Marijuana! Yes, the first online transaction was marijuana sold by Stanford students to MIT students via the Arpanet account at their artificial intelligence lab in 1972. And the first e-commerce platform was a television connected to a computer via a telephone line, and that was back in 1979.
Since then, e-commerce platforms have emerged and developed into what we have today.
Why Should You Continue Reading This Article?
We are not here today to talk about how important e-commerce is; that’s become an established fact. We’re here to talk about SaaS eCommerce, Software-as-a-Service, as opposed to Software-as-a-Platform e-commerce, or other times called Software-on-Premise platforms.
What Is an eCommerce Platform?
An e-commerce platform is software that works on a web server, which allows business owners to showcase their products of any type and sell them to customers on the internet. Customers shop their favorite products, add them to their carts, and pay with their credit cards.
How Is an eCommerce Platform Built?
A business owner or an entrepreneur with a fresh idea interested in delivering services over the internet, where a product of some kind is sold and money is paid, has one of two options:
- a self-hosted e-commerce software,
- or a Software-as-a-Service or SaaS eCommerce platform.
What Is Self-Hosted eCommerce Software?
One can build an e-commerce platform by purchasing or downloading self-hosted software and installing it onto their web server.
Here, the business owner has their own web hosting, whether they purchase hosting from a provider or have access to their own data center.
Yes, self-hosted eCommerce platforms are often free, but there are other tricks into them:
- self-hosted e-commerce platforms are more difficult to use,
- they are not very reliable,
- additional expenses are needed for security and so, and
- there isn’t plenty of room for customization and personalization.
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Open Source vs Commercial eCommerce
Small businesses can profit greatly from open-source eCommerce solutions. Although it may be expanded to meet the vendor’s needs, it lacks the scalability of a commercial eCommerce platform. At a low price, they provide a good collection of functions. While support options may be restricted in comparison to commercial platforms, open-source solutions usually have a large community of developers and associates who are willing to assist new providers. Click To Tweet
Commercial eCommerce systems, on the other hand, are better tailored to major online retailers with a high volume of transactions, severe security needs, ample scalability, and a plethora of bells and whistles.
The best method to decide between commercial and open-source solutions is to test, test, and test some more to familiarise yourself and others in your company with the program. Only then will you be confident enough to let the software handle the heavy lifting while you focus on what you do best: selling.
What Is SaaS eCommerce Platform?
When comparing SaaS vs eCommerce, a (software as a service) SaaS eCommerce platform is a more convenient option for building and managing an eCommerce store for small and medium businesses (SMBs).
SaaS eCommerce software is an all-in-one package, including the software, hosting, backups, and tech support.
eCommerce SaaS platforms are hosted on the provider’s servers, which means that the online store owner doesn’t need to worry about downloading and installing any software or providing web hosting.
How convenient and super easy is that? 🤔
With an internet-connected computer and a modern browser, one can build and manage an online store by logging in through a portal.
The online store owner doesn’t need to worry either about the security, execution, and upkeep of the application on their servers.
In the SaaS model, vendors have constant access to their eCommerce platform at whatever point and anyplace there’s a web connection.
There are numerous providers for SaaS commerce platforms out there; how can you choose the best SaaS eCommerce platform for your business needs and growth opportunities?
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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a SaaS eCommerce Platform?
Many e-commerce organizations rely on SaaS Platforms to run their operations; companies that deal with logistics and shipping are prime examples. Shipping labels and order fulfillment service providers, for example, may use SaaS platforms like Woocommerce to send items to their customers, even if they have a big number of them. All systems have advantages and disadvantages, and SaaS technology is no exception. The following are some of the advantages and disadvantages of SaaS e-commerce systems. Let’s start with the bright side!
Advantage #1: Relatively Cheap
Overall, SaaS eCommerce solutions are less expensive. To get started, there are no upfront charges. Because you are not creating your platform from the ground up, you will not incur exorbitant development costs. You don’t necessarily need to collaborate with a partner to produce a fully customized website design. You won’t need to spend as much on add-ons because the platform already has so many features.
Maintenance is another area where retailers may save money. You are not in charge of your website’s ongoing upkeep. You don’t have to pay partners to work on software patches or problem fixes. The relatively low cost of SaaS e-commerce systems, as well as the immediate benefit to the business owner, make it an appealing alternative. You save the exorbitant expenditures of creating an IT system from the ground up. You avoid the hassle of maintaining your servers and dealing with specialists to resolve faults and restore websites that have blown up.
