Ecommerce as a SAAS Service for Retail Merchants
2020 has been the ‘year of unknowns’ but one thing that has been constant and predictable is the growth of digitization. Be it the rise of the online economy, the introduction of on-demand solutions, or exponential growth of online retail, the business sector is all set to leverage the potential of the world-wide-web. Instead, the eCommerce sector has superseded the popularity of brick and mortar stores, and more-and-more businesses are establishing their inventories online.
But are they drawing the right value through their eCommerce stores?
Now when we are crossing that bridge, we need to know which is the most promising eCommerce solution for businesses – SAAS Ecommerce Platform or On-Premise Software?
What is a SAAS Ecommerce Platform?
SAAS or Software-as-a-Service is a cloud-based software licensing and delivery model in which a user gets access to the SAAS software via the internet.
A SAAS eCommerce platform is a cloud-based eCommerce marketplace solution hosted on SAAS provider’s server. The user or the retailer gets access to this platform via a fixed paid subscription plan or pay-as-you-go plan.
- The SAAS provider is liable to manage the security, performance, upgrades and uptime of this eCommerce solution.
- The solution has built-in customizable themes, inventory management system and basic marketing features.
- It can be described as a cost-effective, ready-to-use eCommerce solution for SMBs.
The Popularity of SAAS Ecommerce Platforms
Popularity can be the best validation for superior technology. Today, over 40% of all eCommerce stores are hosted on SAAS eCommerce platforms. Moreover, 90% of all the eCommerce stores leverage at least some form of SAAS solution.
Some of the most popular SAAS-based eCommerce solution providers are – Shopify, Volusion, BigCommerce.
And you would be delighted (if not surprised) to know that cloud platforms manage the highest uptime annually.
What makes SAAS Ecommerce Platforms A Preferred Alternative to On-premise Ecommerce Solutions?
When merchants re-calibrate the growth graph of SAAS eCommerce solutions, it offers comparable advantages with the on-premise eCommerce solutions.
As you know, SAAS solutions are licensed to users based on monthly subscription plans. The SAAS software provider manages the cloud servers, the security and performance of the software. It allows the merchants to launch their store quickly by customizing their store through simple drag-and-drop functionality. The merchants do not have to worry about software upgrades, uptime, PCI compliance, etc. and can solemnly focus on business growth.
On the other end, a fully-customizable on-premise eCommerce solution would require you to install and maintain the hardware and software within a dedicated physical location. You will have complete control over the company’s eCommerce system. However, the limitation that peeks from behind the shiny curtain is that you would be the one responsible for managing the security patches, any customization due to updates, hosting and maintenance. You would have to work in coordination with the hosting provider and the web development team to develop your storefront. Maybe wearing the hat of a project manager would turn out to be a little messy with all the technicalities.
However, let’s not jump to a conclusion before we scrutinize the perks and limitations of SAAS-based eCommerce solutions.
Evident Perks of SAAS Ecommerce Platform
Shorter Time to Market
The time between the inception and the execution of an idea is where most of the startups lose their true zeal. A SAAS eCommerce platform offers the merchants prebuilt customizable themes, simple inventory management interface, and the basic marketing interface. This allows the merchants to custom build their eCommerce store on-the-go without any technical expertise. The intuitive interfaces delude the need for a developer and new merchants can set up and launch their store quickly.
Maintained by the Service Provider
One of the most significant reasons why SAAS solutions are popular is that the provider solemnly hosts and maintains the entire software. The merchants don’t have to look for any hosting provider or eCommerce developer. Instead, the provider is liable to maintain the performance, security, PCI compliance, upgrades and bug fixes of the software. The merchants only pay for the monthly subscription and also gets prompt assistance from the active support team of the SAAS platform.
In this case, the merchants generally do not require a dedicated IT administration team and can save on the added software maintenance cost.
Affordability Cannot Be Ignored
Another important parameter that remains indispensable while choosing the right eCommerce solution is affordability. The upfront cost of setting up an eCommerce store on SAAS platform is significantly lower than an on-premise custom eCommerce setup. A merchant doesn’t have to connect with a hosting provider or build an eCommerce store from scratch. Moreover, there is no added hassle or add-on cost of hiring a developer for custom designing your storefront.
Another area that makes the SAAS solution affordable is that the provider doesn’t have to take care of the maintenance, bug fixes, or security of the webstore. Instead, he just has to pay the minimum monthly subscription charge.
Easily Scalable and Readily Integrable
As the business grows, retailers need to scale their store alongside and get ready for more users, more traffic, more orders and new features.
Generally, a comprehensive SAAS solution offers great scalability and flexibility for the retailers to scale readily. Retailers can switch to the higher payment tiers based upon the number of features and users they wish to add. These solutions have the support to increase the bandwidth on the servers or add more sales channels. You need not pay a high cost for the added scalability or new features.
SAAS eCommerce platforms are developed such to offer the merchants a comprehensive eCommerce solution for an affordable subscription fee. The software allows you all the necessary integrations with bookkeeping apps or financial software like ERP, 3PL, or POS.
Limitations Kept Under the Lens
Limited Customization and Lower Support for Complexity
Let’s make the comparison all above board. Though SAAS eCommerce solutions offer a shorter time to market with prebuilt functionalities, features and interfaces, it doesn’t allow extensive customization. While large retail brands might feel a need to create their own custom eCommerce application through the on-premise setup.
Moreover, most SAAS solutions might not have support for complex processes like advanced logistics needs and multiple warehouses, etc. However, some of the new cloud-based SAAS eCommerce applications are all geared-up to serve most of these complex functions as well.
Into the Conclusion
SAAS eCommerce Platform might not be the shortest route to success, but it offers a clear path to the eCommerce world. Ecommerce as a SAAS service is definitely a promising future for the retail market, where purpose-specific cloud-based SAAS marketplaces will dominate.
In case you require any assistance with establishing your new eCommerce marketplace or store, our Artis eCommerce Platform has got you covered. Why invest a big fortune in building a redundant on-premise foundation when you can launch your eCommerce store on-the-go with an advanced yet affordable SAAS solution.