What is SaaS?
SaaS stands for Software-as-a-Service. It is a model in which the software is hosted on the cloud. The user receives a license to use the software on a subscription fee format, meaning that they don’t have to purchase the software and install it on their system. You can access the software through any web browser or an app. The pricing varies based on the level of service opted for, the number of users, etc., and can be paid monthly or annually.
Some of the most common SaaS apps that we use daily are the email programs that we access through a browser, such as Gmail and Office 365 (Outlook).
Advantages of SaaS
Traditionally software companies have all sold their software as products. Customers used to purchase the software for a one-time fee and load it onto their systems. The responsibility to meet and maintain the hardware requirements rested on the customer. In instances where hardware had to be upgraded, customers had to purchase a newer version of the software that pairs with the new hardware. All this has changed with SaaS. Below we list a few advantages and disadvantages of the SaaS model.
Flexibility: The fact that you can access the software from any device connected to the internet makes it fully flexible compared to the traditional model. You don’t have any location restrictions in SaaS. You can access the software from anywhere in the world and continue to do your work without any hiccups.
Scalability: SaaS models are highly scalable. At each stage of your business, you can access just the required, right amount of features and go all out when you decide to scale up. You do not have to worry about purchasing new hardware, servers and upgrading networks, etc. All you have to do is opt for the next tier of features and services depending on the number of users who require access to the software.
No upgrades required: With SaaS, upgrades to the software are automatically available to the customers. It means that you are continuously working on the latest version of the software. The cost and effort associated with this kind of service are much lower than the traditional model, where you have to buy new versions whenever there is a software upgrade happening.
Less time required to get started: In SaaS, the software does not have to be installed and configured and is immediately ready to use. It is a much faster and low-cost entry option for businesses compared to the time and effort required to develop your software, maintain and upgrade it.
Cost savings: Most of the SaaS companies provide tiered packages depending on your business requirements. Moreover, the application is hosted on a shared multi-tenant space. This reduces the license cost, making it more affordable compared to the traditional model. Security and safety of data: SaaS service providers follow strict security protocols and undergo thorough security audits to ensure that the customers data is safe and secure at all times. They usually invest more in security, maintenance and back-up technology compared to small businesses.
Disadvantages of SaaS
Reduced control: You have better control when the software and programs are hosted on-premise rather than on the cloud. Moreover, since SaaS solutions are delivered through the web, you need to ensure 24×7 access to the internet. Otherwise, you may lose access to your software or data, which can be detrimental and costly.
Slower speed: SaaS solutions may run at slower speeds than on-premise applications, which might affect the performance of your online store for example. Concerns about data security: When you opt for a SaaS model, you are giving a third-party service provider access to sensitive data. You should check on identity and access management clauses before you sign up with the service provider.
SaaS Platforms in eCommerce
If you are looking to expand your brick-and-mortar retail store and establish a presence online, then the first question that you will encounter is which eCommerce platform to adopt. The software you choose will determine the scalability of your business, the features it has, and how well you manage your online store – its marketing, sales, and other operations. When it comes to eCommerce platforms, there are two routes available for merchants. One is Open Source and the other is SaaS platforms.
Open-Source eCommerce platforms are highly flexible – you can modify almost all aspects of the code. They are most suited for large enterprises that have unique requirements and a large IT team who can design and maintain their store. Within open-source, you have cloud solutions and on-premise solutions. With on-premise solutions, the platform updates and patches require manual implementation. You will also be fully responsible for the security of your store and will have to spend on additional applications and integrations to make your store fully functional.
SaaS eCommerce platforms are cloud-hosted and remove the complexities associated with open-source platforms. Hosting, technology updates, security, etc., are taken care of by the service provider. They are easy to use and reduce your time-to-market considerably. BigCommerce, Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Magento Commerce are all SaaS platforms.
If you are looking to develop an eCommerce site on a SaaS platform, connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +359 898 707 570 / +1 877 787 2248