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SkuNexus vs the Traditional SaaS Model

Derrick Weiss
August 16, 2018

When comparing any two softwares as key as order management, it’s important to get an accurate, unbiased, side by side view. 

Seeing two solutions compared is a natural step when any big business decision is being made, especially one that is as close to the customer, and important to operations, as an order management software.

By the end of this article, you’ll be able to understand the pros and cons of a traditional SaaS model compared to SkuNexus well enough to be able to explain them to a coworker.

I’m writing this because we get asked why someone would need our solution quite often, when they can get something similar for less than $500/month without having to talk to a salesperson.

Well, that’s a good question.

The short answer is that SkuNexus will provide more opportunities for automation through customization, but at a higher price.

If you’re happy with your solution right now, and it’s working well, this article isn’t for you. If you want a little bit more from your current system, but aren’t quite sure where it’s going to come from, read on.

View the whole series of comparisons between SkuNexus and other types of platforms here.

Feature Set of a SaaS Order Management System

The traditional SaaS model is a great place to start when you’re just starting off: you have products to sell, an ecommerce website, and just need a way to print shipping labels. You pack orders yourself, and store everything in your garage. It’s time consuming, but easy.

You don’t need anything fancy.

The solution you pick is hyper focused on a single facet of the order management process - in this case, probably fulfillment - and does it very, very well.

That’s because it was created for that reason specifically. It was created to do that one thing very well.

And as with many things in life, it’s a double edged sword.

The other functions you need as you begin to grow - omnichannel order management, custom shipping labels, inventory tracking - aren’t included.

Download the guide to Data-Driven Omnichannel to see how this approach is quickly becoming a competitive advantage.

So you pair your system with another, and another, and an accounting software.

You add ten, twenty, and then fifty new team members.

You rent warehouse space, open another ecommerce website, and then you see your pricing go up for all the users and volume you’ve since added.

All of a sudden you’re spending time troubleshooting little idiosyncrasies between the systems, how they process data, and integrations.

There’s a feature you really need, and you’ve requested it from your point of contact at the company, but they’re slow to respond, you can tell their overloaded with work, and there’s no way they are going to work on your feature request until next year.

You’re still able to get orders out. That’s the most important thing, and it’s working.

But it takes more time and manpower to manage the ecosystem you’ve created, and the overall cost has gone up as well.

You notice that as you’ve grown, the cost has increased every time you’ve reached a new threshold of users or volume.

It’s almost like you’re being punished for growing your business. After a while, it becomes cost prohibitive, and can start affecting other decisions. For example, it may be cheaper to open a second account than to upgrade your current account.

It’s a weird situation, but if it works, and it’s cheaper, why wouldn’t you?

Plug and Play

One of the best parts of a traditional SaaS order management software is that it’s relatively plug and play.

It’s easy to set up, easy to use, and usually just works. With many of these systems, you’ll be able to get up and running in no time - often without having to speak to a human being.

On-boarding is pretty straightforward as well.

You may be setting up the majority of it yourself, including integrations, API keys, and all the initial data input that goes into the first setup of any platform.

This is all well and good, but typically doesn't include room for customization. You may be able to configure the platform and its functionality, but it's still within the lines that the vendor allows you to draw within.

This is why a typical SaaS platform is great up to a point.

Packaged and Proven

By their very nature, SaaS products are packaged solutions, designed to fit very nicely, be easy to use, and generally with little friction starting up.

This means you won’t need an extensive on-boarding process - you might even be able to do it all by watching pre-recorded videos, or reading documentation and implementing on your own.

While that’s not always the case, many providers offering SaaS products won’t provide as much free assistance - it may be an additional fee.

The same is true for times when you’ve been using the product for a while, and need help with a particular problem.

You’re expected to go go to a self-help section, and uncover the answer for yourself.

There’s always an option for customer support, but the wait times can be inconsistent, and the quality of support you get will depend on the tenure, helpfulness, and passion of the individual you speak with.

It’s kind of a mixed bag.

Because these products are very well packaged, features or integrations outside of the package aren’t given the same priority from vendors as they are by your internal team.

This makes troubleshooting an integration between two systems tricky, because they often point the finger at each other (this has happened to me!).

Being packaged also means that you’re given a default for hosting, security, and other add-ons.

There may be another option, but it usually comes with a price tag to match. If your industry requires strict compliance or regulation, this might limit your choices.

SkuNexus vs Traditional SaaS

Compared to a traditional SaaS platform, SkuNexus has a wider breadth of functions, allows for 100% customization, but will likely be more expensive.

Breadth of Functionality

The SkuNexus platform contains functions for order, fulfillment, inventory, warehouse, and vendor management.

That’s quite a lot - and each of those features go deep as well. You will not need another system alongside SkuNexus, since the intent is to be able to manage your entire back end in a single system.

This is different from a traditional SaaS model because it covers a wider breadth of functionality, instead of just doing one really well.

It isn’t for everyone though - if you don’t need all of the features we offer, stick with what you have, and focus on growth. There might come a time when we can help.

100% Customization

The true value that SkuNexus brings isn’t in the breadth or depth of functionality, but in the customization and automation that can be applied to the different features.

On the enterprise version, customers get full access to the source code behind the platform, that allow them to fundamentally change how the system works.

Each customer has the core product, and some additional customizations that are specific to them, and nobody else.

SkuNexus was built this way because every business has something very unique, or some process that works for them but nobody else, that necessitates a workaround when working in cookie cutter systems.

That doesn’t make sense to us, so we created a way for businesses to do what they really want to do.

Cost of SkuNexus vs Traditional SaaS

With a wider range of functions, more features, and a ton of customization, you’re going to end up paying about the same or more for SkuNexus. Of course, it’s all relative - once your business reaches a certain size, the investment in an order management system naturally needs to go up.

See how one SkuNexus client gained real-time inventory visibility, and automates 100% of their orders with SkuNexus.

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