Most merchants have acknowledged the importance and benefits of switching to technology to make their businesses profitable. They utilize Office 360, Google Apps, Salesforce, etc., to run company operations. These apps and systems are collectively called Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). SaaS platforms are a complete game-changer in the world of eCommerce, and several companies owe their success to them. This article will discuss the core topics related to SaaS eCommerce and the top 4 SaaS eCommerce platforms you should watch for in 2022.
Table of Contents
What is a SaaS eCommerce Platform?
SaaS is an anagram for Software-as-a-Service. To elaborate, it is a software licensing and delivery model. Its primary objective is to license software to the users, accessible via the internet. SaaS eCommerce platforms are cloud-based systems accessible through any web browser.
The most significant benefit of SaaS platforms is that the system isn't introduced on-premise or maintained by the client. Instead, your eCommerce platform runs on the hosted servers of the SaaS suppliers. Your third-party supplier takes care of the security, maintenance, and execution of several applications on their servers.
Users can access licensed SaaS applications as per their subscription. They can purchase the subscription by paying a monthly fee. The fee amount will depend on the number of features and level of service or support the users wish to access. The licensing model gives complete flexibility to the merchants as they can have a secure and constant connection to their eCommerce store anytime, anywhere. The most prominent examples of SaaS eCommerce providers are BigCommerce and Shopify.
Learn more about the benefits of using Saas platforms from experts
Benefits of SaaS eCommerce Platforms
SaaS eCommerce is the fastest and hassle-free way to launch a digital store because it is neither installed nor maintained by the owner. There is more than one benefit of using such platforms, and listed below are a few of them:
1. How much does it cost?
SaaS eCommerce platforms are inexpensive and highly efficient solution for business owners:
- It is a fundamental investment that all merchants should make to build their online store. Investing in a robust SaaS eCommerce framework will give you long-term benefits.
- You will save on cost, time and all the hassles of building the whole ecommerce solution grounds up. Also, SaaS platforms comes with a lot of features and plugins which are practically impossible to build by an individual merchant.
- These platforms already integrate basic features and also offers a lot of design options through theme files, thereby saving you time and money on design as well.
As mentioned above, third-party service providers are responsible for the maintenance process. Merchants get to save expenses on maintenance and developments that way. However, apart from the costs, it also lightens the workload of the store owners. As a customer of the third-party service provider, the business owner can rely on them to take care of mundane issues like fixing bugs, regular updates, maintaining the server's functioning, and much more. It is particularly advantageous for businesses that do not have a strong IT team with enough experience in the eCommerce industry. Furthermore, SaaS updates are automatic, which cuts down the additional costs and efforts.
3. Enhanced Security and PCI Compliance
Due to the automatic update feature, your SaaS online store is continuously upgraded, protecting it against any cyber-attack. The internet has its downsides, and it is crucial to protect your store and your consumers from potential data leaks and hackers. SaaS system providers ensure that you fulfill all the PCI consistency guidelines so that you can protect your customer's sensitive payment information. The system suppliers are liable to stay updated with any bug fixes or patches that impact the security of your store. Your loyal consumer base trusts your firm with personal data, and the information must stay protected from the increasing number of hacks.
A growing business requires a platform that will grow with them. SaaS eCommerce platforms are considerably more flexible than other platforms. It allows you to widen your consumer base, processes more orders, and add additional complex features to the store. When your store expands, you can integrate new sales channels, increase server bandwidth to manage site traffic, etc. Remember that growing your company doesn't mean rebranding or restructuring the base business model. It is unrealistic and inefficient to incur such expenses frequently. Instead, it means adding fresh new features that will help you turnover increased profits.
5. Avant Garde Solutions
The principal role of this platform is to supply developed and ready-to-go products, ultimately saving the buyer's time and money. Most of the commodities offered are exceedingly customizable and straightforward to functionalize so that clients can design their dream platform at the snap of their fingers. While assembling an eCommerce stage may take months, utilizing those "Lego" arrangements will help you build the outcome a lot quicker. Moreover, store owners don't need an IT team or an expert to run their store. They can leverage the user-friendly design interface to manage store operations.
