Open source vs SaaS eCommerce: Find the right for your business

  • 19 Apr 2021
difference between open source and SaaS ecommerce
The eCommerce industry is one of the fastest-growing in the last few years. There are continuous changes prevailing in the industry due to pandemic situations and subsequent changes to customer’s behaviors.

According to reports, US eCommerce retail sales will increase by 36.7% in 2021. As a result, eCommerce has regained its total retail market share rapidly.

All these changes initiated conversions of physical businesses into eCommerce platforms. They tend to face the most competitive atmosphere here. In order to survive this competition, eCommerce businesses need the right technologies and software.

In this article, you will find the differences between Open source vs SaaS eCommerce. This helps eCommerce businesses to find the perfect solution for their needs. Let’s dive deep into open-source eCommerce platforms vs SaaS eCommerce platforms.

1. What is Open Source eCommerce?

Open-source software indicates that the users will get complete access to the source code. Moreover, businesses can customize this software as per their needs economically. You’ll need developer support to create these platforms. Being more powerful and customizable, this software is really complete to handle. Open-source software is generally developed by expert professionals to meet business requirements.

2. What is SaaS eCommerce? 

SaaS, widely known as Software-as-a-Service, is a software model that offers services on a subscription basis. This works more like renting a property, where you have to pay money on monthly payments. SaaS services aren’t owned by the user but hosted by the SaaS provider. Therefore, service providers are responsible for hosting, maintaining, and securing the platform.

Open source eCommerce advantages and disadvantages
Open source solutions are more popular for their customization. But there are some pros and cons of using open source platforms. Let’s discuss the selling points and major drawbacks of this extraordinary platform.

1. Advantages of open source

If you’re planning to invest in an open-source platform then it’s essential to consider these big points first.

✓ Complete control

One of the biggest advantages of open-source software is its flexibility. They give users complete control and freedom over their source code.

✓ Community support

Open source platforms are created and monitored by the wider community that is surrounded by them. 

✓ Customer support

SaaS platforms provide customer support as part of their package. For example, most software providers have email or live chat support, which helps customers to stay connected.

2. Disadvantages to open-source eCommerce

However, the open-source platform comes with great power. It's important to consider the downsides of it.


If you are modifying the source code more, which ultimately makes your system complex. 

✓ Heavy maintenance

The open-source platforms are costly and complex to set up, they also need a lot of maintenance and support to keep them running consistently. 

✓ High cost

In simple terms, open-source platforms can cost according to the customizations added. In simple terms, the more customizations and features you add, the more costly it becomes.

Who can use open source ecommerce?
The open source platforms are user-friendly and ideal for small to medium-scale businesses. Many eCommerce business owners are turning to open source eCommerce platforms for managing their stores easily. Also, businesses can save money and enjoy all the benefits of using it.

Advantages and disadvantages of SaaS

As discussed earlier, the concept of SaaS platforms is similar to renting a house, the pros and cons of SaaS are quite similar too. You get the complete freedom to run your platform but you have to consider the reliable monthly charges. However, you get a secure and smooth overflow in case of any breakdown in between.

1. Advantages of SaaS

 Here are some of the advantages that make SaaS solutions right for you. 

✓ Fast & Easy set-up

SaaS platforms are fast & user-friendly to set up which helps businesses to build their platform quickly here. They have user-friendly interfaces and exclusive pre-built themes for brands to run at speed.

✓ Security

Maintaining and security are incredibly essential for any eCommerce site. This helps to keep customer’s credit cards and personal information secure.

✓ Scalability

SaaS platforms generally come with more functionalities and unlimited bandwidth. This helps brands to add new sales channels such as Instagram or Amazon when needed quickly.

✓ Customer support

SaaS platforms provide customer support as part of their package. For example, most providers have 24/7 customer support, which helps merchants to stay connected with a live support specialist.

2. Disadvantages of SaaS

The biggest difference between open source and SaaS is that SaaS doesn’t give complete control to users. You need to pick SaaS platforms based on your business needs as they are not created equal.

✓ Customization

Although you can’t make changes to the source code of a SaaS platform, still they support openness through APIs. This gives SaaS one biggest advantage of making customizations like open source.

✓ Lack of Choice

SaaS platforms don’t give choices and can lock you up with certain apps or features. This can be challenging for businesses to select the best eCommerce solutions that match their brand.

✓ Handling Complexity

In order to deal with business complexities, you need advanced customization for handling them. Therefore, using SaaS can be complex for selling across multiple e-commerce and international marketplaces.

Who can use SaaS ecommerce?
A wide range of IT, eCommerce, and enterprises use SaaS eCommerce platforms for their flexibility. You can set up SaaS applications easily for your business in time. Generally, SaaS is ideal for businesses that want customized solutions according to their unique needs for large and enterprise businesses.

Final Verdict: Which is better one?

Choosing between open source and SaaS eCommerce can be a hard task. But it’s all worth your time and effort to pick the right platform for you. As eCommerce platforms play a major role in making your business successful. Ensure to choose the right platform and avoid the risks of migration later. Comparing these two platforms, we can understand the pros and cons of open source & SaaS side-by-side. However, choose the best eCommerce software varies according to individual business needs, budgets, and resources.