SaaS eCommerce

SaaS eCommerce Platform: Features & Benefits to Look For in an eCommerce SaaS Solution

Updated February 20  |  7 min read
Key Takeaways
  • Features of SaaS eCommerce solutions include storefront customization for online stores to reflect brand identity, product catalog management for efficient inventory management, secure payment gateways to ensure seamless transactions, order and shipping management for streamlined operations, and customer relationship management (CRM) tools to enhance customer interactions.
  • The best SaaS eCommerce platforms provide promotional and marketing tools to drive sales, as well as analytics and reporting for valuable insights into business performance.
  • SaaS eCommerce delivers cost-effectiveness with affordable subscription plans, scalability to accommodate online business growth, accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection, automatic updates and maintenance, and integration capabilities with third-party tools.
  • SaaS eCommerce platforms also prioritize data security to protect customer and business information, while providing support for international sales and multiple currencies.
  • SaaS eCommerce empowers online store owners with efficient management tools, increased flexibility, and improved experiences with customer relationship management tools, leading to growth and success in the competitive online marketplace.
ECommerce SaaS solutions from an open-source eCommerce platform are free to download.

Finding a Unique eCommerce Solution for Your Business

Although cloud-based eCommerce has been around for the last decade, only recently it actually became widely available across retailers and a mainstream term in our vocabulary.

In this article, we will revisit some basic terminology and explain the benefits of cloud-based or SaaS eCommerce which make them such a popular option.

SaaS: A Definition

What does “cloud” or “SaaS” eCommerce mean? Starting from the “eCommerce” term refers to electronic commerce or internet commerce and is, simply put, online shopping. More elaborately, eCommerce is defined as the activity of purchasing or providing goods and/or services in an online store for a set (or sometimes negotiable) price.

ECommerce does not only refer to B2C commerce (clients buying from businesses), but it can also refer to B2B (B2B eCommerce definition: businesses buying products or services from other businesses).

Similarly, eCommerce does not only refer to direct retail services, but it also includes online auctions (think about e-Bay) and online markets (where buyers and suppliers can interact and trade with each other).

The best eCommerce SaaS platform with Adobe Commerce for an online store.

The Importance of Cloud-Based Platforms for eCommerce

“Cloud” and “SaaS” eCommerce refer to novel ways of conducting shopping online. It might sound trivial, but it is not so straightforward.

Before the introduction of clouds, web shopping was conducted via on-premise storage, meaning that a company would buy a server with specific storage space, place it in their headquarters, and hope that it would a) be enough to support the business needs and b) not break down, nor need technical support.

With web hosting, this server would host all the data and develop eCommerce websites and shopping features and everything would be run by this one unit.

However, with increased traffic the need for storage space increased as well, meaning that the on-premise storage options would not be sustainable, not only from a maintenance cost perspective but also with regard to storage scalability and performance speed.

Because of this, other options needed to be developed, and data storage on a cloud was born. Cloud storage is a remote storage facility run by a third-party provider, where business owners can buy storage space and bandwidth, and sometimes data access with web hosting.

Besides being used for eCommerce, cloud platforms have found vast applications in organizations handling large volumes of data, such as universities and research facilities. Also, nowadays, everyone can get their own “little cloud” when signing up for a Google account.

Cloud eCommerce platform for Saas online store.

Is SaaS Different from "the Cloud?"

“SaaS” stands for “Software as a Service” and, with regards to eCommerce, it refers to software licensing options that allow easy access to data stored on the cloud. What it really means, is that companies can subscribe to a package offered by SaaS providers and they do not have to worry about server maintenance, storage issues, software glitches, backups, and other common tech problems, as the third-party owner is responsible for the maintenance of the cloud and the SaaS eCommerce software.

It can be argued that investing in a SaaS platform is like a one-stop-shop, where with one click the retailer can have their online store set up, in a hassle-free manner. The majority of SaaS eCommerce providers offer highly customizable and variable products, ensuring that the needs of the customers are met through frequently updated plugins, extensions, and new applications.

Examples of Cloud-Based and SaaS Platforms

Now that we explained what a cloud-based or SaaS eCommerce platform is, we shall provide some examples of widely used providers, to give context to the theory. Until recently, the most widely used and reliable providers for eCommerce platforms were Shopify and BigCommerce. Emerging candidates have entered the cloud arena fighting for a piece of the pie to provide onlines stores.