As beneficial as your eCommerce platforms are, it is ill-advised to run your entire business from a single system. Integrating your current eCommerce platform with other software like POS, 3PL, ERP, payment gateway, or other money-related software is crucial in boosting your business growth. It is convenient to have a SaaS eCommerce platform that can flawlessly integrate with other applications.
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Top SaaS eCommerce Platforms
Building your eCommerce website is no longer a daunting and strenuous task. With the onset of technological improvements and the boost of overall eCommerce businesses, firms have made considerable changes to their SaaS eCommerce platforms to make them more user-friendly. Below are the top 4 best SaaS eCommerce platforms of 2022. All of them are professionally recommended and will ensure substantial growth of your online store and profits.
BigCommerce offers services that are much more than any other eCommerce site builder. The top-level store management capabilities help you get ahead of your competitors. Some of these features include flexible shipping, a robust product catalog, real-time quotes, discounting tools, and so on. These comprehensive eCommerce tools make BigCommerce stand out from other eCommerce sites. You can edit the online store's website through a drag-and-drop solution that requires no prior coding experience. However, the site's shipping capabilities are the show's real star.
BigCommerce is currently the only SaaS eCommerce platform with a cloud solution that integrates intensely with ShipperHQ, an avant-garde shipping rate calculator and rules engine. BigCommerce can provide essential data like customized shipping rates and real-time quotes with this integration. This site is perfect for both large-scale and small-scale businesses. Since it is a one-stop hosted eCommerce platform, users can sign up on bigcommerce.com, activate the free trial, and immediately build their online dream store. This SaaS eCommerce platform also provides security to the store. The BigCommerce servers start hardware firewalls and hacker deterrent security provisioning to protect your store from cybercrime.
- Integration with ShipperHQ and eBay
- Several top-line eCommerce tools
- Accepts numerous payment gateways with no transaction fees
- Robust business management features like order management, shipping, security, reporting, etc.
- Universally hosted server
- No server maintenance and upgrade costs
- API driven access
- Affordable plans starting at $29.95/month
Shopify is one of the notable eCommerce platforms for small businesses. This platform is used in 175 countries and has more than a million users worldwide. Shopify's mission is to create a seamless platform where merchants can sell, ship, and manage their products. It offers a variety of features, extensions, and themes that you can customize to cater to your store's needs. It has everything a merchant requires to build a shop online and offline. The distinctive feature of Shopify is that it has social media selling tools and integrates with markets like Amazon.
Apart from that, it has your usual run-of-the-mill abilities like drag and drop solutions, requires no prior knowledge about coding, and is beginner-friendly. Shopify provides you access to both CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), two programming languages that can be utilized to create content for the page. Also, this eCommerce platform eliminates the need to purchase a web hosting service or install additional software. Merchants can directly accept credits from Shopify, which means there is no need for a third-party app. The payment details are synced with the orders to make the payment process easier for all parties involved.
- Social media selling tools like Facebook Messenger, Buyable Pins, and Facebook Shop
- Highly engaging and supportive community
- Multiple channels retailing - offline, online and social
- Beginner-friendly and user-friendly
- No server maintenance costs
- A plethora of theme options
- Economical - no free plan available, but a free trial is available
- Integration with marketplaces like Amazon
Magento is predominantly an open-source e-commerce platform written in PHP, but it also provides Saas services. The platform is renowned for its groundbreaking solutions and features. It is highly customizable and lets users seamlessly tailor their site's layout and blocks. They can either use the existing themes or build one from scratch. However, a professional developer's help is required to customize websites. Magento 2 and the latest improved versions give greater flexibility to the merchants to manage their stores. It is also the reason why many upcoming businesses have migrated to Magento.
Popular websites using the platform are Ford, Landrover, Nestle Nespresso Sugarfina, Helly Hansen, Adore Beauty, etc. Each year, Magento manages a gross total of $100 billion in merchandise volume. Approximately 20% or more online stores use Magento as their eCommerce platform. The self-hosted solutions make it significantly easy for store owners to manage their business. Nonetheless, you need a decent amount of experience in the industry or possess some relevant knowledge to use Magneto because of its advanced software and complex features. You could otherwise hire a professional to manage the store. That being said, this eCommerce site is best suited for an established, large-scale business model. Any investment in Magento will benefit your business in the long term.
