Software as a service (SaaS) continues to grow rapidly. Researchers forecast that in 2023, the SaaS market will grow by 16.8%. Further predictions suggest that the global SaaS industry will be worth US$60.36 billion by the end of the year. It is expected that about 85% of corporate apps will be based on SaaS by 2025. SaaS solutions deliver software applications through the cloud. This helps businesses reduce costs. Rather than installing and maintaining software applications on your servers, eCommerce owners can access the app using any device with an internet connection or a web browser.
The software vendor hosts and maintains the servers, databases, and code. All the maintenance and responsibility for the software is placed on the vendor, not the eCommerce platform.
Open source eCommerce compared with Saas eCommerce
An online store built on an open-source platform or one built on a SaaS eCommerce platform looks the same. It is the store-building process that is different.
An open-source eCommerce platform allows the site owner full control over its structure, design, and source code. This means the site is completely customizable, and merchants can configure it however it suits their needs. These technical changes need to be done by professional designers and certified web developers, while security, updates, and storage must also be taken care of by qualified professionals. This results in higher costs for the business.
A Saas eCommerce platform places the responsibility for security, maintenance, and updates on the Saas provider. The provider has control over the code and takes care of all backend processes. This type of service is a fully paid service, so the merchants don’t have to do anything in terms of maintenance and upkeep of the platform. However, SaaS providers can access the data generated on these sites, and customization is limited. Data is stored in the cloud and is not secured by the SaaS provider. Customization requires consultation with the provider and is not accessible to the merchant but must go through the provider.
|Advantages of SaaS
|Disadvantages to SaaS
SaaS eCommerce platforms are known for their user-friendly interfaces and pre-built themes. This means it is fast and easy to launch an eCommerce site. Depending on the needs of the business, it can take as little as a few days to launch an eCommerce site.
Some SaaS platforms charge transaction fees on purchases and payments if the POS and payment gateway are not supported by the provider. However, these hidden fees are not applied by all providers.
SaaS platforms provide and apply security solutions. Providers send bug fixes and updates to take care of security vulnerabilities.
The Saas provider determines the customer journey. For this reason, it is important that merchants select providers with customization options so businesses can grow and develop.
SaaS platforms provide IT support throughout the entire website-building process and when the site is launched. SaaS platforms generally include support as part of the package.
SaaS platforms are easy to build and maintain. Software updates and hosting are taken care of by the provider. This means anyone with a computer can build an eCommerce site.
SaaS providers continue to improve their services. In 2023, eCommerce merchants can expect to see improvements to platforms that in the past would have only been available on open-source platforms.
The Checkout Process
A simple checkout process is key to improving conversion rates. Saas eCommerce platforms have improved auto-filling and communication with payment gateways. Security is also a vital aspect of the payment process for customers, and SaaS providers have many ways to add 2FA and 3FA to eCommerce platforms.
Saas eCommerce platforms are becoming more flexible. Providers are making it easier to modify platforms for specific business uses.
Voice shopping is becoming increasingly popular. It enables people with disabilities and is improving accessibility for people in general. The global voice assistant eCommerce transaction value is expected to reach US$19.4 billion this year. An increasing number of
Saas eCommerce providers are integrating the feature into their platforms.
AI will become a given feature on every SaaS platform. Chat boxes are increasingly efficient, and customer data collection is improving. AI is used to target ads at the right audiences, give fast and accurate responses to customer queries and provide recommendations based on customer data.
VR is an emerging technology that can create in-store experiences for customers digitally.
Some big brands’ eCommerce platforms already have virtual try-before-you-buy options to enhance the online shopping experience. While this technology is exciting for customers, it is also limited as VR goggles are not commonplace. It remains to be seen if the devices will become more popular and drive this technology option for smaller eCommerce sites.
SaaS eCommerce is commonplace, proving various levels of customization, security, and data control. It is important that merchants seek out the right providers for their business. Selecting a provider that customizes packages to the needs of the business owner means merchants can focus on actual business processes, products, and delivery. SaaS options are a great place for small businesses and new brands to develop a customer base without risking overinvesting in a website build that might not fulfill customer needs in just a few short years.
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