Advantage #2: Easily Integrated
While your eCommerce system is the backbone of your company, it isn’t necessarily the sole system you employ to operate everything. It’s often advised that you don’t manage your complete company through your eCommerce platform. After all, the program is nothing more than a shopping cart.
SaaS eCommerce solutions are frequently easier to connect with an ERP, POS, 3PL, or any other financial software, whether you need it immediately now or later. Because there isn’t as much personalization with SaaS systems, they offer sophisticated APIs that make integration easier with predictable projects.
Advantage #3: Regularly Maintained
The fact that the supplier hosts and maintains the software is the largest benefit of SaaS eCommerce systems. You won’t have to look for a hosting company to work with. Instead, they’re in charge of things like uptime, performance, software issue repairs, and software upgrades, among other things.
Your service provider is always keeping an eye on and monitoring the functioning of your shop. Support teams for SaaS companies are often recognized for being friendly and responsive. This is a crucial differentiator of SaaS platforms if you don’t have your own IT team to undertake this degree of management.
However, while any of the previous advantages of choosing a Saas eCommerce system is seductive enough, you should consider those advantages while making your big decision!
Disadvantage #1: Hard to Customize
Premade templates and built-in functionality are usually used by most SaaS systems. While these features make their platforms simple to use and get started with, they also have the potential to confine you. SaaS eCommerce solutions, in certain situations, lack the capacity to customize to the nth degree.
Most SaaS eCommerce platforms, unlike open-source ones, do not provide access to the software’s code. As a result, you will be unable to make any modifications. A SaaS platform may not be able to provide you with highly specific features.
Disadvantage #1: B2B More than B2C
Most eCommerce platforms, whether SaaS or not, miss the mark for B2B vendors. While B2B is beginning to resemble B2C in appearance, B2B requirements are distinct.
Even if you’re an e-commerce firm, most SaaS systems cater to Business-to-Customer transactions (B2C), so if you’re a Business-to-Business (B2B) vendor, you won’t benefit as much as a (B2C). Because Customer-specific pricing, quantity discounts, and staggered payment durations are all features that SaaS systems aren’t much of friends with.
After all, we can say that its benefits weigh its critiques. Yet, the choice is totally yours! We’ll just show you more around to make it easier for you to make your mind!
How to Choose Your SaaS eCommerce Provider?
Before choosing a Software-as-a-Service supplier to build your eCommerce platform on, you need to consider a few aspects in order to have a smooth building process and a long-term relationship with them.
1. Customer Support
By choosing a SaaS platform, you probably don’t have an IT department of your own. This means that you need and expect the utmost level of support from your provider to build and maintain your eCommerce store.
Your provider has to be reliable for uptime, execution speed, software bug fixes, software updates, checking the presentation of your store, and whatever else of the sort.
The level of customer support you get is a significant differentiation of SaaS platforms.
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2. Innovative Solutions and Services
For your online store to be unique and successful, your SaaS provider needs to accommodate the platform with essential and useful solutions for users to build their store rapidly and manage it easily.
Features like shipping, online payment gateways, marketing, and customization shouldn’t take a while to finish, in a beginner-friendly interface.
3. Reasonable Cost
The cost, whether monthly or yearly plans, shouldn’t be insane, since you’re not building your foundation without any preparation.
With so much usefulness previously incorporated with the platform, you don’t need to spend as much on additional items.
In addition to the all-free plan, we also offer 3 paid plans that suit businesses of all sizes.
4. Security and PCI Compliance
When it comes to online payment and giving away their personal and credit card information, online customers are very sensitive and hesitant.
But when your store is PCI agreeable, your customers’ data are well secured and protected.
Make sure that your SaaS supplier guarantees that your store satisfies PCI consistency guidelines, is up to date with any patches or bug fixes that influence your store’s security, and is ready to prevent any information hacks.
It should be a high priority for you to win your customers’ confidence and trust.
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5. Clearer Cost of Ownership
On the contrary of what’s being said about on-premise software cost, being upfront for one time and that’s it, it’s not entirely correct.
Calculating the cost of a self-hosted e-commerce platform or on-premise e-commerce software can be very tricky and difficult, taking into consideration future maintenance, security patches, and functional enhancements.
