What is Software-as-a-Service(SaaS)?
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a web-based service that can be accessed and used over the internet. SaaS does not require downloading, running, and updating software on a native PC.
How does SaaS work?
SaaS caters to a wide range of services, from office software and calendars to emails and unified communications.
Google Web apps and Microsoft Office 365 are examples of SaaS targeted for consumers. Enterprise services include sales management and customer relationship management (CRM) tools.
In a SaaS model, a service provider creates software that is hosted on its platform and makes it available to customers. Most SaaS solutions are pre-configured for plug-and-play. All customers have the same copy of the solution because it has the same source code and gets the same updates on features and functionalities.
The SaaS provider manages everything in the background, including the hardware (networking, storage, data center, and servers), platforms (virtualization, operating system, and middleware), and software (run times, data, and apps). It also takes care of updating the software, fixing bugs, providing security, and other maintenance issues. Users access the software through their device’s web browser when connected to the internet. The provider can also integrate SaaS solutions with other software via application programming interfaces (APIs).
So who benefits the most using the SaaS model? This solution is ideal for individuals or organizations that:
- have little to no experience building and maintaining infrastructure, platforms, and software
- require standard functions with minimal customization
- do not have a considerable budget to invest in a robust IT infrastructure or purchase a permanent software
- want flexible payment and access schemes offered through subscription models
SaaS in e-commerce
SaaS e-commerce platforms are also part of the growing Software-as-a-Service industry. They offer various solutions to retailers that are currently online or moving online. The SaaS model provides several advantages to merchants, especially small and medium businesses (SMBs), in running their e-commerce business:
- Ease-of-use: SaaS e-commerce platforms are mostly plug-and-play solutions. The platforms already come with built-in functionalities such as easy-to-customize themes, basic shopping cart functionalities, and marketing tools. On top of that, the intuitive and user-friendly interfaces allow merchants to quickly set up and run an online store without much knowledge of programming.
- Accessibility: As long as there are a reliable internet connection and a device with a web browser, you can run and use a SaaS platform. It means that online businesses can manage the solution from any device (smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptops) on any operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS).
- Cost-effectiveness: The SaaS e-commerce ecosystem requires minimal upfront costs. There is no need to invest in infrastructure, platform, and software. The standard platform design also has all the necessary functionalities as is. If needed, add-ons are available at a small additional charge.
- Maintenance: E-commerce merchants can also save costs and time in terms of support. The SaaS provider hosts and maintains the software, overseeing the uptime, performance speed, software updates, and bug fixes. There is no need for merchants to directly contact individual service providers regarding running issues or set up an IT department for managing at the administrative level.
- Scalability: SaaS is a more flexible option than other platforms if a merchant is considering a service upgrade in the future. Merchants can easily add new functionalities and features to the solution. Also, because of SaaS platforms’ flexible payment scheme, scaling up can be as easy as moving up a payment or subscription tier.
- Data access: Since everything runs through a centralized platform, quickly capturing data is possible. Using SaaS, businesses can access analytics, intelligence tools, and visualization that can provide insights into their operations, sales, and marketing processes.
Cafe24 is a SaaS e-commerce platform
Cafe24 is a prime example of a SaaS e-commerce platform. Instead of overcoming major hurdles, businesses and entrepreneurs can use Cafe24 to quickly and conveniently build their online stores. Cafe24 also runs a marketplace for merchants to install various functions to their online stores and scale-up.