There are multiple ways to launch your digital business in 2018. Among all of these ways, plenty of E-Commerce solutions are available to you, including SaaS and Open Source answers to your digital needs and your obligations. You just need to choose the right one, fitting your needs and resources.

Each of these types of  solutions are very different and vary  from each other. As everything, very specific remedies answer specific needs and demand specific abilities. Here are the main differences between these two types of answers for launching your E-Commerce successfully.

Comparing the E-Commerce Solutions

SaaS Solution

Technical knowledge

When you hear “technical knowledge”, you start thinking that you will need the help of a web developer. Luckily for you,  you can launch your website without knowing anything about this field thanks to this useful way of doing. Like this, you are able to minimize your human and financial resources in order to develop your platform.

You can then minimize human and financial resources. This means that you don’t need to hire a freelance web-developer, agency or provider in order to help you with launching your website, for example. As if gaining time and money weren’t solid enough arguments, this way is easy and intuitive to handle. It means, first of all, you can launch your website by yourself, without any help.

Implementing your SaaS Solution

Implementing an online business can be seen as a hard task for someone who has never done a website launching.  Implementing your website thanks to this mean is reliable and fast. If you are in an emergency to launch your E-Commerce, this is your way to go.

Making this E-Commerce solution’s configuration simple avoids digital entrepreneur to lose some time on configuring their website by calling a provider after having  earned some precious time on implementing it. Also, the editor helps you through the whole process.

Specific needs

E-retailers have the ability to adapt their business and internal processes to existing features. Gaining time and automating processes is vital for you and your E-Commerce,  which is why features have to be adapted to you, not the contrary.

These features allow you to tweak and customise your website without going too much into depth into web-development.

Plus, E-Commerce Solutions like Shopify announce an average of 2 300 possible plugins that you can integrate to your website.

Marketing / Graphism

Just as launching your website, marketing and graphism are domains that usually demand skills and knowledge. Besides coming with a lot of awesome and useful features, SaaS comes with default themes. This is another great advantage of it.

Finally, creative changes can be done on your website, you can customise colors, headers and sliders, for example.

Web Hosting / Maintenance

Web Hosting  is essential for your website’s survival. But here is the good news : the Web Hosting (backup and security) part is handled direct by the SaaS editor !

All fees related to maintenance are determined in advance. The editor and you estimate all the costs so you can organise your finances. Plus, this E-Commerce Solution allows you to automate updates, allowing you to concentrate on business-oriented tasks.

Legislation

In the case where you opted for an SaaS, it handles the legislation follow-up. It means that the it updates its conformity regarding the laws’ changes. Like this, you don’t need to keep an eye on the legislation.

Data access

Here, a few easy features are available, aiming at speeding the process in order to earn time. Also, in order to keep things simple, exports are non exhaustive. Export tools can differ from the operating system you use (Windows / OSX / Linux) to the programs you use. Be sure to be conform with your SaaS export formats. 

Cost

A website launch and maintenance will cost you money, whatever E-Commerce Solution you are going to opt for. As mentioned higher, monthly invoice is established as soon as you launch your E-Commerce. This allows you to know your expenses in advance and foresee your finance months before. They also will take commissions on your sales. It is a good way for them to perceive regular incomes and a good way for E-retailers to spread their expenses.

Open Source Solution

Technical knowledge

Installment and configuration of your E-Commerce is more difficult in this case than on the SaaS case. If you don’t have any knowledge in the web-development field, you will probably need the help of an expert

Web-development skills are not the only skills required for launching your digital business only an Open Source Solution.

Implementation

Implementing your website by choosing this way of doing instead of the SaaS one is way more technical. Why ? Because there are a lot more features available. This is why getting an expert’s advice (if you are not one yourself) can be a great idea. This kind of installation relies a lot on your abilities. But it also relies a lot on your projects, which is great if you need to customize it a lot.

Specific needs

The biggest advantage with this mean is that it’s easily adaptable to job’s needs, and your internal processes.  Active communities often contribute to this type of systems’ development. This helps developers and users in their process and eases everybody’s lives.

Plus, modules can be tweaked and added just as you wish. It can be done by a provider, the editor or by yourself if you have the technical skills.

Marketing / Graphism

Open Source E-Commerce Solutions offer multiple templates via their communities. But, just as everything in this kind of website launching and maintenance, an expert is needed for one-off intervention in the source code. This downside comes with an advantage : you have the liberty to create your own templates and content, without being regulated by patterns, for example. 

Web Hosting / Maintenance

Once installed, Web Hosting, backup and security are an entire part of your work. Updates are included in the maintenance, so you should have some time entirely dedicated to it.

Legislation

Several modules will be available according to the legislation elements you will want to set up. It will be your own task to find and set up the right modules according to your needs.

Data access

You and / or your web developer can have a direct access to the data directly on the server. The downside is that you need to have the technical skills to be able to read this data regarding your used technology.

Cost

Opting for an Open Source Solution represents a budgetary effort at first. The beginning of the project determines the success of your E-Commerce, so it’s your call to decide if you want to invest money on it or not. Contrary to SaaS, you don’t have recurring subscription like invoice and commissions on sales or maintenance costs by default. Get your calculator and see what can be the cheapest for you !

Conclusion : Is there a best E-Commerce solution ?

Finally, both answer to very different needs. Both need a very different set of skills and include different costs. It is your decision to see if you’re opting for one or another, regarding your time and finances.

To compare SaaS and Open Source E-Commerce Solutions, here is ECN’s very own infographic with our best advice and charts comparing the market’s best offers.

Discover our French version of the Infographic

Infographic

How to effectively choose your E-Commerce Solution in 2018