Did you know the number of US online shoppers is expected to rise to nearly 285 million by 2025?
With this significant growth in the ecommerce industry, it’s crucial for an ecommerce business to have a robust online platform to manage its operations.
The ecommerce platform you choose must have the functionality to handle tons of customers, scale alongside your business, and provide exceptional customer service to all the shopaholics! 😉
Fortunately, a SaaS ecommerce platform can help you do all that and more.
But what’s an ecommerce SaaS platform?
In this article, we’ll answer this and other questions like how it’s different from other ecommerce platforms, the basic functions of SaaS ecommerce platforms, and how you can benefit from them.
We’ll also highlight the top 5 SaaS ecommerce platforms and a few limitations of SaaS ecommerce platforms.
This Article Contains
- What Is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Ecommerce?
- How Is Ecommerce SaaS Different from Open source and Traditional Ecommerce?
- 3 Basic Functions of SaaS Ecommerce Platforms
- 4 Key Benefits of An Ecommerce SaaS Platform
- 5 Popular Ecommerce SaaS Platforms
- 3 Limitations of Ecommerce SaaS Platforms
Let’s get started.
What Is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Ecommerce?
A Software-as-a-Service ecommerce platform lets you sell your products online with the help of a SaaS provider.
These service providers offer SaaS software applications that you can access over the internet, across all web browsers, from a centrally hosted platform.
You don’t have to install any SaaS software or applications on your computer. The SaaS provider even manages the platform’s security, updates, and data storage.
How does the pricing work?
Based on the features provided, a SaaS ecommerce solution offers various tiers of subscriptions like:
- A basic plan suitable for a small online business with limited features
- A mid-tier plan with increased customization options and more comprehensive support
- An enterprise plan for large companies.
Now you may be wondering:
How do SaaS ecommerce platforms differ from traditional ones?
How Is Ecommerce SaaS Different from Open source and Traditional Platforms?
Open source ecommerce platforms give store owners complete access to their source code, whereas traditional ecommerce platforms are installed locally on computers and managed by users.
Still confused? 🤔
Here are a few key pointers to help you differentiate between the platforms:
- SaaS: Users typically need little to no technical knowledge when using a Saas ecommerce platform. These platforms usually have built-in features and drag-and-drop functionality.
- Open source: Users need some knowledge of the open source platform’s programming language to build an ecommerce store.
- Traditional: Users typically require some level of technical expertise to set up and manage these platforms, which may lead to errors in configuration or implementation.
- SaaS: Customizations may be slightly limited. But users can still customize through integrations and extensions.
- Open-source: As users have full access to the source code, they can manipulate the code and customize features.
- Traditional: Users may need extensive technical knowledge to customize traditional ecommerce platforms. They may also need to test the ecommerce website to ensure new customizations don’t hinder the site’s performance.
- SaaS: SaaS ecommerce service providers are responsible for your platform’s security.
- Open-source: Users need to manage their site’s security measures and updates.
- Traditional: Similar to an open source ecommerce platform, users are responsible for monitoring potential security threats.
- SaaS: Most platforms offer monthly or annual subscriptions to access their SaaS software. SaaS ecommerce platforms may cost around $20–$30 per month.
- Open-source: Open-source platforms are usually free to download and use.
- Traditional: Can be expensive due to additional fees for servers, add-ons, and other customization features.
Next, let’s find out some features of a SaaS ecommerce solution.
3 Basic Functions of SaaS Ecommerce Platforms
Although there are four different SaaS business models, most SaaS ecommerce platforms wrap these three core features into a single platform:
1. Managed Cloud Hosting
In a managed cloud hosting setup, service providers share access to ecommerce platforms and resources, like databases, hardware, and software tools, through multiple servers.
This means if a server fails, your ecommerce website won’t go down, as data from the other servers will keep your website running.
And if that…
…..here are some other benefits offered by managed cloud hosting:
- Content delivery network for better performance.
- Production, staging, and development environments.
- Storage and backup facilities
2. Ecommerce Website Launch
With a SaaS ecommerce solution, you don’t have to worry about building codes or designing websites from scratch. Instead, most SaaS platforms offer ready-to-use templates that you can customize to suit your brand style.
These platforms also offer product information and inventory management, which helps you upload products in bulk, categorize them into catalogs, and add product details.
But that’s not all!
Another great feature of a hosted ecommerce solution is that it supports international shipping and payment gateways like PayPal or Stripe — enabling your customers to shop from anywhere in the world.
3. Ecommerce Back-Office Operation
To optimize the time a SaaS company spends on time-consuming back-end processes, a SaaS model offers:
- Drag and drop content builder to easily design your online store.
- SEO suite to optimize your ecommerce website.
- Order and return management for an organized and efficient shipping process
- And more.
Still not convinced?
Let’s check out four reasons why you should choose an ecommerce SaaS platform if you’re going to be in the ecommerce industry.
4 Key Benefits of An Ecommerce SaaS Platform
From affordability to easy-to-use features, here are some ways a SaaS ecommerce platform can help your online store:
1. Flexible Platform Features
SaaS ecommerce platforms have many built-in features and integrations you can use to accommodate more customers and provide exceptional customer service.
These features help you set up ecommerce platforms within minutes — without the help of IT teams.
For example, if you wish to add an AI chatbox to assist your customers in shopping, you can easily integrate your SaaS platform with a chatbox app.
But that’s not all.
You can also add more sales channels or servers. This may come in handy when dealing with increased traffic, especially during flash sales.
Meaning, you don’t have to rebuild your SaaS platform or fry your brain 🍳looking for another one when your business strategies change.
