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6 Questions to Ask Any Vendor Before Signing a SaaS Contract

When evaluating software-as-a-service, particularly e-commerce SaaS solutions, companies often focus on comparing product features and functions. The marketplace today is flush with SaaS providers and by its very nature rapidly evolving. Like your business needs, e-commerce platforms are evolving as well. 

Finding a viable long term partner requires not only evaluating the bells and whistles but also asking some more strategic questions.

Our hope is that by asking the right questions you can settle on a long term partner that has a vision for e-commerce consistent with your business needs.

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How Growth Effects E-Commerce Platform Viability

Chances are, the e-commerce functionality you require today will not be the same as what you need in five years.  If you’re successful  you’ll have more transactions, more products, more competitors and higher expectations from your customers. As your business grows, will your e-commerce platform be able to keep up? 

Many mid-sized businesses  are sold a solution to address their current needs rather than one that supports their future growth. To put it another way, is your SaaS provider as aggressive with their solution strategy and roadmap for the future as you are with yours?

An E-Commerce Road Map Is a Big Deal

There is a, probably apocryphal, story many product managers tell. Supposedly Wayne Gretzky once said the he doesn't skate to where the puck is but rather to where the puck is going to be. His point was that if you skate toward the puck inits current location you will miss the mark and have to chase behind it. He on the other hand would anticipate and intercept the puck further down the rink which would give him an advantage in a break-E-commerce evaluation questionsaway. Similarly, how often a vendor rolls out incremental functionality is an important factor to consider. By signing with a SaaS vendor, you are implicitly trusting they’ll continue to provide meaningful innovations that will allow you to attract, convert and retain more buyers in the future. Are they skating to where the puck is or where it will be?

Flexible Enough to Succeed

The benefits of SaaS based software are well documented. The core value proposition of any cloud based solution typically includes economies of scale, infrastructure free solution benefits, and automatic upgrades.

Many companies don’t fully explore the tradeoffs that give multi-tenant SaaS those benefits. How ridged will your site experience have to be to realize those benefits? Just because the “default” experience a vendor provides is better than what you currently have doesn’t mean it will always be better than your competition.

Perhaps you read last week about increasing e-commerce site revenues, some of the tools required to implement those tips aren't out of the box on every e-commerce platform. Think ahead and don’t sacrifice future flexibility. Unique, targeted and engaging customer experiences are the only way to differentiate your self online. 

You can download and read all 6 essential questions you should be asking any e-commerce SaaS vendor before you sign their contract.


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