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07 December 2022 • Resources

SaaS vs. open source: What are the differences between the solutions?

SaaS vs. open source: What are the differences between the solutions?

For some time now, you’ve been planning to create your own business, your own online store. You now have the project in mind, you know your target customer. You know what your main items will be. You've already thought about your brand name. You've even started writing content for a future ecommerce blog... Now you have to build your most important tool: your website!

There are several solutions available to you: opt for a SaaS solution or use open-source software.

Do you have advanced technical skills? Do you want simple settings, intuitive interfaces, and a software editor that listens to your needs?

SaaS vs. open source: discover the two types of solutions and finally make your choice to launch your ecommerce business.

SaaS or open-source online stores: definitions

When you decide to create an ecommerce site, your choice of content management system (CMS) is very important. It’s the solution that’ll allow you to create your site but also to administer it and make it evolve according to your needs and your new objectives. More concretely, there are two different types of CMSs: SaaS or open source.

What is open-source software?

When we talk about an ecommerce platform with an open-source license, we mean a technological solution whose source code is available to everyone, i.e., users and developers. Open-source solutions rely on the strength of a collaborative community, which develops, modifies, and uses the code base for free.

An open-source solution is based on a core system, on which all sorts of plug-ins are grafted, allowing specific and additional functionalities to be added. In some cases, the extensions are free. In other cases, they aren’t free. Some of them have a one-time cost. Others are based on a subscription.

Open source has the advantage of offering unlimited development for a very reasonable starting cost, or even free. On the other hand, it’s essential to estimate the additional costs, such as those related to maintenance or the addition of certain features. The more your site evolves, the more you’ll need additional resources. In addition, to use this kind of solution, it’s often necessary to know how to code.

What is SaaS software?

The term SaaS is an acronym that means "software as a service." It’s a platform that’s hosted and created by a third-party provider and that allows you to design an ecommerce site from scratch. The software is accessible directly via a web browser. In addition, unlike the open-source solution, SaaS doesn’t require any particular technical skills or local backup.

With a SaaS solution, your online store is set up quickly. What's more, it’s a model that offers optimal stability and security to your site. With it, everything is easy to handle, and no development skills are required. Constantly updated, SaaS software also benefits from new features all the time, without you even having to worry about it!

Maintenance of your website: the major difference

As you can see, SaaS and open-source software have totally different ways of working and are not aimed at the same entrepreneurial profiles. Moreover, while this is particularly true during the creation of your site, the difference is even more obvious when it comes to developing your online store and ensuring its maintenance.

Open-source CMS: freedom or hindrance?

Open-source software on the market today offers a wide range of modules and services. However, to take full advantage of this potential, it’s necessary to have significant technical knowledge, especially in development. An open-source site implies that the e-merchant knows how to set up and install their site manually, that they code, and that they also know all the workings of the management of their platform. They must therefore know how to code but also be able to master the issues of security and network hosting.

In addition, perhaps you’re tempted to use an external service provider with these technical skills to replace you on this site? Many entrepreneurs call upon freelancers to delegate this task. Here again, you risk exposing yourself to the other side of the coin...

In order to develop a basic website, some freelance professionals don’t hesitate to charge entrepreneurs tens of thousands of dollars to set up a basic sales site. And this price doesn’t include the future updates or the various types of maintenance over time...

Moreover, these professionals have a lot of customers today. However, you may want to change some of your site's settings one day. At that time, you may not be the priority of your external provider, already busy with other missions. You’ll then have to wait.

However, when it comes to internet commerce, things evolve very quickly, and reactivity is essential. With open source in ecommerce in particular, you’ll inevitably be dependent on your provider. With SaaS, you’ll be able to take care of everything yourself, as needed.

Security and performance: the key words for a SaaS platform?

With SaaS, updates are done automatically and instantly by the company that puts the software online. It’s also the CMS that takes care of the maintenance of all the hosted sites. With SaaS, forget about updates... The software takes care of it for you!

Moreover, to help you in your project, after-sales service is often integrated. At WiziShop, we have a team of business coaches to support you whenever you feel the need.

Furthermore, SaaS solutions are generally hosted in very secure servers delivered by market leader companies. Thus, your site is no longer subject to external hazards such as the theft of certain data or malfunctions related to bad weather and fire: a contract of trust signed between you, your CMS, and your ecommerce customers.

Finally, as far as legislation is concerned, it’s up to the editor of the SaaS solution to ensure the monitoring and compliance of its product. They’re the only one responsible for the updates in case of legal evolution. In the case of open-source software, it’s up to the e-merchant to adapt and evolve in time according to the new regulatory constraints. They must therefore keep up to date with the news.

As you can see, with SaaS, you’re more autonomous in the daily management of your platform! As a SaaS software, we’re reactive and we do everything possible to allow you to develop your project with peace of mind. Your site is secure, and everything can be modified in just a few clicks. Data, site model, performance, security... You only have to take advantage of your entrepreneurial freedom, of the advantages of the CMS, to pamper your customers and build their loyalty over the long term!

The cost: from simple to double

It’s often believed that open-source software is assimilated to a totally free technical solution, while SaaS allows you to create an online store in exchange for a subscription payment. But, what is the reality? When determining whether you should use an ecommerce platform that involves SaaS or open-source software, the cost of the solution is definitely something to take into consideration.

Open-source software: a truly free ecommerce solution?

It’s a fact: the acquisition of open-source software is completely free. On the other hand, be aware that the freeware stops at the stage of creation of your login. Most of the extensions for merchant sites aren’t free. Whether you want to add a payment system, additional modules for managing orders or sending automatic emails, an e-commerce blog, or even a notification bar to inform the customer on your homepage, you’ll have to pay for an additional plug-in.

Then, to create your entire site, you’ll also need to know how to code. If this isn’t the case, you’ll have to foresee the cost of accompaniment by an external provider, whose service is often invoiced between $300 and $400 per day...

To all this, you still have to add the purchase of the domain name and the hosting of your site on secure servers. All of these services can quickly add up to a hefty bill. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see online sales sites paying between $50,000 and $70,000 for their site, even though they use software with an open-source license and the promise of a totally free offer.

Pay only for what you use with SaaS

Contrary to what one might think at first glance, SaaS CMSs allow you to start at a lower cost, provided you simply do not have to pay a monthly subscription. Rest assured, in most cases, the price of access to a SaaS solution is calculated according to your use of the solution. Several formulas are generally proposed, and their price is established based on the use that you wish to make of it.

One of the main advantages of SaaS is its transparency. With this software, there are no hidden costs. Everything is included, and the price doesn’t hide any bad surprises.

With the WiziShop SaaS ecommerce solution, the best ecommerce platform around, entrepreneurs have access to more than 400 included features, at no extra cost. Complete ecommerce training is even provided, to allow you to master all the subtleties of online sales. What’s more, the subscription to the best ecommerce CMS starts at only $40 per month, with the first month for just $1!

These days, there are many different SaaS ecommerce platforms available that make it possible to create an online sales site. However, not all of these providers are equal. In other words, for the quality to be there, it’s better to turn to a SaaS partner with a proven track record...

WiziShop is an ecommerce solution that’s been supporting entrepreneurs for over 15 years. The only thing missing is you in our great community of successful entrepreneurs! Test the solution out with a 7-day free trial!

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