Unbxd, and discover how to increase revenue with site search.

Build vs Buy decision matrix


However, to further build your case, let’s do a deep dive into the 3 basic elements involved

_The Problem,

The Risk, and

The Cost._

3 factors to making an informed decision


You must identify if your problem is core to your business or peripheral to it. Then, take the initiative and build your solution if it is a common problem and can be fixed quickly. But suppose it is a complex problem like Site Search with multiple use cases and elaborate backend functionality. In that case, you might think of outsourcing this rather than building it from scratch (unless you have tech resources that can get you moving fast and right).

Secondly, identify all the different kinds of risks involved: ranging from the time needed to get the problem solved, forfeiture of data, control over the insights and analytics (if needed), long term need for a change of software. This will require you to have clear asks for the solution and foresight into the expectations from the software in the future.

Lastly, evaluate the upfront and ongoing cost (CapEx and OpEx both) to build this software in-house or buy licensed software from a vendor who is an expert in solving these problems for you. This will be a typical cost-to-build vs. cost-to-buy comparison.

You also might want to consider the opportunity cost associated if you plan to build on your own and wait for the software to start showing results. You are almost there! This analysis will help you make up your mind. But in business, you cannot be half-sure about making such an important decision. So get objective, and chalk out the pros and cons of both approaches. Identify the non-negotiables, weigh each of the parameters and make an informed decision. Here's a quick look at the pros and cons of both the Build vs. Buy approaches:

Pros and cons of build vs buy


This approach helps you evaluate the market scenario and assess your internal capabilities and vendor's expertise in solving your business problem. When you have considered all these factors, deciding on your business shouldn't be a challenge for you or anyone else.

Your shoppers will enjoy faster search results without experiencing any lags, enhancing the shopping experience in general. Book a demo with Unbxd and discover ways to optimize your site search.