Brands such as Magento Go, NetSuite, Demandware, Big Cartel, Volusion, Venda, Goodsie, and others are offering their eCommerce SaaS solutions to a great variety of customers. Each platform tries to differentiate from the others, by offering services relevant to a specific clientele, for example, Big Cartel is usually behind artistic ventures, whereas Demandware is preferred among large and established companies.

Top Benefits of Cloud-Based and SaaS eCommerce Platforms

There are several other benefits to the cloud and SaaS eCommerce platforms other than larger data allowance than on-premise platforms.


As it was mentioned earlier, cloud platforms offer remote access to a server owned by a third-party company. This means that the customers of this company, which are the businesses in need of a platform, do not have to care for the mundane chore of maintaining the server and the software, fixing bugs, caring for updates, or anything other related.

This is especially true if the business owners are looking into signing up with an eCommerce platform does not have a strong IT team with knowledge of the sector, so it's better to opt out for a provider which will do all of the “housekeeping.”

Ready-to-Go eCommerce Solution

The role of platform providers is to provide products already developed and ready to go, saving time and money for the customer. The majority of offered products are highly customizable and easy to functionalize, so customers can build the platform they always dreamt of at the click of their fingers. While usually building an eCommerce platform could take months, using those “Lego” eCommerce solutions a final product can be put together much faster.


Another important benefit of cloud and platforms compared to on-premise options is scalability. The idea that led to the birth of the cloud was the need for more storage on the go, which was not possible with in-house servers. However, using a cloud server allows for on-demand storage and bandwidth expansion, helping the eCommerce business deal with increased traffic on the go and expanded product management.


Security can be a bit of a catch-22, as security breaches can lead to major reputation and financial damage for a company, regardless of where the leak occurred. However, in the case of cloud and platforms, the platform provider bares the responsibility of data security and PCI compliance, not the customer company. The provider is responsible to keep updating their system and fixing bugs that could compromise security, a two-level trust: between them and the customer company, and between the customer company and their clients.

Cost of eCommerce Software

There are definitely some minimum costs when shopping for a SaaS platform, and the cost increases with add-ons or special features. However, the cost is generally lower compared to building an custom eCommerce platform from scratch, as it does not include development or maintenance costs.

Web development for SaaS platforms.



SaaS eCommerce, or Software-as-a-Service eCommerce, is a cloud-based model that provides businesses with a platform to manage and operate their online stores. It eliminates the need for businesses to develop and maintain their own eCommerce software infrastructure.

Instead, they can subscribe to SaaS platforms that offer a range of features, such as storefront customization, inventory management, marketing help, secure payment gateways, order processing, and analytics.

SaaS eCommerce enables store owners to easily set up and manage their online stores while enjoying benefits like scalability, cost-effectiveness, accessibility, and enhanced data security.


Selecting the right eCommerce Software as a Service (SaaS) provider is a pivotal decision for any online business. It lays the foundation for the entire online store, affecting everything from user experience to backend operations. To make an informed choice, consider the following key factors when evaluating potential SaaS providers:

  • Scalability and Performance: A robust eCommerce platform should be able to handle increased traffic and sales without compromising speed or stability. Ensure that the provider can accommodate your business growth seamlessly.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The platform should have an intuitive, easy-to-use interface for both administrators and customers. This enhances user experience and reduces the learning curve for your team. Drag-and-drop design is also welcome with the CMS.
  • Mobile Responsiveness: With an increasing number of shoppers using mobile devices, your site must be optimized for various screen sizes and platforms. Check if the provider offers responsive design templates.
  • Customization and Flexibility: Look for a platform that allows for customization to reflect your brand's unique identity. The ability to add and modify features, templates, and functionalities is essential for tailoring the site to your specific needs.
  • Payment Integration: Ensure that the provider supports a wide range of payment integration options. This enables seamless transactions and caters to various customer preferences.
  • Security and Compliance: Security is paramount in eCommerce. Verify that the platform is PCI DSS compliant and employs robust security measures to protect sensitive customer data.
  • SEO Capabilities: The platform should provide tools and features that facilitate search engine optimization. This includes customizable URLs, meta tags, and sitemap generation to enhance visibility on search engines.
  • Inventory Management: Efficiently tracking and managing inventory is crucial for preventing stockouts or overstock situations. ECommerce SaaS companies should offer tools for real-time inventory tracking, low stock alerts, and easy product management.
  • Integration Capabilities: Ensure that the SaaS platform can seamlessly integrate with other tools and systems you may use, such as CRM software, email marketing tools, social media integration, and accounting software.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Comprehensive analytics and reporting features on SaaS platforms help you track key performance indicators (KPIs) and gain insights into customer behavior. Look for a platform that offers detailed reporting on sales, traffic, and customer demographics.
  • Customer Support and Training: Reliable customer support is crucial, especially in the event of technical issues or questions. Check the availability of support channels (email, chat, phone) and the responsiveness of the provider.
  • Cost and Pricing Structure: Consider the pricing model offered by SaaS platforms. It's important to understand the cost structure, including any additional fees for add-ons, transaction fees, or tiered pricing based on sales volume.
  • Reviews and Recommendations: Research the eCommerce SaaS platform provider's reputation by reading customer reviews, case studies, and seeking recommendations from industry peers. This can offer valuable insights into the platform's performance and customer satisfaction.

