There are two basic approaches to building an online store: Software as a Service or Build It Yourself. SaaS is the ‘simpler’ option, where users sign up for an “all-in-one” service; Build It Yourself ecommerce sites use a designer and/or developer to work with an open-source platform. Here, we compare the two approaches and offer our perspective on the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Software as a Service (SaaS, or Hosted Solution)
Software as a Service provides software solutions via subscription and is centrally hosted. SaaS offers platform and name recognition and lets the user simply sign up and begin building an online store without installing or downloading any external software. The pricing is generally predictable and support can be found in online forums, ticketing or customer chat services.
Build It Yourself (Self-Hosted)
There is a range of possibilities for self-hosted ecommerce sites; from complete do-it-yourself to utilizing substantial developer involvement. Build it yourself ecommerce sites are typically created with an open-source platform and are wide open for features. The startup costs are moderate but platform and developer choice are critical for success.
This post is excerpted from Eric Landmann’s presentation to the Wisconsin LGTB Chamber of Commerce on February 25, 2015. You can view slides from the complete presentation below. Directed at site owners and admins, the presentation includes examples of modern ecommerce sites, how to define requirements, the approaches that platforms take, deciding on a direction, and cost expectations.