Moving From Open Source to SaaS E-commerce: What You Need to Know

Industry Insight, Partners


We’ve just started a new year and I’m willing to bet you have some pretty big resolutions related to your business. Q1 is a great time to evaluate strategies for improving operational efficiency, reducing your operating costs and growing your sales. It depends on how your business runs, but if your online store is on an open source platform like Magento or WooCommerce, moving to a SaaS platform could be the key to excelling in all of those areas.

What You Get By Moving to a SaaS Ecommerce Platform

Moving to a SaaS ecommerce platform could be the smartest business decision you make this year. Let’s look at why.

More Time to Focus on Growth

Many complex technical tasks that you’re used to doing are now handled for you. You no longer need to worry about managing uptime, site speed, security, app compatibility, installing platform upgrades and many other time consuming tasks. As a result, you’ll have more time to focus on growing your business, increasing the ROI of every hour you spend working.

More Working Capital

If you’re not a developer, there’s a good chance you have an agency on retainer to help with updating and maintaining your site. Depending on the platform, this fee could be thousands of dollars each month. If you move to a SaaS platform, you’ll pay a monthly subscription fee for using the service, but it won’t be nearly as expensive as your retainer fee.

Just think of what you could do with the money you’ve saved: Invest more on marketing, grow your team, invest in a 3PL… the possibilities are practically endless!

Best of Breed Out of the Box

Unlike open source platforms, which have a painful update process, SaaS platforms are automatically updated with new features for you. There’s nothing for you to install. This allows you to take advantage of cutting-edge features and the latest technologies to grow your business or run it more efficiently almost immediately.

What You Give Up By Moving To a SaaS Platform

As we’ve shown, there are tremendous advantages to moving to a SaaS platform, but there are some limitations that should be factored into your decision.

Less Customizability

Open source platforms give you source code access, which allows you to build basically anything you want. SaaS platforms don’t give you this level of access so if you need something highly custom, a SaaS platform may not work for you. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. Some SaaS platforms are more customizable than others. That’s why I think it’s always worth doing research before writing off SaaS just because you think it won’t work for you. You may be able to accomplish your goal through with either native functionality or through a third party app.

Potential Loss of a Critical Integration

If your business depends on a critical integration like a customized ERP or a specific online order management system, you’ll want to ensure it works with the SaaS provider you’re considering. Most are highly extensible, but there’s usually a limit to how deeply third-parties can integrate. For example, if you have a custom ERP set up, you’ll likely experience limitations with the integration that prevent you from configuring things the way that you want.  

Total Control

One of the double-edged swords of open source is that you can have control over every aspect of your store, from the front-end down to the hosting. If you like to tweak and fine tune things, then this is great. But for most businesses, this level of control is not needed and can get in the way of running the business by adding excessive complexity to setting up and running a store.

Is it Worth It?

That really depends on your business. A few years ago, I would’ve said that if you had any custom needs, a SaaS platform wouldn’t work for you. However, SaaS platforms like SalesWarp and Zoey give you the best of both worlds. They combine the flexibility of open source with the ease of use of SaaS and that’s becoming the new norm. There are fewer and fewer situations where you need to go with open source to get the functionality you want and that’s good news for business owners.