- Users can add and manage more than a thousand products
- This site can handle tons of traffic
- Process massive orders
- In-built multilingual support
- Product bundles
- Coupon Management
- A multitude of payment gateway alternatives
- Inventory management and Newsletter management
- Marketing tools and site management tools
Wix is an SMB-accommodating site hosting and building platform with diverse abilities for making a sophisticated web-based store. This widely used SaaS ecommerce platform allows you to configure, build and manage your online store with the help of Wix Editor. After signing up, the users can gain access to Wix Editor, the website building tool for this platform. It offers a simple, intuitive drag and drop builder tool that permits you to add/eliminate feature graphics, change the website's structure, write the site copy, and make other changes according to your business needs.
You'll also enjoy the benefits of having countless layouts and stock pictures to select from to make the process simpler. It has one-page sites for individuals who favor an essential, concise browsing experience. Moreover, it includes an impressive collection of free and paid templates to design your site and increase the customer's mobile shopping experience. It has over 500 free mobile responsive designs to choose from, and you don't need extensive coding experience to manage your store. Furthermore, the platform accepts a variety of primary payment gateways and methods with no additional commission.
- Real-time push notifications and no maintenance charges
- Lets users add highly efficient SEO tags on the website pages
- Continuous sync with google calendar
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Parallax 3D effects
- Supports marketing tools like ShoutOut Email marketing
- Reasonable premium plans and free forever plan
Confused about choosing a SaaS platform to choose for your business?
How Do You Choose an Appropriate SaaS eCommerce Platform for Your Business?
With many exceptional SaaS eCommerce platforms in the market, merchants may feel perplexed and intimidated to choose one. An eCommerce business is essentially a simple online shopping store. However, many back-end operations and features make it a success. Examples of such elements are stocking, secure payment options, warehousing, inventory management, order processing, and much more. Most beginners and startups often commit the mistake of not selecting the right platform to build their store. To ensure you don't duplicate the errors, below are some curated factors to help you make a suitable choice.
1. Business Objective
Every business has unique needs, and identifying them will help business owners arrange their priorities. One should ponder over the below questions:
- What should be my business size?
- Who is my target audience?
- How much capital can I invest in an eCommerce platform?
- Is the eCommerce platform scalable?
- Do I need prior software knowledge to use the SaaS eCommerce platform?
The answer to these questions will help you determine your business objectives and accordingly handpick a few SaaS eCommerce platforms.
Building an online store from scratch requires a lot of groundwork. The advantage of choosing SaaS eCommerce platforms is that you can have your store up and running in an hour or so. However, not all of them provide the same amount of convenience while designing and developing your store. A few SaaS eCommerce platforms require experience and knowledge in coding to customize extensions, themes, and the site's layout. Make sure to select a SaaS eCommerce platform with an optimized and responsive mobile-friendly design. It will attract more customers and exponentially grow your business.
Different eCommerce platforms have other subscription plans. Nevertheless, most of them offer a basic or free trial plan to help you get the knack of its working. Investing in any SaaS eCommerce platform is a long-term commitment, and that's why you must meticulously research before making any purchases. Remember to include costs like maintenance fees, security fees, transaction fees, hosting expenses, consultant fees, and so on. Opt for a self-hosted SaaS eCommerce platform to cut down the costs of maintenance, management, and hosting services.
4. Self-hosted or Cloud-based
One of your primary tasks is to choose between a self-hosted eCommerce platform and a hosted/cloud-based platform for your business. Self-hosted platforms will run the site on your server and have complete control over maintenance and management. You will require some expertise in the technical and software area to operate self-hosting sites such as WooCommerce and Magento. Pros of choosing them are:
- Complete creative control over your site
- You can build, manage, and design the location on your terms
- Independent functionality of your site
Hosted eCommerce platforms are tropically cloud-based platforms and are beginner-friendly. You are limited to the software's abilities to release features and add-ons. No prior technical knowledge is required to run your store on Wix, BigCommerce, and Shopify platforms. Pros of choosing them are:
- Merchant is not responsible for server maintenance and development
- An excellent option for non-technical users as it is beginner-friendly
- More affordable than self-hosted platforms
Challenges Faced by SaaS eCommerce Platforms
1.B2B Support Needs
SaaS eCommerce platforms are not ideally built for B2B eCommerce. Even though B2B has a similar model to B2C, distinctive differences entitle both business models to separate unique needs. B2B eCommerce sites need features like customer-specific pricing, wholesale pricing, discounts by quantities, different payment terms, etc. Therefore, B2B sellers will have to look for other alternatives.
