Software-as-a-service (SaaS) eCommerce platforms are so useful because, for the most part, they are easy to employ and perform all the basic functions needed to run an eCommerce website (although it can still be a good idea to have help from a professional web designer). With SaaS solutions your company can fulfill thousands of orders every day and most perform analytics. SaaS also helps merchants reach customers that they otherwise wouldn’t know were out there.
With that being said, there are also dozens of SaaS carts to choose from. So, to help you narrow down your search we’ve selected a few of our personal favorites to review.
Volusion is a fully cloud-based ecommerce shopping cart that performs all the basic functions that you need to run an eCommerce website. These functions include; building a website, web hosting, adding products, managing inventory, checkout, payment processing, order management, customer management, and newsletters. Volusion provides a good shopping experience with many customer-centric features like product comparison tools and product image zooming. Volusion also charges no transaction fees on orders, and offers many free themes. One of it’s best features are the self-help resources, many of which include video explanations of common cart tasks. Additional details are:
• Pricing: All Volusion plans come with a fully functional 14-day (no credit card required) trial with no setup or cancellation fees. Plans range from $15.00/month (Mini) to $195/month (Platinum).
Set up: The Volusion admin interface is clean and easy to navigate and there’s a “Quickstart” tutorial that walks you through choosing a design and adding your first product.
• Design: Volusion offers 120 free templates and if you don’t want to go with a free template, you can purchase a premium one starting at around $195. They also offer a built-in template editor called “File Editor” that lets you change your raw code within the admin interface.
• Payment Processing: Volusion has an “in-house” credit card processing service called Volusion Merchant Services. The monthly cost is around $33.00.
• Customer Support: Volusion offers 24/7 live human support via phone, chat, or email, to all tiers above Mini. Mini only provides online support. Gold and Platinum tiers get priority support (shorter wait times).
Amazon offers a SaaS ecommerce platform with solutions ranging from a quick shopping cart for individual sellers and small businesses to enterprise level services. Because Amazon is a leader in the ecommerce industry, a Webstore is a natural way to use that leadership to further impact the market.
• Pricing: Amazon Webstore has a few pricing packages. A new merchant can purchase just the Amazon Webstore for $24.99 per month (plus fees) or the new merchant can get both the SaaS Webstore cart and enroll in Amazon’s Selling on Amazon program for $54.98 per month (plus fees). Amazon also charges a fraud prevention fee.
Set up: One cool feature is the Amazon Webstore product import tool for merchants already selling on another platform. Products may also be uploaded via a file, or products may be manually input.
• Design: Amazon offers a number of very basic templates to help merchants get started. The new Webstore site may then be updated with CSS and HTML. Ultimately it will take some design expertise to have a really good looking site with Amazon Webstore.
• Payment Processing: Merchants will need to apply for payment processing either with Amazon’s checkout, Checkout by Amazon, or a third party processor.
• Customer Support: Amazon has essentially built their brand on the trust that comes from satisfying their customers and/or clients needs. Amazon’s robust customer service process will make your SaaS experience essentially hassle free.
Bigcommerce is a fully cloud-based service that gives businesses of all sizes everything they need to sell online and attract more customers to their online store. They boast features like built-in CRM, a suite of marketing tools, and easy-to-use content management systems.
• Pricing: All Bigcommerce plans come with a 15-day trial and no credit card required. There are also no setup or cancellation fees. Plans range from Silver at $34.95 (plus fees)/month to Platinum at $199.95 (plus fees)/month and if you have especially high volume needs there’s Enterprise for custom tailored solutions.
• Set up: Bigcommerce provides an initial step-by-step setup tutorial to guide you through each part of the process. They break up the product adding process into tabs (e.g. Details, Images/Videos, Delivery/Event Data, Inventory, etc.) so that you’re not overwhelmed by a thousand different options all on one page.
• Design: Bigcommerce has hundreds of templates to choose from. They can be used as they are, or can be modified via their editor, or via a full HTML editor. As an added bonus Bigcommerce can also connect you with third-party designers that can customize your store.
• Payment Processing: Bigcommerce has an “in-house” payment solution that comes in two different tiers: The Starter package has no monthly fees and a minimal transaction rate or you can purchase the Elite package for $9.99/month and a minimal transaction rate.
Customer Support: There are quite a few channels by which you can get support from Bigcommerce including webinars, video tutorials, design guides, live chat, email and phone support.
Shopify is a feature-rich sales register for online retailers big and small. The software sits on Shopify’s servers where you can create your store, pick your design, customize it to suit your brand, add products, adjust tax and shipping settings, manage orders, manage customers, get sales reports, and so on.
• Pricing: All Shopify plans come with a fully functional 14-day (no credit card required) trial. There are no setup or cancellation fees. Their plans are offered on a month-to-month basis, but users can opt to subscribe for a 1-year contract. Plans range from the Starter plan for $14/month to the Unlimited plan for $179/month.
• Set up: The Shopify online store is very easy to set up and manage and it only takes a few minutes to create. An added bonus is when you first start to build your site, you can preview how it will look before you go live. Shopify does a good job of making it easy to get your site off the ground, and fine-tune later on.
• Design: Shopify has over 100 premium themes to choose from, 11 of which are free. They offer fully-customizable themes that you can edit and customize to fit your store. They have a very intuitive live theme editor that lets you customize your store’s design elements and they have new skins from third-party developers being uploaded all the time.
• Payment Processing: Shopify is compatible with more than 70 gateways, including Visa and PayPal. The in-house credit card processor seamlessly integrates into merchant accounts, instantly green lights payments, enables easier chargeback recovery, and lets merchants view payments in real-time.
• Customer Support: Shopify offers phone, email and live chat support in addition to a support center, discussion forum, and a Shopify “Experts” page.
In the end…
As you can see there are some good SaaS options available with awesome features to help you build your online store. There’s Volusion and Bigcommerce that offers good customer support and no transaction fees, Amazon who promises that its both good quality and simple to use (with the help of a designer), and finally Shopify who has an essentially hassle free set up.
Of course these are among our personal favorites, but whichever SaaS service you decide to go with, you and your customers are sure to benefit from the ease and efficiency that your software provides. In addition, hiring a website design team that can work across all SaaS verticals will allow you to get the optimal results you want from your SaaS cart. To speak with someone from the Aydus team about outsourcing your web design work click here.