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When it comes to starting an e-commerce business, you can choose between two types of platforms to host your store: software as a service (or SaaS) or open source. Their main difference relates to ease of processing, capacity and cost. Nor is the intention better; Which platform is right for you will depend on your business needs and budget. 

The e-commerce market is expected to reach $4.13 billion in 2020, and is expected to rise, according to Statista. As online shopping continues, many people are looking for information about these two types of platforms, especially the benefits they offer and what makes them different from each other. 

To shed light on this, we’ve put together two beginner’s guides for these different platforms. For more information about open source, see our pros and cons of open source guide. Now, let’s get into the basics of SaaS. 

What is SaaS?

Software as a service, or SaaS, is software licensed and delivered to you by a SaaS provider. This means that the provider takes care of all the hosting, maintenance and security that you have to manage yourself. 

You pay for using the software through a monthly fee, which includes most of the things you need to run your online business, including the e-commerce software itself, as well as hosting, software updates and security patches. This makes SaaS a great option for businesses of various sizes that may have limited resources, but it also means the limitations of customizing your site from scratch.

What is a SaaS platform? 

There are many SaaS platforms available; One of the most well-known is BigCommerce, which offers a flexible and flexible SaaS platform that is popular with mid-sized and enterprise brands. There is also Shopify and Shopify Plus, which offer many themes but limit the number of products you can sell, which can be a problem for businesses with a large catalog. Other SaaS software includes Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Volusion, and Squarespace.

Advantages of SaaS 

Organized applications 

You don’t need to download or install anything to start a website on a SaaS platform; just create an account and start building your store using the provided interface. SaaS providers often offer many pre-made themes that use a drag-and-drop architecture, so no coding is required. This makes it quick and easy, depending on the software you choose and the features it includes. Of course, quick and easy are the words. Many customers will join a development company to create their SaaS site, to improve their skills and past success in building and maintaining other stores. Stores and SaaS platforms can be started faster than developers, even if you work in an enterprise, because they are not built from the ground up and there is usually less need for configuration. 

Most of the site maintenance is done for you  

Most of the technical details (software updates, hosting, site maintenance and security) are taken care of by SaaS platform providers. It’s great for companies that don’t have a lot of technical expertise or the budget for extra professional help. Everything is handled by cloud-based delivery for a monthly fee. This makes it user-friendly and easy to maintain. It also means that the client can focus on running and growing the business, rather than focusing on the nuts and bolts of site maintenance.

More stability and confidence 

Open source platforms may have issues with extensions or plugins as they are created by different developers and may not be compatible with each other. They also become obsolete and unsupported and must be replaced when a new version of the platform is released, which requires identifying and installing updated extensions. With a SaaS platform, there is less risk of update breaches and security breaches. This gives customers peace of mind as there is little risk to their revenue and reputation due to site downtime or security related issues. 

Advantages of SaaS 

There is no structure 

Without the ability to reverse engineer the source code, which you can do with an open source platform, there may be limitations to designing a SaaS website. Platforms like BigCommerce offer some openings through APIs, although these configurations, like open-source sites, require programmatic investment. Chances are you will still need additional apps and extensions not included in the software, to get all the features you want and need. For example, BigCommerce partners with many merchants for features like checkout, shipping, site search, and more. Shopify offers these services on its own or through proprietary software packages. If flexibility and providing a new customer experience is important to you, some SaaS platforms may not offer enough features for your business or you may be forced to use a provider that does not have one. 

Terms and conditions are limited  

Some SaaS platforms have limited customization and SKU capabilities. They can also decide what kind of products the business will sell or not sell using their platform, and they can change their mind whenever they want. This means that some businesses start on a SaaS platform and find that they have to move to an open source when they get bigger or when they want to sell something that their platform doesn’t allow. Some customers only have a few weeks to migrate their sites to other platforms when their SaaS provider decides not to allow the sale of their type of product (such as firearms or cannabis products). ). 

Small features and product selection  

With many other SaaS, you have to work within the limits of the platform. Some platforms don’t allow you to choose certain apps or features, which means you’re stuck with whatever they choose. For example, Shopify has a private payment provider. You can choose another payment provider, but Shopify will charge a 2% transaction fee on every sale using the gateway. They do not allow access to certain features such as multicurrency.

Additional costs for other features  

As with most things in life, when it comes to e-commerce platforms, you get what you pay for. Some SaaS platforms bundle features and services together, making it easier to estimate costs and capabilities. However, the SaaS platform will often seem to be inexpensive, but that is because it offers a very limited service (which is how they keep the price). This means that you often end up paying and installing another app later, to get all the features you need to run your store. The advantage is that you can start with a basic site and add features as you grow and as needed. The downside is that these costs can add up over time, sometimes unexpectedly

You need to know more. 

BMBMatrix has a team of highly skilled developers, site architects, and solutions experts who have extensive experience in building and maintaining SaaS e-commerce sites for a variety of businesses. If you want to know more, contact us to find out if a SaaS platform might be right for your business.

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