What Commerce Marketers Need Now – Ecommerce Platform Benchmark
For the past couple of years, we’ve surveyed our customers about their ecommerce platform. Initially, it was a pragmatic activity: We wanted to know what direction our customers were taking. But along the way, we’ve discover ed that the survey provides much more information that is worthy of analysis – and sharing.
We’ve learned that companies with system integrators are more likely to consider re-platforming frequently (every year or two), that fewer platforms are being selected, and that half of the respondents could be looking to change platforms at the next evaluation period.And while routine implementation (a well-functioning website, for instance) was a key focus for companies just a few years ago, today, they’re interested in more sophisticated features and solutions to increase personalization and help build loyalty.
Another interesting finding is how our customers have come to view cloud-based services. A few years ago, on-premise tools were the norm. Today, cloud-based SaaS systems have gained dominance. Three years ago, our customers were a bit wary of cloud-based offerings.Now, that isn’t an issue at all.
The Role of the SI
An ongoing relationship with a system integrator (SI) can be critical to the success of a company’s ecommerce platform. Fifty percent of companies that use an ecommerce platform(vs. an in-house solution) report using an SI. As expected, there is a significant decline in SI use for companies of all sizes if they’ reusing a homegrown system. Just 26% of companies that report using in-house solutions also use a system integrator.
The presence or absence of an SI proved critical when we got to our next question: How often do you consider upgrading or re-platforming? Forty-eight percent of respondents answered more than five years, never or no plans. Given some of the difficulties that can come with are-platform, it makes sense that this is not a decision that commerce marketers take lightly.
But what is more revealing is the influence of SIs on the process. Across all respondents, having an SI played a significant role in whether you plan to reconsider your platform in the future. While most companies without an SI have no set schedule for re-platforming or upgrading, two-thirds of companies with SIs have a regular schedule for examining their platform. And just as the mid-market tends to use the broadest range of platforms, they’re also the most likely to evaluate switching.
Thirty-five percent of mid-market customers said they consider looking every three to five years vs. 26% for both the small to midsize and enterprise customers.
What Matters in an Ecommerce Platform?
What key ecommerce platform features did respondents say they want or don’t want? The second part of that question was much more interesting, especially as it relates to how the answers have changed over time.
In 2014, only 15% of respondents considered the hosting model (SaaS or on-premise) unimportant. In 2016, that percent doubled (30%). In addition, the license cost model was considered unimportant by just 5% of respondents this past year, while 23% consider it
unimportant today. Even the price seems less important than it did two years ago (3% vs. 11%).
We also asked an open-ended question about what is important going forward. Implementing a platform or website was the top concern in 2014, with 60% of respondents mentioning some variation of this. But in 2016, only 34% gave answers that suggested they were concerned about this. Marketing automation on the other hand? Twice as many respondents (18% vs. 9%) said this was a concern in 2016.
We believe this reflects an increased stability in ecommerce platforms coupled with more interest in getting the most value from the solutions and platforms respondents currently use.
The commerce marketing technology landscape is starting to settle into a rhythm – at least for small to midsize and enterprise companies and those that have in-house solutions. It remains more dynamic among mid-market companies that have a broader selection of choices.
Cloud-based solutions have won acceptance, and regardless of platform type, marketers are less concerned with fundamentals such as implementing a successful website, and more interested in the types of services and features that can drive loyalty and long-term success. They’ll increasingly choose platform, SI and other types of commerce services and solutions because they drive better engagement with customers. The article was first published by Oracle + Bronto. Contact Musato Technologies to learn more about our ICT services.