Open Source or SaaS? Before you open an online store, it is worth reading!

Service Business

The first step to opening an e-business is deciding which solution it will be used on. Every entrepreneur should consider the solution that is most beneficial for him. Simple to use SaaS, requiring Open Source? What to consider We advise.

Online stores have become so much part of the online landscape in recent years that they have become quite natural for internet users. However, few people wonder how this structure works. In simple terms - an online store is a website of a trading company that operates on the basis of software that allows you to manage sales, warehouses, products, payments, shipping, marketing and many functions and tools. The company's employees manage the website from the level of the administration panel available only to them.

The online store can be "placed" on your own servers (using free software) and add a number of integrations and payment systems or on servers that belong to a specialized sales platform (subscription system). In the second case, the client immediately receives the necessary tools and integrations in the package.

What is worth knowing?

In order to make a reasonable choice of the solution on which the online store will be built, it is necessary to consider what its needs will be and which platform will be able to meet them. You should consider not only here and now, but also take into account the development opportunities offered by the chosen solution. There are quite a lot of them on the market. So how to wisely choose a sales platform that will allow for smooth and effective sales?

An entrepreneur may choose this type of SaaS (in Poland, for example, IdoSell or Shoplo). These are solutions that comprehensively support users. This model allows you to create a unique appearance of the store, allows you to insert many variants of products on the website, and also offers various types of integration (with couriers and payment systems). However, you should be aware that apparently similar SaaS platforms may differ significantly from each other. For example - IdoSell offers its users a scalable auto solution that adapts to the traffic in the store and helps to maintain liquidity in sales even with very high traffic on the site. Most similar platforms have an infrastructure that customers need to expand as traffic changes (in order to be able to bear the heavy loads on the site).

SaaS

In the case of SaaS, it is worth considering the choice of platform carefully. Many of the solutions available on the market use good-sounding slogans and a nice look to attract customers. Ultimately, however, it turns out that such systems very quickly become too tight for dynamically developing e-shops. So how do you avoid tripping?

First of all, you should read the opinions on the given platforms, compare prices, parameters and available functionalities. You can also take advantage of the free demo versions they provide. Thanks to this, you can check what possibilities (integration, ready-made and personalized graphic templates, tools, prices in sales systems and courier companies, fulfillment and dropshipping system, omnichannel option) have a given offer.

Online store in the subscription system is actually the easiest option that allows you to build a complete store in a short time. All you need to do is visit the website of the selected platform, register and take advantage of the experience of professionals who will create a store according to the seller's needs.

What are the advantages of SaaS:

  • Low fee

  • Quick start

  • Predictable costs

  • Introducing changes in line with trends and legal requirements

  • Technical support

Defects:

  • Many platforms only give you basic options

  • There may be customization issues

Open Source

On the other hand, Open Source are platforms that allow you to build a basic store on your own server. In order for it to be adapted to the merchant's needs, external modules and plugs must be attached to it. The seller has at his disposal "blocks" from which he can build a store. To put them into a meaningful whole, the entrepreneur must have the appropriate knowledge or hire a programmer who will be able to create a functional store and fix potential defects. Additionally, Open Source solutions require external graphics and SEO knowledge. It's also good to have knowledge about marketing and social media. Despite the fact that in theory the "engine" of the store is free, in the summary you have to pay a lot for integrations, plugins, specialist services, cover the costs of hosting maintenance and ensure the security of the entire infrastructure. (these costs are often unpredictable).

The most popular Open Source platform is WooCommerce. This solution is targeted mainly at small and medium-sized stores. It offers a lot of plugins and payment integrations, but it does not work for sellers who want to grow their business and increase the amount of the offered assortment. The platform that responds to the needs of these bigger players is Magento.It is also a tool for logistics and shipping management as well as analytics and diagnostics.

Open Source is only a seemingly free solution. It requires a lot of knowledge and configuration specialists. However, it is good for implementing innovative and highly individual projects.

Benefits:

  • Possibility to adjust to individual needs

  • The trader owns the code

Defects

  • Connecting modules independently and negotiating terms with service providers (e.g. couriers, payment providers)

  • Expensive plugins and integrations

  • Less security, vulnerable to hacker attacks

  • Technical knowledge required

  • Maintaining own technical infrastructure

Article author: IdoSell / IAI