How the eCommerce Industry is Moving to SaaS-based Offerings

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THE TRANSITION OF THE ECOMMERCE INDUSTRY

Where is the eCommerce Industry Transitioning?

The eCommerce industry is a fluid industry, subject to changes, improvements, and transitions, with the aim of offering the best customer experience in two separate fronts. The first one is towards the business which wants to develop an eCommerce platform and trusts their wishes to eCommerce solutions providers. The second front is towards end-users (clients of those businesses), offering great customer service, building rapport and loyalty, and establishing a flourishing eCommerce platform. Like a concept taken out of Inception, with eCommerce solution providers trying to please their customers (businesses), who are trying to please their customers (individuals or other businesses).

Before SaaS offerings were around, the only way to create an eCommerce platform was by doing it on-premise. This offered hands-on experience with building the platform, personalization of the final product, the ease of mind that a business is solely responsible for the safety of their (and their customers’) data, and the ability to act on the product without requesting permission from a provider. However, there are specific drawbacks with on-premise platform options, which led to a transition towards “outsourcing”, as someone could describe Software-as-a-Service-based offerings. Such drawbacks are the considerable cost to develop an eCommerce platform from scratch (IT labor, cost of powerful equipment, time investment), the fear of storage running out when needed the most, and the inability to easily scale up the system to accommodate business expansion or traffic increase. In order to combat these important issues, cloud computing and cloud-based platforms were developed, and within a few years SaaS-based offerings became very popular and trustworthy of leading the development of successful eCommerce platforms in numerous sectors.

Today, there are numerous companies offering SaaS solutions, supporting the eCommerce industry thrive. There is an abundance of choices between well-known megaliths in the sector (such as SalesForce, Oracle, Azure and others) and smaller companies who are trying to enter the market with novel SaaS-based offerings and plans for eCommerce platforms which can fulfill a company’s dreams.

Cloud-based platforms are not preferred only because they can counteract the drawbacks of on-premise solutions. On top of the benefit of reduced cost and easy scalability, they also offer access to networks, products and solutions that would not be available to individuals. They can offer a streamlined approach between back and front end of a business, enhancing customer service and benefiting sales and clientele rapport.

What Do We Need to Know About moving to SaaS-based Offerings?

The Road to SaaS-Based Offering Transition

Some people love change, some people like stability. Moving from an on-premise platform to SaaS-based solutions is a big change, which will definitely affect your business. As in the case of every big change, there are things to be considered, actions that need to be done, details that should not be overlooked. Having a well-thought migration plan is definitely advised, as it can save time, money, frustration, and prevent uncomfortable situations.

There are several steps to be taken towards a successful transition to SaaS-based offerings. Although it will be different for every case, depending on the sector, the existing eCommerce platform, and what is the ultimate goal, there are some steps that generally should be followed.

  • Evaluating the current business state: existing assets, the legacy of the company, characteristics that you want to move to the new infrastructure, relationships with other applications, and the available budget should be critically evaluated before entering into a transitional stage. Specific factors to think about are the conversion rate, number of transactions, net and gross margin, unique revenue, and number of visitors among others.
  • Choosing the most suitable SaaS solution: as mentioned earlier, the market is full of different SaaS-based offerings, but not all options are suitable for all purposes. Depending on the sector of commerce, the type of business relationships (B2C, B2B, or both), the size of the company and their eCommerce presence, and other factors such as budget, aesthetics, and views, a company will need to make a decision on which cloud and/or SaaS provider to trust for their eCommerce platform. There are opportunities to get a detailed quote and “test-drive” a product, allowing for making the right decision.
  • Making sure all relevant applications are ready for the new reality: switching to SaaS-based offerings and realizing half-way through that some applications do not pair well with the provider or the new system is less than a desirable situation. Hence, ensuring that all relevant systems are able to integrate well is of paramount importance.
  • Deploying the new platform: one of the last steps for the transition towards SaaS solution, is platform deployment, a very important step for the success of this mission. Deployment might take some time until completion, as it should not be rushed, but at the end it will be worth the wait. Backing up existing data is key here, as during data migration and deployment of a new platform, there is always the danger of something going wrong.
  • Migrating data: data migration should be done incrementally, to avoid situations that could put a company in trouble. Starting with a few clients at a time, the least sensitive data volumes, and services that are not highly dependent on others makes more sense for a smooth transition. There are specific services that can be used for that purpose, especially for those business owners who feel they need the extra help. Making sure to be in sync with the ERP in use is also necessary.
  • Remove the on-premise platform reminiscent: having transitioned successfully to a cloud-based eCommerce platform, means that the residue of the previous situation can be gradually and safely removed.
What Should You Be Aware of Before Switch to a SaaS-based eCommerce Platform?

Anything To Worry About SaaS-Based Offerings?

One thing that companies should be aware when re-platforming is to avoid over-engineering the chosen infrastructure. Thinking too much about it, adding extra features, complicating transitions, and trying to use all available bells and whistles might have the opposite result. The aim of transitioning to SaaS-based offerings is the ability to be able to choose from a wide array of options the ones suited for a specific goal, not throw them all into the mix and hope for the best. With SaaS-based offerings less is more, as you can easily top-up according to your requirements.

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