Choosing the right eCommerce SaaS provider is a critical step in building a successful online business. By considering factors such as scalability, customization, security, and support, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your eCommerce business goals and sets the stage for sustainable growth. Remember that a powerful SaaS eCommerce platform can be a powerful asset in establishing a strong online presence and driving revenue.


SaaS eCommerce platforms offer key features that streamline online store management. These include customizable storefronts for branding, robust product catalog management, inventory management tracking, and management, secure payment gateways for seamless transactions, order and shipping management, CRM tools to enhance customer interactions, promotional and marketing tools (such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud) to drive sales, and analytics and reporting for valuable insights.

These features empower businesses to create an engaging online shopping experience, efficiently handle inventory and orders, build customer relationships, and make data-driven decisions to optimize their eCommerce operations.


Using SaaS eCommerce platforms can provide several benefits for businesses, including:

  • Cost-effectiveness: SaaS models often have affordable subscription plans, eliminating the need for significant upfront investments in hardware or software.
  • Scalability: SaaS eCommerce platforms allow businesses to easily scale their operations as their needs grow, without worrying about infrastructure limitations.
  • Accessibility: Being cloud-based, eCommerce Saas solutions can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing businesses to manage their online stores remotely.
  • Updates and maintenance: The best SaaS eCommerce platforms handle software updates and maintenance, relieving businesses from the burden of managing these tasks themselves.
  • Integration capabilities: The best eCommerce SaaS platform will offer integration with third-party tools and services, such as accounting software or marketing automation tools (i.e., Salesforce Commerce Cloud), to enhance efficiency and productivity.
  • Data security: These platforms typically employ robust security measures to protect sensitive customer and business data, ensuring a safe shopping experience.

Yes, the top SaaS eCommerce platforms are designed to support multiple sales channels. These platforms provide businesses with the flexibility to sell their products not only through their own online store but also across various other channels. This includes popular online marketplaces, social media platforms, mobile apps, and even a physical brick-and-mortar store.

By leveraging the omnichannel capabilities of software-as-a-service platforms, businesses can reach a wider audience, increase brand visibility, and maximize sales opportunities. They can handle inventory management, orders, and customer data centrally, ensuring a seamless and consistent shopping experience for customers across all sales channels.


Absolutely! SaaS eCommerce platforms are equipped to handle international sales and support multiple currencies for online stores. The eCommerce software offers features such as multilingual storefronts, automatic currency conversion, and localized tax and shipping options. Businesses can easily expand their reach and cater to customers from different regions around the world.

Software-as-a-service platforms ensure a smooth international shopping experience by enabling businesses to display prices in local currencies, calculate accurate taxes and shipping costs, and provide localized payment options. This capability allows businesses to tap into global markets, increase their customer base, and seamlessly conduct cross-border transactions.