2. Management of Complex Systems
eCommerce sites need advanced customized features to manage complex business operations. It is primarily for sizable eCommerce sites as they handle multiple marketplaces, manage warehousing, control inventory, international shipping, and so on. A basic SaaS eCommerce cannot manage such complex operations.
Future of SaaS eCommerce Platforms
The current pandemic and the technological improvements in the past decade have changed the retailing landscape and encouraged more businesses to shift to the eCommerce model. It is vital to invest in progressive SaaS eCommerce platforms to ensure that your business stays profitable and competitive. The merchants may never have complete control over the functionalities of SaaS-based eCommerce platforms, and that can be a blessing in disguise. It is a highly responsible task to build a platform that will immediately and efficiently cater to your needs, not to mention the advantage of community support the platform will now have. SaaS eCommerce platforms seem to be the future of online retailing, and it is a sign for the readers to switch to one today.
Struggling with managing your SaaS eCommerce platform?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
What's the critical difference between SaaS and eCommerce business?
A SaaS business sells a service that can be accessed through paid subscriptions and probably receive recurring payments. It provides platforms for an eCommerce business to develop and grow. An eCommerce business sells a tangible product or a downloadable file, and the transaction happens through a website.
How do you differentiate between Open source and SaaS platforms?
SaaS platforms are built, maintained, and hosted by the provider on their servers and licensed to merchants for use. E.g., BigCommerce and Shopify. Open source platforms allow merchants to change, view and distribute the source code for personal purposes. It is developed collaboratively by the public, e.g., Magento and WooCommerce.
What are the three different types of eCommerce businesses?
Three leading types of e-Commerce businesses are Business-to-Business (B2B ) like Salesforce, AliExpress, Business-to-Consumer (B2C ) like Amazon, and Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) like eBay. SaaS ecommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magneto are ideally used to run B2B and B2C eCommerce.
Can I get technical support for Magento?
Since Magento is a famous SaaS eCommerce platform, many professionals provide top-notch support services to business owners. Virtina has a team of highly qualified experts who have sufficient experience to offer a wide range of Magento services to grow your eCommerce business. For more information, feel free to contact Virtina.
Are all eCommerce platforms SaaS-based?
No, not all eCommerce platforms are SaaS-based. There are predominantly two other eCommerce platforms, PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) and on-premises platforms. However, SaaS platforms like Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce are considerably used and favorably recommended out of the three options.
How many SaaS eCommerce platforms does Virtina support?
We can proudly say that we provide exceptional technical support and services to 13 SaaS eCommerce platforms. Apart from the top 4 SaaS platforms mentioned above, namely, BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and Wix, we are also skilled in Squarespace, 3D cart, Volusion, Vtex, OpenCart, WordPress, Odoo, and PrestaShop.
What are some of the issues faced by SaaS eCommerce startup companies?
Not all startups with SaaS experience success and profits. Some of them fail at the very beginning for several reasons. The preliminary reason is a lack of strategy. Other significant reasons include a weak business model, lack of an efficient management team, slow growth rate, and inadequate resource management.
Can a person host their eCommerce website?
Yes, it is possible to host your eCommerce website, but it is not practical. To host one, you require physical servers, which takes a lot of money, technical expertise, time, and effort. So unless you are a multinational eCommerce firm, this option isn't recommended for your online store.
Is Shopify profitable for small businesses?
This SaaS-based eCommerce platform is highly recommended for small businesses. Firstly, it is user-friendly and beginner-friendly, so you don't need additional technical support to run your store. Secondly, it includes all tools required to run an eCommerce business and manage operations. These features cut down the costs needed to set up an online store.