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Published On: August 10th, 2022


The Pros and Cons of Build vs Buy for Store
Retail Solutions.

Building or buying enterprise software can be a difficult decision for many organisations. But before making your choice, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each option so that you can make an informed purchase decision based on what will work best with your company’s needs.

The Pros of Building your own Software

At the outset, you may ask why not build your own software? If your business has the capabilities, knowledge and resources then there are several advantages in developing software in-house.



Instead of relying on what a software vendor deems best, you can own the source code and build it exactly how you want it done. This is likely to take longer than buying a solution with pre-made applications but on the flip side, it will be specific to your needs.


Ease of Integration

A retail solution that you build in-house is likely to be more easily pluggable into your other systems and work exactly how you want it to, from the outset. You won’t have to worry about fitting a square peg into a round hole with purpose-built software. Besides, the team in charge of maintaining the solution will be in communication with the internal developers; this often leads to a good level of coherence from the get-go.

The Cons of Building your own Software

So, what are the disadvantages of building a retail solution in-house?


Unexpectedly High Costs

On the surface, building your own software may seem like the more economical choice, but that’s rarely the case due to it costing a significant sum of money to hire a good development team with a skilled manager to oversee the project if you want to do it properly. The total cost estimated at the start rarely ends up being accurate, which can have large ramifications for your business.


Level of Risk

The tech industry is littered with failed projects that fell behind timelines and consequently ran over budget. According to the Harvard Business Review, out of 1,471 projects analysed, the average overrun was 27% but one in six projects had an overrun of 200%.

Once a project fails and ROI starts becoming questionable, it becomes harder to justify further tech investment to the Board, resulting in the business falling behind and becoming outdated.

The Pros of Buying an Off-The-Shelf Software

Perhaps after reading the aforementioned you may think that building software is too high-risk for your business. There are several business advantages to buying an off-the-shelf solution.


Freedom and Rapid Deployment

You can enjoy a lot of freedom and flexibility when it comes to selecting the right software vendor. It’s key to choose a technology vendor that aligns with your business goals as this will be important moving forwards in terms of maintenance and aftercare. This will also result in fast implementation and rapid deployment; essential when it comes to staying on top of customer and market demands.


Manageable Costs

Once you pick a vendor and finalise the deal, that party will usually be responsible for testing, launching and maintaining the software. This is advantageous for businesses operating on a tight budget. These up-front costs or even annual subscription fees may be cheaper than building a solution from scratch. However, this is subjective depending on the size and scale of the solution.

So, what’s wrong with buying a pre-built retail solution?

The Cons of Buying an Off-The-Shelf Software


Lack of Ownership

Simply put, the product won’t be 100% tailormade to the way that suits the business best.

When buying software from a vendor, you become increasingly dependent on them. If you find that it doesn’t integrate well with a critical tool, or if it’s lacking a feature that you need, all you can do is make a request and wait for the changes to be implemented. If the vendor doesn’t have a mechanism to make rapid adjustments, you’ll be left in the dust while your competitors pace ahead. That said, some software companies are keen to partner with customers and involve them in the overall product development roadmap.



Off-the-shelf software can be quite rigid, with limitations on API integration. It will never quite match the specificity nor the flexibility of building a solution from scratch. This isn’t true for all pre-built solutions as certain vendors follow a MACH-based approach which enables API integration as part of its core service.

And of course, near the worst-case scenario, there is always the risk of the vendor closing shop; leaving the customer stranded.


When taking all the pros and cons into account reading this, it seems obvious that a balance must be struck between the two worlds. It is impossible to win by either buying existing software or building your own from scratch.

We’re aware that retailers are moving on from legacy systems and their current solutions. They simply aren’t flexible enough for today’s ever-changing retail landscape.

This is where Enactor’s hybrid model comes into life; you can buy out-of-the-box applications whilst having the ability to extend and customise to your business needs.

At Enactor, we believe in a hybrid solution.

Build or Buy?
When it comes to retail software what do you prefer?

B10 (1)

Source: Enactor LinkedIn Poll         

The Perfect Hybrid Buy and Build Solution for Retailers

Enactor is the leader in Unified Commerce for global retail stores for a good reason.

Let’s discover why.

To start with, you can manage your POS, Mobile POS, Baskets, Promotions and Clienteling from a single Unified Commerce Platform. When you’re a global retail business with physical stores numbering in the hundreds, along with multiple online stores in several marketplaces, it is imperative to manage all retail aspects of your business on one flexible platform.

There are three core aspects of Enactor Enterprise functionality that help retailers thrive in the digital era.


We manage the software’s core functionality, leaving you with the freedom to extend, modify and personalise applications to do whatever you want, whenever you want.


We design software that connects easily with legacy programmes, third-party applications and the cloud. Bring new and existing systems under one umbrella to make it just that much easier.


Our software is built to last. Every single component is designed with a low-code set of tools that are constantly available for you to easily maintain your new Unified Commerce Platform.


To Build or Buy:
The product development conundrum

A guide for Chief Technical Officers (CTOs), Chief Product Officers (CPOs),
Product Managers (PMs) or other product leaders seeking clarity.

Download eBook

The Most Flexible Architecture For Department And Grocery Stores

Enactor store solutions are built with flow-based tools that allow you to build and customise applications using reusable Microservices. These graphical tools mean that the skills required to maintain the platform are transferable to the retailer. With such capabilities, you can eliminate the services of legacy suppliers and become far more technologically agile.

As a result, your internal IT team is empowered to become completely independent whilst being able to keep up quickly with any developments.

The Enactor hybrid Buy and Build solution offers unparalleled flexibility; one platform that delivers pre-built reusable Microservices for services like Basket, Promotions, Loyalty, and Orders which you can deploy ASAP and manage independently moving forward.

Are you looking to digitally enhance your retail business and manage hundreds of stores across multiple countries and verticals?

Enactor offers exactly what you need.

The best of both worlds, for you and your customers.
Get in touch.

Book a meeting today