For years now, eCommerce has dominated the way people buy and sell goods and services. Any business that is online today relies upon eCommerce platforms to remain current and secure. The decision facing many new companies today is whether to stay with their current legacy platform or use a modern SaaS based solution like BigCommerce.
It’s a choice that not only dictates capital and operating budgets, but will also determine a company’s ability to grow and respond to market opportunities.
Let's take some time to break down the differences between BigCommerce and Legacy solutions.
Total Cost of Ownership
Most legacy ecommerce solutions we have run across are installed locally on a company's hardware and are custom built solutions that are heavily managed by an IT staff. On premise solutions involve large upfront investments to purchase the infrastructure such as servers and facilities needed to manage and maintain the software, as well as software licenses. Custom eCommerce solution costs include software maintenance, data cleansing, security, and software upgrades.
In addition, companies may incur costs associated with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance and meeting other regulatory standards to safeguard credit card and personal data. Companies may have to hire and train additional IT staff, too.
In contrast, the BigCommerce platform is provided as a service (thus the term software-as-a-service, or SaaS). As part of the service BigCommerce hosts and manages the software and customers’ associated data in the cloud--maintaining the IT infrastructure, and is responsible for data security, distributing upgrades, bug fixes and developing new features and enhancements. For the customer, initial costs are typically much lower because you simply implement the software to your requirements and users access it through a web browser interface over the Internet. Payment is a predictable, pay-as-you-go subscription model.
Ultimately, the BigCommerce platform allows your IT staff to focus on driving strategic initiatives and innovation, rather than spending their time on maintaining and managing other business systems.
Upgrades and Enhancements
Legacy systems work, until they don't. Most times the custom code written is not compatible with newer technology, or updates are no longer available from the vendor. At that point, your IT staff must create one-off updates and redeploy the software across multiple servers. The problem is that any customizations or integrations are tied to the existing software deployment, and they’ll be wiped out during an upgrade. Your IT team will have to re-implement them—or simply start re-customizing from scratch. This can take a lot of resources in terms of time and IT staff, which is why many companies don’t upgrade at all and instead run out-of-date technology.
Platforms like BigCommerce are continually enhancing their solutions, so you can be sure you're always using the latest, most advanced version. Many cloud solution providers, like NetSuite, offer a multitenant architecture where a single instance of the application serves all customers, who receive the benefits of the vendor’s software development, including continuous and immediate access to the latest product upgrades. Previously implemented customizations automatically carry forward when the solution is updated.
Growth and Agility
The difficulty of system upgrades is just one of the ways in which a legacy eCommerce solution can limit the growth of your business. Because it’s already difficult to customize and extend legacy systems, it becomes increasingly difficult to grow and extend these systems with newer technology. This can hamper your efforts to pursue the new market opportunities that would increase revenue.
BigCommerce has a clear advantage when you consider the speed with which you can deploy it and the time it takes to extend the platform through APIs and store-bought modules and themes. Because your business doesn't have to worry about whether the IT infrastructure can support new initiatives, you can more quickly respond to market opportunities by quickly deploying additional sites for different business models (B2B and B2C), brands and countries, all on the same platform.
With BigCommerce, it's also easier to scale, giving you the flexibility to handle more customers as your business grows. If there’s a spike in your business—in response to seasonal demand or unexpected viral success, for example—BigCommerce automatically adjusts and dynamically provisions additional resources to handle the surge. With an on-site ecommerce solution, you would need to provision additional hardware and purchase additional licenses.
What's right for your eCommerce business?
Your business is unique, so take the time to consider how different ecommerce software deployment options will affect your company. If you would like to learn more about BigCommerce, please feel free to schedule a consultation with an expert.