Businesses are constantly searching for the right technical tools to succeed in today’s fiercely competitive eCommerce market. The array of choices can be overwhelming, particularly when faced with the decision between open-source software and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.
According to the latest Open Source Software Market Research, the global Open Source Software market looks promising in the next 5 years. In 2028, it’s anticipated to reach USD 75,209.66 million, with a CAGR of 18.09% during the forecast years.
As eCommerce continues to redefine the rules of retail, large B2B eCommerce businesses might want to learn more about the areas where open-source software thrives over SaaS.
This blog post explores the benefits that open-source software can offer to enterprises in this sector. How can open-source eCommerce systems ensure long-term growth? In which spheres they are more likely to gain the upper hand against their competitors? Read on and reveal the business power of this solution.
What is SaaS eCommerce?
To see the difference, you should get a clear idea of what SaaS eCommerce is. Short for Software as a Service eCommerce, it is a category of web applications that are entirely web-based and accessible through standard web browsers (virtually anywhere with an Internet connection).
Within a SaaS eCommerce platform, licensed users are granted access to a comprehensive suite of tools and resources. Software-as-a-service can host, maintain, and safeguard the underlying infrastructure, providing servers, databases and security measures. This relieves merchants from the technical complexities of infrastructure management and allows them to focus on core business operations.
The financial model of SaaS eCommerce is typically built around a subscription fee (i.e. the ‘pay-as-you-go’ approach). The ownership cost scales with the number of users accessing it and/or sales made, as well as the level of service and features required.
What is open-source eCommerce?
Open-source eCommerce is a dynamic and customizable solution for managing the technical infrastructure of online retail businesses. In stark contrast to SaaS, this type of software offers businesses unparalleled flexibility, acting like a tailor-made suit for their unique needs.
Crucially, businesses opting for open-source solutions retain full control over their eCommerce platforms (the ability to develop and integrate non-standard functions). This feature is essential for those with specific requirements or a desire to maintain a distinct brand identity.
Moreover, open-source eCommerce software empowers businesses to swiftly adapt to changing market trends and customer preferences. This adaptability, independent of third-party providers for updates, is a strategic move towards a more customized, cost-effective, and future-proof online retail presence.
Where an open-source eCommerce platform can beat its SaaS counterparts?
On the surface, open-source and SaaS eCommerce platforms perform the same task, both enabling the sale of products through online stores. However, the true distinction for an established B2B company becomes evident when it comes to customization and scaling their eCommerce presence.
Building a B2B online store can be more beneficial with an open-source eCommerce platform than with SaaS alternatives. Below we’ll explore the most significant advantages that open-source software has to offer:
- eCommerce store security
- Customization options
- Seamless scalability
Open-source software is typically distributed freely, meaning businesses can use and modify it without any licensing fees. This is a stark contrast to many proprietary solutions that require substantial upfront payments or ongoing licensing costs.
As a business grows, open-source eCommerce solutions allow for seamless scalability without the burden of escalating costs. Unlike most SaaS models, where increased usage or sales volume often translates into higher fees (monthly subscriptions, transaction fees and additional payments depending on the level of online sales can range anywhere between $30,000 and $150,000 per year).
In essence, open-source software often results in a lower Total Cost of Ownership over the long term. While initial development or customization might require some investment, the absence of ongoing licensing fees and the flexibility to adapt the software without constraints contribute to a more economical overall cost structure.
With open-source eCommerce, you can choose your hosting environment and configure your servers to meet the most stringent security standards. It allows you to fortify your server defenses, implement the latest security patches, and stay ahead of potential threats.
The open-source security approach also empowers businesses to handpick tools that align with specific eCommerce needs. From firewalls to intrusion detection systems, bug fixes, and PCI compliance, companies are no longer locked into a predefined security setup.
When a B2B eCommerce business reaches a certain level of growth, the need for customization becomes essential. In this context, open-source eCommerce platforms provide a level of flexibility that SaaS solutions simply can’t match and liberate businesses from vendor lock-in.
With open-source software, customization options extend from the front-end user interface to the core functionality. This means changing not only how the store looks but also how it functions–developers can extend built-in templates or predefined integrations, as well as adjust the architecture of their B2B2 eCommerce system.
In contrast, SaaS eCommerce solutions, while user-friendly, often limit customization. They might offer options for tweaking the front-end appearance and provide access to a selection of plugins or apps. However, their core architecture remains off-limits, preventing you from creating truly unique features or functionalities.
For a matured B2B eCommerce business, the ability to scale seamlessly is a necessity. Open-source solutions enable businesses to quickly adapt to emerging technologies and market trends without waiting for a provider’s updates. This agility ensures that the eCommerce platform can accommodate increased traffic, product offerings, and complex operations.
While convenient for some, SaaS eCommerce solutions often come with limitations regarding scalability. For example, adjustments in a SaaS environment can be challenging, if not completely impossible. A business might outgrow the built-in features but has no other option than to compromise on functionality.
In addition, SaaS vendors control their infrastructure, which means companies need to rely on the vendor’s development roadmap. They have little influence over the speed or direction of integration improvements, let alone the choice of third-party plugins themselves.
The long-term impact of open-source software on B2B eCommerce
The long-lasting impact of open-source software is extremely valuable for mature B2B eCommerce businesses that consistently follow market trends and set their own tendencies.
To sum up, the most significant benefits that open-source software can offer are as follows:
- High adaptability. Operating in the B2B eCommerce landscape requires constant growth due to emerging technologies and regulatory changes. Open-source software’s adaptability allows businesses to respond promptly to these shifts: whether it’s complying with new industry regulations or harnessing the latest technological advancements.
- No vendor lock-in. A long-term partnership with a SaaS vendor might seem convenient initially, but it can also mean dependence. Over time, your business might outgrow the capabilities of the SaaS platform. With open-source software, you’re not locked into a single provider, giving the freedom to explore new opportunities and technologies as your business matures.
- Cost predictability. Long-term budgeting and financial planning are essential for B2B eCommerce businesses. Open-source software offers cost predictability—once your infrastructure is in place, ongoing expenses are generally stable. This predictability allows for better financial planning and resource allocation, ensuring the sustainability of your eCommerce operations.
If you think that your business can benefit from using the open-source technology, you can check out nopCommerce. It is a free, intuitive, fully customizable, open-source eCommerce platform that integrates with many services, including Amazon, FedEx, Stripe, Google – to name a few!
The choice of a proper technical foundation might determine the course of your company in the constantly changing world of B2B eCommerce. Thus, one shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of open-source software over SaaS solutions.
Due to its adaptability, open-source products can easily handle any industry changes. Businesses are no longer dependent on a vendor, allowing for research and invention. Customers and partners are more likely to trust the brand that can guarantee data protection and ownership. Additionally, cost predictability offers the monetary security required for sustainable strategic growth.
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