If one industry witnessed a massive growth during the pandemic, it has to be eCommerce. The new-normal life brought a significant change in the customers’ shopping behaviour and it largely impacted eCommerce sales.
The boom in eCommerce encouraged many retail businesses to bring their stores online. This, in turn, compelled the established businesses to adopt new strategies to thrive in the competitive landscape.
Whether you are a newcomer or own an established business, you must be looking for a new strategy for your e-store. Only a slick storefront, stunning visuals or seamless shopping experience may not be enough. You need to keep an eye on different options for various platforms.
Now, selecting a platform depends on your requirement. If you own a content management system (CMS), you may like to integrate it with your shopping cart software. You may also want it to be highly SEO friendly to increase brand visibility on the search engine. Similarly, you may also want it to sell on social media where your target audience is.
If you are looking for technological solutions that can power your requirements, you will be overwhelmed with lots of options. In order to narrow down the list, you have to first select between an eCommerce platform and SaaS platform.
Not sure which one to pick? Thankfully, you are in the right place. Today, we will take a close look at both types of platforms and analyse which one is ideal for you. This is the primary step that any certified developer would ask you to take.
- Difference between SaaS and Open Source eCommerce Platforms
- Open Source
An open source software means that the users have full control over the source code. They can customize the platform as per their requirement. However, the users must have developer resources to make the changes.
Open source platforms are free of cost and customizable. Non-technical business owners may face challenges to modify the platform but experienced eCommerce website development company professionals can handle these.
An open source software is often built in a collaborative manner. Different communities including developers and designers related to individual platforms craft such software. If a feature doesn’t exist in an open source platform, the developers can build it by altering the code.
Let’s close the discussion of the open source platform with an example to enhance your understanding. Open source is like owning a home. You can change the wall painting or add a new floor as per your budget and requirement.
Examples of Open Source Platforms
- SaaS eCommerce
Software-as-a-Service or SaaS is a new-age model where a software is licensed on a subscription basis. Let’s continue the example of home from the previous section. SaaS is like renting a home. You have to pay a fee (monthly, semi-annually, or annually based on your package) as long you want to use the home (we mean, the platform!).
SaaS platforms cannot be downloaded or bought. These are hosted by the SaaS service provider. The provider takes the responsibility of maintaining, securing, and hosting the platform. Here, the users don’t have any access to the source code or they cannot alter it. Continuing the example of the house, you cannot add a floor in a rented home, right?
SaaS is a good option for eCommerce website owners who don’t want to maintain or customize their stores.
Example of SaaS Platforms:
- Salesforce Commerce Cloud
- An Ecommerce Website Development Company Guides to Pick the Right Platform
Here are a few factors to know about both the platforms to make the right choice for your e-store.
- Open Source Platform
The basic principle of an open source eCommerce software is that it lets one modify the source code.
Many open source platforms have a free version – say, WooCommerce. It is free to download and use. If you engage a reputed eCommerce website design company, you need not pay for the software. Only the charge of the professionals is all you need to pay.
However, all open source software doesn’t come for free. For instance, Magento has an open source version as well as a licensed Magento Commerce version. The latter demands the users to pay some bucks. It also offers a hosting service through Magento Commerce Cloud.
- Expert Guidance
A major facility of an open source eCommerce platform is that you need not take any hassles of customization or maintenance. You can simply contact a reputed eCommerce website development company and let it take care of all the aspects of your e-store. From customizing the user interface to building the shopping cart, adding new features to maintaining & optimizing – the professional will do it all.
- Integrating Systems and Third-Party APIs
Integrating extensions is a crucial feature of e-store customization. The open source eCommerce website is easily customizable with different extensions and other CMS systems.
- SaaS Platform
Unlike open source software, you cannot download a SaaS software for free. Here, you need to purchase a package. Depending on the SaaS service providers’ pricing plan, the cost will vary.
Though a SaaS platform doesn’t enable you to integrate third-party extensions, you may purchase a plan that already has necessary extensions. Here, the pricing of the plan will increase as you extend the range of additional features. Bear in mind that the SaaS service provider will also charge you for maintaining the features.
Lack of customization is a problematic aspect in a SaaS-based eCommerce website. With the rise of competition and choices on the web, users’ expectations have increased. Therefore, it’s important to upgrade an e-store with advanced features and functionalities. A SaaS software limits customization power as you cannot alter the source code. This may negatively impact the conversion potential of your eCommerce website.
The comparative study highlights that both open source and SaaS ecommerce platforms have their merits. If you want a customized solution and add new features to your e-store, it’s better to consult a certified web development company and get an open source based eCommerce website. On the other hand, you can purchase a SaaS based platform to get the hosting service from the providers.
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