Everything You Need To Know About SaaS eCommerce Platforms
The world of shopping is changing with every new day. Shopping habits of people nowadays are nowhere near similar to the habits of the last century’s shoppers.
Back in the day, people would only consider brick-and-mortar stores when it came to shopping. But, the Internet has brought new trends. One thing led to another and we now have something called SaaS.
According to SaaS trends, this industry is becoming more and more profitable in the 21st century. Services such as Office365, Google Office, Salesforce, and Dropbox are becoming huge (if not vital) part of almost every business out there.
If you are interested in this phenomenon and if you are considering running an online store, it would be very wise for you to keep reading and learn as much as you can about these useful platforms that could make you a successful business owner one day.
What is a SaaS platform in terms of eCommerce?
There are numerous types of SaaS platforms designed to fulfill various business functions. And, SaaS eCommerce platforms are just a small part of the SaaS industry.
SaaS stands for Software as a Service and, in this case, it is a software licensing and delivery model where every software piece is licensed to a user and accessed through the internet. SaaS eCommerce platforms then become cloud-based systems that people access via any web browser.
The best bit about SaaS platforms is that the software isn’t installed on-premise or maintained by the user personally. The eCommerce system runs on the SaaS provider’s hosted servers. Therefore, the provider is responsible for the security, performance, and maintenance of the application on their servers.
As a user, you will most likely have to pay a monthly fee based on the level of service and number of users. SaaS applications are licensed on a subscription model. And, as a merchant, this is a good and cost-effective way to have real-time access to your eCommerce platform.
How exactly does this kind of platform work in eCommerce?
As we have already mentioned, traditional eCommerce software packages run directly on the web server. Merchants can opt for popular platforms such as Magento, WooCommerce, OpenCart, Shopify, and so on.
This kind of software can be purchased or downloaded for free and run on a server (your own or rented).
Examples of current SaaS models
A good example of an eCommerce SaaS platform would be BigCommerce or Shopify.
You are most likely familiar with these services. They allow you to visit the website, sign up, pay a monthly fee, and build your own store.
Of course, eCommerce is the main point of focus for these companies and there is no denying that they are good at it. However, when people place all the focus on one thing, they close their minds to new and better things.
For example, the blogging tools provided in these eCommerce SaaS solutions often don’t meet marketers’ requirements.
The new model
Of course, there are those who recognize this issue and they are trying to do something to make things better.
With the aim to provide more flexibility, companies such as BigCommerce are changing their SaaS model into a CaaS model (Commerce as a Service).
The goal is to have the merchant use all of the powerful eCommerce tools any way they want. The custom website that is provided shall no more limit the merchant.
A good example of this is the new plug-in released by BigCommerce which uses the APIs available from BigCommerce to allow merchants to offer their products directly in their WordPress websites.
However, this is still a relatively new, though promising idea.
Advantages of SaaS eCommerce platforms
Now that you have learned the ropes of SaaS eCommerce platforms, take a look at some tangible advantages you could enjoy should you decide to try your luck in the eCommerce world.
Many merchants claim that this is the biggest advantage of SaaS eCommerce platforms. As it was mentioned before, the provider hosts and maintains the software.
There is no need to look for and find a hosting provider to work with. The provider is also responsible for uptime, performance speed, software bug fixes, software updates, and anything else technically-wise.
Also, the provider is always on the watch and your store is always being monitored. And luckily, the support teams of SaaS providers are usually extremely helpful and quick.
SaaS eCommerce providers make sure that every merchant meets PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance standards. And, if you want to sell online, you need to be PCI compliant. This should minimize the chances of the payers’ information being compromised.
So, it is up to providers to secure that sensitive information and keep everything updated in order to make data as secure as possible.
When customers get a sense that they can trust you with their sensitive information, you will create a strong bond with them. Seeing that hackers are really active nowadays, it is more important than ever to maintain strong security in order to win the trust of your shoppers.
You can always add new sales channels and functionalities with SaaS eCommerce platforms. These platforms are more flexible than others.
For example, you can even increase your bandwidth on servers to deal with increased traffic. This is really important if you plan on running flash sales.
As a growing retailer, you will need your eCommerce platform to scale along with you. It needs to be easy to take on more customers, process more orders, and add more functionalities. Luckily, all of this is possible with a good SaaS eCommerce platform.
Disadvantages of SaaS eCommerce platforms
SaaS platforms really have quite a lot of benefits. However, they are not always the right fit for every kind of business. Take a look at some areas where SaaS platforms can fall short.
Lack of customization
SaaS platforms leverage prebuilt templates and built-in functionality. And, even though these features make their platforms easy to use, they can also limit a merchant.
There are cases where these platforms lack the ability for customization and you should be aware of this. Most SaaS eCommerce platforms don’t give access to the software’s code and this means that you can’t make any changes to it.
If you need to handle very complex business processes, you will need advanced customization. You may need high-end logistics or you might want to start selling across dozens of marketplaces, and all of this can complicate your selling process.
So, bear in mind that a simple SaaS platform won’t be the right fit for your needs in this case. Instead, you will have to customize and use integration.
You should know that most eCommerce systems fall short for B2B sellers. And, it doesn’t matter if your platform is SaaS or not.
There are requirements for aspects such as customer-specific pricing, discounts by quantities, wholesale pricing, and different payment terms that just aren’t needed for B2C sellers. Unfortunately, not all eCommerce systems have solutions for these requirements.
Now that you are familiar with all the ins and outs of SaaS eCommerce platforms, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to embark on this journey and start your online business.
Do know that even if you decide to stop somewhere along the way, selling your store won’t be troubling. If you don’t want to deal with it yourself, you can always contact an eCommerce business broker and sell your website.
So, don’t rush with this since it is not that simple after all. Good luck!
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