In the fast-changing world of ecommerce you will want to be sure you make the right choice for your business. Your decision will affect your staff and the resources you will need to manage and maintain your site, so here are some things to think about.
SaaS vs on-premises ecommerce
All websites must be hosted on servers so they can be accessed by visitors through their web browsers. You will need to decide where your servers should be.
Your ecommerce software and hosting are included in a SaaS solution, often managed by the same provider, and you will pay a monthly fee. Cloudfy is an example of a SaaS ecommerce platform.
In contrast, with an on-premises solution your ecommerce software runs on servers either at your premises or on the servers of an external hosting provider. If you choose a platform such as WooCommerce for WordPress, for example, this is the approach you would take.
The main difference between these options is how involved you will be in keeping your site running.
Pros and Cons
Factors that might affect your choice will include your business size, budget, and your business goals.
SaaS – your software, hosting and maintenance are all included and you will regularly receive updates that are automatically implemented by your provider, so you will always have the latest version.
This approach is becoming increasingly popular as a single solution for your ecommerce needs. With a wide range of ecommerce functions available out of the box your site can be up and running quickly. Because SaaS platforms are optimized for ecommerce, they deliver good performance and fast load times for your customers. Available for monthly payments it’s easy to manage your budget and achieve a lower total cost of ownership.
While some businesses might feel that their scope for customization is limited if they choose a SaaS solution, providers like Cloudfy give you in-built flexibility for design, integrations and extensions and a powerful application programming interface (API) that will allow you to create a site to suit your needs. SaaS ecommerce is also a scalable solution that can grow with your business so you don’t need to pay for resources that you don’t yet need.
With updates, maintenance and server configuration all handled for you there’s no need for high-level technical skills in house. Easy to use dashboards will mean customer service, sales and marketing teams can all be involved in running your site.
If you have any queries, you will have the support of your provider’s customer service team.
Keeping your data safe and your customers’ information secure has never been more important and your provider will be payment card industry (PCI) compliant and will probably operate with much higher levels of data security.
On-premises – you will own and control your resources, even when you use a third-party hosting provider. You will need to have a good idea of the amount of traffic you will handle to be sure you have enough capacity. Unless you’re using an open source option you will also pay a license fee for your ecommerce platform.
You will manage the performance and delivery of your site which can be very attractive, depending on the scale and complexity of your business. With good in-house expertise for your networking, systems administration, and coding you can make your own customizations and manage performance to meet your needs precisely.
However, if there are any problems you will need to resolve them and your team will be responsible for maintenance, updates, and replacing equipment when needed. While you control performance this will only be to the limits of your own infrastructure or your hosting provider. You will also need to take responsibility for making sure you have adequate back-up arrangements and disaster recovery plans in case your servers fail.
You will also be responsible for the security and compliance of your site, including implementing security patches and updates from your platform provider.
Making your choice
SaaS is a good choice for lower infrastructure costs and for businesses that don’t want to have high-level technical expertise in-house to manage maintenance and security. Instead, you can focus on high quality content and customer experience. If you have developers and IT experts you can use their skills to customize and enhance your platform with the support of your provider.
If you have a complex business, a larger budget, and stringent security requirements an on-premises solution is worth considering. For businesses needing a lot of customization and control this might once have been the only option but modern SaaS solutions now offer much more flexibility.
Before you make your decision find out more about how a SaaS ecommerce solution like Cloudfy can meet your needs. Book your free demo today.