Should You Build or Buy a Custom Checkout Solution?

Bolt Team


Betty Candel

Senior Director of Product & Partner Marketing

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Should You Build or Buy a Custom Checkout Solution?

Significant disruption is looming in the world of ecommerce. Recent privacy changes from Apple and Google are bringing about what has been dubbed the “cookie apocalypse.” Merchants will not only lose their ability to track shoppers anonymously through cookies but will also have more difficulty matching user devices with customer accounts. These changes mean that attracting new shoppers and retargeting visitors via paid ads will become more challenging and expensive. Most merchants will compensate for the lack of tracking abilities by upgrading their current custom checkout solution to enable easier first-party data collection.

These upgrades come with an inevitable decision: Build or buy? For large enterprise retailers, some version of “build” has likely already occurred, so, in this case, the decision shifts to rebuild vs. buy. Both approaches have merit, but there are several important factors to weigh when deciding if it’s best to create your own custom checkout experience or opt for a third-party solution.


Want all the details on issues to expect and options to consider in the build vs. buy decision?

Download our eBook: Build vs. Buy: Exploring Ecommerce Checkout Options

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Should you develop a custom checkout experience or go with a ready-made solution? The answer will depend on your company’s size and unique ecommerce needs. Businesses must consider factors like:

  • Time to market
  • Cost
  • Alignment to roadmap
  • Software integrations
  • Compatibility
  • Maintenance and upgrades

Buy vs. Rebuild: Tallying Resources

As merchants consider investing heavily in software development for their custom checkout solutions, there’s one crucial thing to keep in mind: You code it, you own it. An in-house checkout revamp project requires significant resources like:

  • Coding and development to get your new solution off the ground. This includes all components of the development process from design to coding, plus ongoing testing and release cycles for complete deployment.
  • Cross-department coordination has to be completed with multiple teams—not just web development. The build decision also affects the owners of various internal systems like web architects and security managers who will need to integrate and maintain the new solution.
  • Integration and compatibility management as your new solution is launched. It will have to integrate with your ecommerce platform and will need ongoing maintenance, upgrade, and capability checks with other systems like ERP, CRM, accounting, order and inventory management, etc.
  • Ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting that has to be completed before, during, and after launch. When you build it, you’re responsible for it, including maintaining code integrations, managing troubleshooting issues, and more. And, don’t forget, you’re also responsible for security, which requires ongoing updates to ensure your company and customer data is protected.

When it comes to building new custom checkout functionality it’s important to remember you code it, you own it (and all the responsibility that goes along with that).

Expanded Options are Tipping the Scales

If you have a large-scale software development team and you have already built a great custom checkout solution, you are intimately familiar with all of these complex requirements. The question then becomes, is creating new custom checkout functionality the best use of your resources? There are definite advantages to building or rebuilding a custom checkout solution yourself, but they come at a cost. Is the cost worth it? Your team’s time might be better spent focusing on delivering a great customer experience to make up for the losses in tracking arising from the cookie apocalypse.

Where does it make the most sense to invest your development team resources?

Answering the build vs. buy question is different today than it was even a few years ago. You’re no longer forced to choose between doing it all yourself or accepting a rigid, costly, and under-featured package. At Bolt, we offer two options for the “buy” side: a fully managed, hosted checkout solution and embeddable components that enables you to integrate pieces of checkout, shopper accounts, fraud, or payment components into your existing ecommerce technology stack.

Build or Buy Custom Checkout

Given the current state of the cookie apocalypse, retailers are using innovative ways to collect and retain first-party data and increase store account registrations. By implementing Bolt, you reap the benefits of our iterative process of enhancing the custom checkout experience—without adding another “to do” to your development team’s never-ending project list. Plus, with our embedded options, we’re continually adding and upgrading features, and whether or not you choose to implement them is entirely up to you. The Bolt platform continuously evaluates the shopper experience across our merchant network. We review the metrics of new features, which can be selectively enabled using an A/B testing approach. Based on the results, we refine the features as necessary.

Bolt’s proven development methodology iterates rapidly to add new features, improve existing features, and resolve bugs and vulnerabilities. Our product and engineering teams innovate quickly, and our approach ensures that no new features break existing capabilities—a common difficulty created by the traditional “build” scenario.

So, whether you’re looking to completely revamp your custom checkout or just enhance functionality to drive incremental value at scale, we have an option for you.

Survive the Cookie Apocalypse with Bolt


Looking for additional expert guidance on which path you should choose?

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