As technology continues to advance, shoppers expect more from every digital experience whether they’re browsing or ready to make a purchase. As a business, you’re always looking for new, streamlined ways to make these experiences easier and more compelling for your customers.
That’s why a number of businesses have turned to Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms. With these platforms, businesses can provide an exceptional shopping experience for their customers and gain an edge over their competition.
Below, we’ll explore what SaaS is, the benefits it provides, and the difference between vertical and general SaaS platforms.
What Is SaaS?
A SaaS platform is a cloud-based subscription service that allows your business to implement the tools you need without building/purchasing, installing, hosting, and maintaining an entire software platform yourself.
With the rise — and continuing growth — of cloud computing, many businesses of all sizes are considering making the switch, no matter which platform they’re using. According to BMC, “Gartner forecasts end-user spending on public cloud services to reach $396 billion in 2021—and grow 21.7% to reach $482 billion in 2022.”
What Are the Benefits of a SaaS Platform?
Many businesses have or are considering making the switch to SaaS for the benefits, particularly since top SaaS platforms come with a number of built-in advantages, including efficiency, cost, and support.
For example, this software allows your users to access the cloud-based platform without downloading software on their workstations, which can provide a quick, efficient way to install and maintain your ecommerce software.
In addition, your business can benefit from the lower upfront costs that SaaS delivers. Instead of buying software outright, you can simply access and implement the platform. These platforms often come with automatic updates to provide your business with the latest technology and tech support to ensure your furniture business runs as smoothly online as it does in-store.
Gartner also suggests that the cloud is becoming ubiquitous for “its resiliency, scalability, flexibility, and speed.” With these benefits (and more), businesses are understanding how a switch to a cloud-based SaaS platform can help them efficiently reach their business goals.
However, not all SaaS types are created equal. General and vertical SaaS platforms both come with different pros and cons that you should consider to find the best platform to grow and support your furniture ecommerce business.
What Is a General SaaS Platform?
General Software as a Service ecommerce platform is typically a "one size fits all" ecommerce solution. As the term “general” implies, it is not tailored to any specific niche or industry. General SaaS providers serve a wide range of businesses and may have limited customization and integration capabilities.
Is a General SaaS Platform Right for My Business?
The applications, features, and use-cases vary by the provider with general SaaS platforms. A general SaaS may be sufficient for an ecommerce platform if the business:
- Sells simple, non-configurable products with straightforward purchasing options.
- Relies primarily on parcel services (e.g., UPS or FedEx) for fulfillment, with no in-home/installation requirements.
- Is exclusively ecommerce and does not need to align its ecommerce website with in-store operations.
Although a general SaaS platform may keep you from the costly endeavor of building your furniture ecommerce platform from scratch, it may not be the best option for every business. If you sell complicated items or need an ecommerce platform that can be customized to your business, you’ll likely need a platform tailored to your industry.
What Is a Vertical SaaS Platform?
Vertical SaaS is a cloud computing solution designed for a specific industry. These platforms include all the benefits of a general SaaS solution while meeting industry-specific standards and requirements.
For example, furniture ecommerce businesses may find a vertical SaaS platform beneficial, as it can enable them to align their online shopping experience with an in-store one and create a customized experience for their customers.
Is a Vertical SaaS Platform Right for My Business?
When choosing which SaaS is suitable for your business, it’s essential to consider the complexity of your ecommerce requirements. A vertical SaaS is ideal for businesses that:
- Are in a niche, competitive market, such as furniture.
- Have unique, industry-based challenges and requirements that can’t be addressed with a general SaaS.
- Wish to align or enhance the online shopping experience with an in-store experience.
- Frequently run complex promotional campaigns, such as coupons, sales, and events.
- Have fulfilment requirements beyond the capabilities of parcel services.
Vertical SaaS offers extended opportunities for the specific industry that it covers. Because it is built for a specific industry, it’s common to get faster implementation, better results, and more relevant upgrades. This allows your business to keep up with the trends specific to online furniture sales, and always provide your customers with a leading shopping experience.
Finding the Right Furniture Ecommerce Platform for Your Business
With SaaS platforms continuing to grow, it’s a great time to consider implementing a platform for your business. However, since each furniture ecommerce platform is built differently, you should consider several different benefits before deciding which best fits your business.
To do that, you’ll want to consider the benefits, risks, and capabilities of each platform. Download our free Ecommerce Software: A Comparison Guide today to compare each software type and find out the best ecommerce platform for your business!