2. Easy Maintenance
A SaaS ecommerce software provider hosts and maintains the solution for you, which means you don’t have to spend time and resources on maintenance.
The best part?
The SaaS provider is responsible for bug fixes, software updates, and more. And if you face any issues, most SaaS providers also have an excellent support team to help you.
All you’ve to do is focus on your business while your ecommerce SaaS software provider maintains and runs your platform.
3. Low Set-up Costs
Traditional ecommerce systems generally require larger investments or a dedicated development team to manage customizations and ongoing maintenance.
On the other hand, SaaS ecommerce platforms can be deployed quickly thanks to their cloud-based infrastructure and pre-built integrations with third-party tools and services.
Plus, you won’t have to worry about unexpected costs since a SaaS platform operates on predictable subscription models. This also makes budget planning a breeze!
4. Superior Security and PCI Compliance
It’s essential for an online business to protect its customers’ payment information from data theft and misuse.
To achieve this, SaaS ecommerce platform providers ensure compliance with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards.
PCI compliance helps business owners build trust with their customers, as it shows their commitment to protecting sensitive information, such as credit card details, names, and addresses. This also creates a safer and more reliable online shopping experience.
That being said, let’s check out a few of the most popular ecommerce software you can use to get your online business up and running in no time.
5 Popular Ecommerce SaaS Platforms
Different ecommerce businesses have varying business needs, so it’s essential to choose an ecommerce platform that meets your requirements and budget.
Here are a few SaaS ecommerce platforms to consider:
1. Shopify Plus
Shopify Plus offers stellar e commerce platform performance, headless commerce functionalities, and cross-team platform management for all types of retailers.
- Import large product inventory in bulk.
- Connect to other platforms like Etsy and eBay and enables multi-channel ecommerce.
- Use Shopify Payment or integrate with other payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, etc.
Shopify Plus offers a free trial for 3 days. The paid plans of the hosted ecommerce solution start from $25/month.
- G2: 4.4/5 (375+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.8/5 (95+ reviews)
2. Oracle Commerce
Oracle Commerce is a SaaS solution that offers self-service ordering, personalized buyer interactions, and manages products and catalogs.
- Track all ecommerce business activities with its all-in-one activity dashboard.
- Deliver accurate search results and product listings through AI and guided navigation.
- Build multiple websites from a single subscription.
Pricing is available on request.
- G2: 3.9/5 (150+ reviews)
- Capterra: 3.8/5 (5 reviews)
3. Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a SaaS solution that provides customer relationship and inventory management systems for electronic commerce businesses.
- Replace third-party extensions and manual data analysis with Salesforce Einstein — an AI system that helps organizations make data-informed decisions and enhance customer experience.
- Manage marketing initiatives across multiple platforms.
- Access new updates and features through the administration panel.
Salesforce Commerce offers a free plan. Its paid plan pricing is available upon request.
- G2: 4.2/5 (410+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (20+ reviews)
WooCommerce is an ecommerce solution designed for small to large-scale retailers that use WordPress-based websites.
- Offer various shipping options like a pickup from nearby places, local delivery, or international shipping.
- Gain actionable insights through its built-in analytics feature.
- Provide painless refunds with Simplify Commerce, PayPal, and other supported payment gateways.
The WooCommerce plugin is free for users on any paid WordPress plan. Its paid plan prices are available upon request.
- G2: 4.4/5 (1050+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (815+ reviews)
BigCommerce helps retailers set up and manage their mobile and online stores, handle payments and currency conversions.
- Edit sites using BigCommerce’s drag-and-drop feature.
- Capture more customers on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest integrations.
- Store information securely in its data centers and backup data centers.
BigCommerce offers a 15-day free trial, and its paid plans start from $39/user per month.
- G2: 4.2/5 (445+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.4/5 (280+ reviews)
However, an ecommerce SaaS platform also comes with a few disadvantages. Let’s check them out next.
3 Limitations of SaaS Ecommerce Platforms
Here are a few shortcomings of a SaaS ecommerce solution:
1. Lack of Customizations
Most SaaS ecommerce platforms come with pre-built themes, tools, and features, which are simple and user-friendly. Although this may help small to medium-scale store owners set up online stores quickly, it may be restrictive for some businesses.
Enterprise business owners may not be able to customize the e commerce platform fully according to their business needs. Also, some platforms don’t allow users to edit their websites once it’s live.
2. Doesn’t Focus on B2B Ecommerce Needs
Most SaaS ecommerce platforms pay more attention to ‘business-to-consumer’ needs.
As a result, these platforms focus on managing customers, shipping, distribution, and other critical operations. They might ignore essential B2B ecommerce business needs, like client evaluation, discount valuation, vendor payment terms, and more.
3. May Face Connectivity Issues
SaaS ecommerce platforms are web-hosted. So, businesses using a SaaS ecommerce platform must have a stable and reliable internet connection to access and use the platform.
Without internet connectivity, business owners can’t process orders and transactions, leading to lost sales and a poor customer experience.
Amplify Your Sales with Feature-Rich SaaS Ecommerce Platforms!
If you want to reach the widest audience possible, then a well-optimized e commerce platform is your solution.
A quick way to flag off your ecommerce operations is through a SaaS ecommerce platform. These platforms offer flexible features, easy maintenance, and automatic updates.
However, simply starting an ecommerce business may not get you customers. You need to let your potential customers know your ecommerce platform exists too!
And one way to do that is to rank sky-high on Google search results 📈
Contact an SEO expert at Startup Voyager to create powerful SEO strategies and enticing content to skyrocket organic traffic to your ecommerce platform!