On the other hand, monthly or yearly costs paid to a SaaS e-commerce platform is clear, precise, and fixed.
Tip? Some SaaS e-commerce platforms charge you more when your sales volumes go up significantly or you have significant increases in traffic. Some don’t, like ExpandCart.
6. Reduced Maintenance and Simpler Deployments
Although big businesses go for on-premise e-commerce solutions for the sake of unlimited customization, personalization, and modifications, this could negatively impact their experience with that platform.
Unnecessary customization can put retailers into a lot of suffering that can be spared by using a SaaS platform, like ExpandCart, which often achieves the same functionality, but via native functionality.
Unnecessary customization can really impact other third parties, while a SaaS-based platform satisfactorily achieves the exact same functionality without customization.
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ExpandCart as a SaaS eCommerce Platform
We can’t think of SaaS eCommerce examples without mentioning the ExpandCart Platform. ExpandCart has proved itself in the market among the top e-commerce SaaS companies, especially for users in the Middle East and MENA region, because of its unmatched servers, free applications, varied built-in services, easy customization, and exceptional customer support.
Among SaaS examples, We can’t say that ExpandCart is the best SaaS ecommerce platform, but we can highlight some of the great aspects that led ExpandCart to the place it occupies today.
ExpandCart offers top-notch SaaS e-commerce technologies that lower the cost barrier to launching and scaling an eCommerce business, encouraging more and more retailers to better compete in the modern retail ecosystem.
On top of that, ExpandCart users enjoy fixed fees for their online store, no matter how big their sales or traffic gets.
ExpandCart users do not have to worry about the additional or hidden costs. The monthly or yearly cost includes:
- cloud hosting fees (AWS, the best servers in the world),
- security management,
- platform maintenance,
- platform upgrades, and
- integration with third-party technologies (integrations with commonly used ERPs, email providers, payment gateways, shipping companies, analysis tools, and much more).
The first and only in the Middle East! Create your FREE online store for a lifetime — no hidden fees and no credit card.
With one core codebase across all stores on the platform, ExpandCart is controlled and protected by the platform’s technical team, resulting in the e-commerce solutions inherently being more secure than on-premise platforms.
ExpandCart’s users and retailers are able to get on with operations and merchandising, knowing that platform-level security aspects are being taken care of for them
As for new merchants who plan to grow very quickly, the scalability of our cloud-based e-commerce platform is matched by none of our competitors in the Middle East, not even by famous on-premise solutions.
ExpandCart’s Enterprise offers a cloud-based option that can cater to even the most demanding merchants, and immense traffic surges, such as on Black Friday events.
4. Dealing with Complexity
Being an exceptionally fabricated platform, ExpandCart can satisfy each and every business needs you to have, no matter how complex or complicated they might be.
ExpandCart SaaS-based e-commerce platform spares you the hassle of altering your foundation or using the combination to associate all your frameworks and procedures. Selling across many commercial centers, various e-commerce, and selling globally will not, by any means, muddle your selling forms at any time.
An all-inclusive online store for FREE: integrate with payment and shipping companies, sell on social media, track website users, and get detailed e-commerce reports.
No limited trial, no credit card, no hidden fees
To Sum Up!
If you want to sell your product online as soon as possible, the most beneficial decision for you is to start making a website with a SaaS-based e-commerce platform.
Cloud-based e-commerce SaaS platforms have been valued for their creative problem-solving approach in providing flexible pricing models, e-commerce integrations and interchanges, wide partner selection, and great website delivery.
A lot of today’s SaaS-based e-commerce platforms offer their users open-source and agile features that allow them to both enjoy freedom in creating their store’s page and achieve customer satisfaction.
Also, you do not need to have an entire team of IT professionals to operate an online store, as all of your business processes online can be handled by a single page application UI, allowing you to accommodate multiple applications within the same UI.
At the end of the day, it’s totally your decision. But ExpandCart’s features make it stand out among other cloud-based SaaS platforms in the Middle East. Deploy your website on the best cloud servers in the world, Amazon Web Services (AWS), dedicated only to the Middle East (no hanging or crashing), enjoy around-the-clock, professional customer care for support and expert advice, and expand your business nationally and internationally easily and rapidly.
If these benefits couldn’t influence your decision to re-platform to ExpandCart’s cloud-based platform, we don’t really know what could!