Choosing a Web platform - CQCD

Choosing a Web platform

Prerequisites for choosing between an open source web platform and a SaaS platform.

Definition

An open source web platform is a software solution where the source code is made available to users and developers free of charge for use and customization as required.

A Software as a Service (SaaS) web platform is a software solution hosted and maintained by a service provider with restricted source code. A monthly or annual subscription fee is required to use it.

Ability to manage

In open source, you can customize freely, but this requires technical coding skills and is more complex to manage for a novice.

In SaaS, there are constraints in terms of customization, but it is easier to manage without technical coding skills.

Budget

In open source, you have to pay a freelancer or a web agency to have a professional quality website. You also have to pay for the hosting service and for an SSL security certificate.

In SaaS, you pay a monthly or annual subscription fee for the web platform. The costs for the hosting service and the security certificate are included in the subscription.

Time allocated to the management of the site

In open source, most platforms require a lot of time to maintain the site, especially for updates and bugs.

With SaaS, you are freed from most of these tasks, so you have more time to spend on marketing and other purposes.

Number of products

In open source, the number of products is generally unlimited. However, you need to validate what the host offers in terms of bandwidth and storage capacity.

In SaaS, most platforms also offer an unlimited number of products. However, some platforms offer bandwidth and storage space according to the paid package.

Multi-language website

In both open source and SaaS, some web platforms offer the multilingual option as a built-in feature.

For other web platforms in both categories, you need to shop around for a translation application. Costs vary depending on the platform and the features offered by the application.

Multi-currency website

In both open source and SaaS, some web platforms offer the ability to sell in different currencies.

For other web platforms in both categories, you need to shop around for a foreign currency application. Costs vary depending on the platform and the features offered by the application.

Cash register and inventory systems

In open source, there is more room for manoeuvre in terms of integrating cash register and inventory systems. Bridge software is an alternative.

In SaaS, you have to check the compatibility of the cash register and inventory system before making a choice. It is more complicated to connect bridge software when there is a compatibility problem.

Marketing tools

In both open source and SaaS, marketing tools need to be shopped for, especially marketing automation tools, to avoid incompatibility issues.

For transactional sites, one should also explore the compatibility of the tool used to manage abandoned carts, selling on other channels such as Google, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as the shipping solution.

Differences between the platforms

 Open source web platformSaaS platform  
What is it?A software solution whose source code is made available to users and developers free of charge for use and customization as required.A software solution hosted and maintained by a service provider with restricted source code. You have to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to use it.
CustomizationCustomize freely, but this requires technical coding skills.Constraints in terms of customization, but easier to manage without technical knowledge of coding.
BudgetCosts: A web agency to have a professional quality siteA hosting serviceAn SSL certificate  Monthly or annual subscription, hosting service and SSL certificate fees are included.
Time allotted for managementA lot of time for site maintenance, updating and bug management.The focus is solely on marketing.
Number of productsUnlimitedUnlimited
Language and currency managementBuilt-in multilingual option, but need to shop around for applications, which means extra costs.Built-in multilingual option, but need to shop around for applications, which means extra costs.
Cash register and inventory systemsThere is more room for manoeuvre in terms of integrating cash register and inventory systems. Bridge software is an alternative.The compatibility of the cash register and inventory system should be checked before making a choice. It is more complicated to connect bridge software when there is a compatibility problem.
   

This article is part of the Digital marketing and eCommerce toolkit, an initiative offered as part of the free digital marketing and e-commerce consultation service for retailers of the City of Montreal.

Offered in collaboration with :

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