Having dealt with several online business owners over the years, we have realised that even though two clients might have the same business model, each client is different and each has a unique set of requirements. Nevertheless, having an online presence has become an imperative for businesses, creating stiff competition among e-commerce portals. Technology developers and agencies are therefore being challenged to come up with something new and different in order to stand out.
As developers and technology evangelists, we always tend to find out a solution that minimizes the time to market and get things rolling. Sometimes, building an online store from scratch is not a viable or timely option, if this is the case, we like to recommend an eCommerce SaaS platforms that sets the groundwork for a scalable portal to be built efficiently.
How Do SaaS Platforms Work?
SaaS is a method of software delivery that allows data to be accessed from any device via an Internet connection and a web browser. The responsibility for hosting and maintaining the servers, databases and coding, however, is in the hands of SaaS service providers. This means you do not have to have an on-premise extensive hardware and software delivery model, nor are you responsible for making changes, fixes, or updates to the software itself.
SaaS allows users to pay an annual or monthly subscription fee, whichhelps to spread your costs out over a longer time. The deployment process is initiated either via user provisioning process of the SaaS provider or can be initiated by a third party managed (hosted) service provider. The most widely used platforms like Shopify, Bigcommerce etc. come with a support system as well. They have already undergone several testing and debugging cycles, thereby making them more reliable than a software developed in-house.
Benefits of Using an eCommerce SaaS Platform
1. Build to Scale
SaaS companies do a lot of R&D behind the platforms they create. They understand that one size fits all doesn’t work when it comes to business. Does your client want to list a thousand products or only a few? Either way, choosing an SaaS platform means you are leaving the headache of renting an additional server to the SaaS service provider, meaning you don’t have to worry about a thing.
2. Cost Efficient
You would never want to burn chunks of dollars to build up a simple feature for your client. And worst you would not want to waste time where in you could have done something more productive. SaaS platforms come with a pay as you go model. This way you can deploy your resources only where needed, and stay within the client’s budget as well.
3. Ready to Use Plug n Play Features
Most Saas platforms are really easy to use. You don’t need to write lines of complex codes to get them to work. Additionally, most of the necessary features like cart checkout, payment gateways, ERP integrations are readily available for you to install wherever required. If your client has some additional requirements, it’s highly likely that you will find those plugins available as well.
4. Upgrades and Updates
You nor your client has to worry about being in sync with the latest technology. If you are using a reliable platform, then the SaaS provider should be rolling out timely updates. These are automated and done without hampering your work.
Consider this as an added bonus of using SaaS platforms. While you may or may not be having in-house design capabilities, many SaaS platforms offer a set of themes you can choose from. Additionally if you are great in theme generation, companies like Shopify even have a provision that allows you to monetising the designs you create
6. Mobile Ready
You don’t need to create a separate technical bandwidth if you want to let your clients online business to be mobile friendly. The best SaaS platforms come pre-ready with mobile commerce implementation and integrations.
There is support staff to remotely assist you in your development and support your clients after their store launches. Plus there are guides and tutorials available so that you or your clients can learn on the go.
Trial: Last but not the least, you are always open for a free trial which we would love to accumulate.
Which SaaS provider should you choose?
As I already mentioned, there are a number of SaaS platforms for your clients to choose from. In the realm of ecommerce, the most common platforms are Shopify, Bigcommerce, Volusion, 3D Cart and Big Cartel. And while all five platforms come with all the benefits of a SaaS solution that we mentioned above, Shopify is a leader in terms of price, ease-of-use, and customizability.
It makes it easy for you and your clients to set up and manage an online business. Store owners can oversee every aspect of their business all from their Shopify dashboard. Adding a product is clear and easy, with fields for titles, descriptions, price, and more. Shopify also allows business owners to sell from many different channels — be it on social media (such as Twitter or Pinterest) or in person using Shopify’s POS system. Through the integrations on the Shopify app store, you can also enable selling across various Indian marketplaces such as Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart etc
Furthermore, great design matters, and Shopify is the clear leader amongst Saas platforms in this respect. They also have a huge offering of apps and add-ons in care your client’s store needs any special functionalities or integrations with logistics, payment gateways etc
Finally, there’s value for money. Solutions like Zepo and Kartrocket are economical upfront, but if you are going to be investing a lot of your time and energy into creating an online store, then there are more factors to be considered. Shopify offers competitive pricing on all its plans and is trusted by 200,000+ merchants globally.
When Should You Opt for In-House Development
Opting for a SaaS platform over in-house development does have the above-mentioned advantages, however, there are some cases where SaaS platforms might not fulfil all of your clients requirements. Below are two such cases:
High Level of Customization
When you need a lot of customization and you want to follow the best practice for your client, then a self-hosted solution is a better option. This is a preferred option when the client has a high budget and wants a bunch of of custom features.
Multiple Back End Systems Integration
In case your client is planning to create a marketplace with high end CRMs and ERPs of different sellers integrated into one, then a dedicated system would be required.
Also, before you close down on a SaaS provider, here are a few things you should consider
- Choose the platform which serves the purpose of your client.
- Consider the exclusivity as you would be no different.
- Flexibility of the options that you are being provided.
- Cost benefit analysis.
- Data center location and downtime.
- Service Level Agreements.
- Security, permissions and password protection.
- Cross Platform Compatibility.
- The level of maturity that your client possess in terms of products and customers.
- The level of direct support you client will get from the SaaS company
About Shopify Partner Program
The Shopify Partner Program is designed to help freelancers and agencies grow. Shopify Partners earn a monthly client revenue share, gain access to exclusive resources, get leads across the globe and are the first to hear about new Shopify features. Sign up here, its free
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