Exploring the Advantages and Disadvantages of SaaS eCommerce Platforms
The realm of SaaS (Software as a Service) is continuously expanding, and while it presents clear benefits, it also carries certain limitations, particularly for B2B (Business to Business) companies. Many businesses, ranging from giants like Salesforce, Box, Office 365 to smaller retailers, are increasingly embracing SaaS solutions to streamline their operations.
Transitioning to a SaaS platform from traditional on-premise software may seem like a daunting task for businesses of all sizes. Given their relatively recent emergence in the market, numerous questions and uncertainties still surround SaaS platforms.
So, what exactly is a SaaS platform? SaaS, which stands for Software as a Service, is a software licensing and delivery model where software is licensed to users via the internet. These cloud-based systems can be accessed through any web browser. In this article, I have conducted a comprehensive exploration of SaaS eCommerce platforms to provide a clearer understanding of their pros and cons.
Pros and Cons of SaaS Platforms:
Pros of SaaS Platforms:
1. Fast Implementation Time:
SaaS platforms enable merchants to establish a functioning website with minimal effort. They often offer pre-built layouts and mobile-responsive themes, potentially eliminating the need for a developer to set up your site.
2. Out-of-the-Box Solutions:
SaaS platforms are designed to provide out-of-the-box solutions. They come equipped with fundamental shopping cart functionality, customizable pre-built themes, marketing capabilities, and basic product information management. These features allow businesses to operate without requiring a diverse IT team or extensive developer expertise.
One of the most significant advantages of SaaS platforms is that the provider hosts and manages the software. This eliminates the need to seek out a hosting provider. Providers are responsible for ensuring performance, speed, uptime, and addressing software bug fixes, offering constant monitoring and maintenance for your store.
Many SaaS platforms are available for as little as $100 per month. While costs may increase over time, the overall entry cost is significantly lower than other e-commerce solutions. SaaS platforms can integrate with various services, such as live chat vendors and email providers, reducing development costs.
5. PCI and Security Compliance:
Online businesses must adhere to PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance standards. E-commerce SaaS providers ensure that these standards are met, staying up-to-date with bug fixes and security patches to safeguard your business.
6. Automatic Inclusion of New Features:
SaaS platforms continually introduce new features into the platform that merchants can easily implement. This negates the need for developers to upgrade code and conduct testing before going live, saving both time and money.
Cons of SaaS Platforms:
1. Lack of Customization:
SaaS platforms rely on built-in functionality and pre-designed templates. While this simplicity facilitates getting started, it can significantly limit customization options, sometimes even restricting extreme customization for educational-based businesses like online class help services.
2. Inadequate Support for B2B Needs:
Most e-commerce systems, whether SaaS or not, may fall short in catering to the unique requirements of B2B sellers. B2B operations require distinct features, including customer-specific pricing, quantity-based discounts, varying payment terms, and wholesale pricing, which are not essential for B2C (Business to Customer) models.
3. Inability to Customize Checkout:
Merchants using SaaS platforms often encounter limitations in customizing checkout processes. In the business world, fostering a unique and strategic approach to growth is critical, but SaaS platforms may hinder such uniqueness.
SaaS platforms, while not demanding extensive technical expertise, may require certification training to become proficient. AWS Cloud Training is one such certification program that can aid individuals in becoming experts in the field. SaaS can serve B2B merchants effectively, particularly those with relatively simple sales models and extensive product documentation. However, if your business deals with a large number of SKUs or features a more complex sales structure, SaaS platforms may not be the most suitable choice.
In conclusion, SaaS eCommerce platforms offer a mix of advantages and limitations. Before opting for this model, businesses must weigh these pros and cons against their unique requirements and growth strategies.