Building In-House vs. a SaaS mobile shopping solution
If you are evaluating an in-house mobile commerce solution versus a SaaS mobile shopping solution, there are many factors to consider. Here are but a few of the many considerations you might evaluate:
A self-hosted mobile shopping cart generally requires a substantial amount of time to customize and test the UX design, database, hosting, payment integrations, and more. Who is going to do all this work? Will you do it in house? What are the opportunity costs of doing it in house? Will you hire experts? Who? How much will this cost?
And, regardless of how and who the self-hosted cart will be implemented, how long will it take (double initial estimates for sure)?. A quality SaaS mobile cart makes it easy to design your store, load products and go live in days (not weeks or months).
Alongside design, development, and deployment is a rigorous QA testing period. The self-hosted option will require a parallel, rigorous, systematic QA protocol. All functionality must be thoroughly tested as if it is being used for the first time because it is being used for the first time. Who will do this?
A word of caution: never have your developers run QA. Doing so is a bit like having the fox guard the henhouse. It’s not that the developers don’t mean well; it’s just that you need to have a new set of eyeballs looking at the product. It’s kind of like an author editing his/her own book. SaaS-based providers, alongside their roster of clients, have done most of the heavy testing during development of their respective deployments.
Updates and enhancements
If you are hosting your own mobile shopping cart, you are responsible for implementing your own continuous updates. And, if you are responsible for your own updates, you need to be careful. How do you prioritize your updates? Where does the research come from when it comes to prioritizing updates? And, depending on the amount of customizations and add-ons you’ve implemented into your self-hosted mobile shopping cart, who is monitoring their efficacy? Often times customizations and add-ons can be rendered incompatible after an update.
Unfortunately, in many cases with self-hosted software, there are continuous version updates being deployed because enough testing wasn’t performed prior to release. Regarding updates, it is most critical to run them when security issues arise (even more important when you are taking payments through a web property that you own and manage).
A solid SaaS mobile shopping cart is rolling out best-of-breed updates all the time. These updates are often derived from analysis across an entire network fo sites, not just one. They are also coming from an entire network of clients who collectively represent more domain experience than any stand_alone site ever could.
A self-hosted mobile shopping cart solution is going to require additional mobile technical talent, including UX, development (unless you are that person), and QA. Are you going to pay for your in-house team to re-learn this learning curve? A SaaS mobile shopping cart generally comes with a full-on support team to help you get live and continually manage your mobile shopping solution.
While your in-house team is re-learning mobile best practices, designing, developing, and deploying your new mobile site (a six to nine month project), your losing money on with your customers (lost conversions and brand tarnishing for not having that site sooner) alongside all the other tech projects that get pushed back or cancelled. These too need to factored into your ROI calculations!
Who is going to host your new site? Who is going to handle ongoing support? Analytics? Versioning? Staying on top of best of breed practices? All in, a implementing a self-hosted mobile shopping cart solution is a challenging bet in today’s world of outstanding mobile commerce solutions. The time, resources and risks required for a self-hosted option seem to be too much when you can deploy something like mShopper’s fully-featured SaaS-based mobile shopping cart with ease and speed that will likely perform better than any self-hosted option anyway.