Using a SaaS platforms has several advantages, such as faster setup, lower initial costs, and reduced technical maintenance. However, there are also disadvantages associated with choosing SaaS over a custom-made eCommerce platform. Here are some of the key disadvantages to consider:

  • Limited Customization: Service platforms often have limitations in terms of customization. While they may offer a range of templates and themes, you might find it challenging to tailor the platform to your specific business needs. Custom functionality or unique design elements may be difficult or impossible to implement, unless you seek out a SaaS single-tenant option.
  • Dependency on Third-party Providers: These platforms rely on third-party providers for hosting, infrastructure, and updates. This means that you are dependent on the SaaS provider's reliability, security practices, and ability to deliver consistent performance. If the provider experiences downtime or security breaches, your site could be negatively affected.
  • Data Security and Privacy Concerns: Storing sensitive data on a SaaS platform might raise security and privacy concerns. You may have less control over how data is handled, which could lead to compliance challenges with data protection regulations. Working with a skilled developer can alleviate these concerns.
  • Long-term Costs: While such platforms typically have lower initial costs, the long-term costs can accumulate over time. Subscription fees, transaction fees, and additional charges for certain features or services can add up, potentially surpassing the cost of developing and maintaining a custom solution in the long run.
  • Lack of Competitive Differentiation: Software-as-a-service platforms are used by multiple businesses, which can lead to a lack of competitive differentiation. Your own eCommerce website might end up looking similar to other sites using the same platform, making it harder to stand out in a crowded market. Again, using a single-tenant option can help differentiate your business from other businesses' eCommerce websites.
  • Limited Integration Possibilities: Platforms often offer integrations with popular tools and services, but you might encounter limitations when trying to integrate with specific third-party systems that are crucial for your business operations (such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud). The right developer can help you get around these limitations.
  • Vendor Lock-In: Once you've invested time and effort into setting up your site on a specific SaaS platform, migrating to a different platform can be complex and costly. This can result in vendor lock-in, where you're tied to the SaaS provider's ecosystem and technologies.
  • Inflexibility in Software Updates: Service platforms typically push updates to all users simultaneously. While updates can bring new features and improvements, they might also introduce changes that are not aligned with your business processes or preferences. Finding a single-tenant option can avoid many of these problems.
  • Loss of Control: With a custom-made eCommerce platform, you have full control over the software, infrastructure, and hosting. With a SaaS solution, you relinquish some of this control to the provider, which can lead to a feeling of reduced ownership and agency.

Ultimately, the decision between SaaS platforms and a custom-made solution depends on your business's unique needs, budget, and long-term goals. In most instances, choosing a single-tenant SaaS can get you the best of both worlds.


Many SaaS eCommerce platforms offer migration tools or services to facilitate the transition of your existing eCommerce store. These tools allow you to transfer product data, customer information, and order history from your current platform to the SaaS platform seamlessly.

While the specific migration process may vary depending on the platforms involved, SaaS eCommerce providers often provide documentation and support to ensure a smooth transfer of an eCommerce store. It's advisable to check with the specific platform you intend to migrate to, as they may have specific guidelines or resources to assist you in moving your online store to their eCommerce solution.


Yes, several open-source eCommerce platforms—including SaaS solutions—are free to download and use. Popular options include WooCommerce (for WordPress), Magento Open Source, PrestaShop, and OpenCart. These platforms provide a foundation for building online stores without the cost of proprietary software.

Users can customize the code, access a community of developers, and benefit from a range of plugins and extensions from the SaaS provider. While the core software is free, users may incur costs for additional features, themes, or support services. Open-source eCommerce platforms empower businesses to create and manage online stores efficiently, fostering a collaborative and flexible approach to online commerce.


SaaS eCommerce platforms are highly suitable for small businesses. They offer cost-effective SaaS solutions without the need for extensive technical expertise or large upfront investments. These platforms often provide user-friendly interfaces, pre-built templates, and easy customization options, allowing small businesses to quickly set up and manage an online store with ease.

SaaS platforms also offer scalability, enabling small businesses to grow their operations as needed without worrying about infrastructure limitations. Moreover, these eCommerce solutions typically provide ongoing software updates, maintenance, and customer support, freeing up valuable time and resources for small businesses to focus on their core operations and growth.


Choosing the best SaaS eCommerce solutions for your business requires careful consideration of several factors. Start by assessing your specific business requirements, such as the size of your catalog, desired customization options, integration needs, and budget constraints. Research different platforms and compare their features, scalability, ease of use, customer support, and pricing models. Read customer reviews and seek recommendations from peers or industry experts.

It's also beneficial to take advantage of free trials or demos offered by the platforms to test their functionalities. Ultimately, selecting the right platform involves finding the one that aligns best with your business goals, offers the necessary features, and provides a positive user experience.

Still have questions? Chat with us on the bottom right corner of your screen #NotARobot

Sitefinity developers can make custom widgets for Sitefinity DX.
Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, enterpise SEO, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.