E-commerce SaaS is in the cold, AI may become a "lifesaving straw".


In recent years, digital transformation has long been a key development direction for many enterprises, and more and more enterprises are hoping to enhance their competitiveness through digital transformation in order to gain more opportunities to achieve more sustainable and stable growth. In this context, SaaS (Software as a Service), which has many advantages such as low cost and high flexibility, has gradually come to the center stage and become an important tool for enterprise digital transformation. Thanks to the accelerated pace of enterprise digital transformation and the continued development of cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other new technologies, the SaaS industry has also achieved rapid development, and due to the continued expansion of application scenarios, a large number of vertical SaaS service providers have emerged one after another.

With the booming development of the e-commerce industry, the e-commerce SaaS can provide merchants with all kinds of software support and ancillary services related to the operation of the e-commerce SaaS has also risen in line with the trend, and realize the rapid development. Not only that, e-commerce SaaS has also become the largest vertical SaaS industry in China. In the e-commerce SaaS industry, many well-known enterprises have been born, and Yourzine and Weimeng are among the leaders.

E-commerce SaaS bottleneck

Even if the growth rate of Internet traffic is slowing down, the heat of e-commerce still hasn't receded, and there are still many players who continue to make efforts in the field of e-commerce. In the context of increasing e-commerce penetration, the demand for e-commerce SaaS has been continuously released, and many e-commerce SaaS service providers have achieved growth. Just good times do not last long, today's e-commerce SaaS companies are not only no longer in the past, but are facing heavy pressure, the day is not good.

For one thing, the SaaS industry's market attention weakened, investment and financing events to reduce. Previously, the SaaS industry is highly concerned about the capital market, many SaaS companies are frequently won financing, to promote their own development. However, the current SaaS industry has undergone a sea change, the market for SaaS industry attention continues to decline, investment and financing events and the amount of different degrees of decline. According to IT Orange data, from January to July 2023, a total of 50 investment and financing occurred in the SaaS industry, while the same period in 2021 and 2022 was 153 and 120; the amount of investment and financing was 4.352 billion yuan, while in the same period in 2021 it was 25.82 billion yuan and in 2022 it was 14.237 billion yuan.

Secondly, e-commerce SaaS profitability is difficult, and many companies are still facing profitability problems. Unlike other industries, SaaS companies often need to develop, maintain and improve their products by investing a lot of money, especially for new entrants, and usually also need to make themselves known through a lot of marketing and promotion to attract a larger number of users. However, due to the low willingness to pay and low unit price of domestic SME customers in general, the commercialization of e-commerce SaaS service providers is not a smooth road, and losses have become a common situation in the field of e-commerce SaaS.

The data show that from 2020 to 2022, the net loss of Weimeng's attributable net loss was 1.157 billion yuan, 783 million yuan, and 1.829 billion yuan, respectively. And from 2018 to 2021, Arzan will lose 726 million yuan, 916 million yuan, 546 million yuan, and 3.293 billion yuan, respectively. Even if it is known as the domestic e-commerce SaaS track "duo", there is praise and micro alliance is still in the red, facing the test of profitability, not to mention other enterprises.

Thirdly, e-commerce SaaS service providers have seen a loss of paid users. The reason why e-commerce SaaS service providers will be mired in losses, a large part of the reason is because of the high cost of various expenses, sales costs is the big head. However, even after paying high fees, the goal of e-commerce SaaS service providers to get more customers has not only not been achieved, but there has been a decrease in the number of paying merchants. The data shows that from 2020-2022, the churn rate of paid merchants of Weimeng is 26.1%, 23.3% and 26% respectively. Another set of data shows that from 2020-2022, the number of paid merchants in the stock of Yauzan will be 97,158, 88,395 and 83,439 respectively, with the total number decreasing year by year.

AI into a breakthrough cure?

To say what is the hottest in these two years? That must not be AI. Since the ChatGPT burst fire out of the circle, a wave of AI boom has been set off globally, major companies scrambling, one after another to the AI field, the domestic is set off a "hundred model war", major companies have launched their own large model products. AI this wind also blew to the SaaS field, many SaaS enterprises have launched AI products, for example, the above mentioned "plus my intelligence", micro alliance's "WAI". Behind the e-commerce SaaS service providers to force AI, what are the considerations?

For one thing, the combination of AI and SaaS can lower the threshold for merchants to use SaaS products and make SaaS products easier to use. In order to enhance the competitiveness of their own SaaS products, SaaS vendors will continue to polish and optimize their products, which also makes the functions of SaaS products more and more perfect, but the use of feature-rich SaaS products is more complicated, and users often need to spend more time to find the corresponding functions. And with the addition of AI, the effect is different. For example, the AI product "Plus My Intelligence" supports graphic promotion scenarios, and can automatically generate promotional tweets with better conversion rates and more preferred effects based on the recognized commodity information.

Secondly, by launching AI products, the e-commerce SaaS service providers can enhance the sense of use of SaaS products, optimize the customer experience, thereby enhancing the willingness of customers to pay. the reason why SaaS products are accepted by customers, the most critical factor is to improve efficiency and reduce costs. The combination of SaaS products and AI can further help merchants to achieve operational efficiency, but also allows SaaS products and services more personalized to provide customers with more accurate services to meet the diverse needs of different customers, thus further optimizing the customer experience, enhance the recognition of the product, and ultimately to achieve the enhancement of the willingness to pay.

In the current situation, more and more SaaS service providers are accelerating the layout of the AI field, SaaS service providers in the field of AI continued exploration and deep plowing, will again deepen the degree of combination of AI and SaaS products. The application of AI technology is also expected to bring new imagination and growth space for SaaS products and the industry as a whole. It is worth mentioning that many SaaS service providers have seen initial results by betting on new AI technology. Only, it is also worth noting that the application of AI can certainly bring new momentum for SaaS, but AI and SaaS industry to realize the depth of the combination is not overnight, SaaS service providers can be said to have a long way to go.

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