2013 will see significant investment in e-commerce technology and platforms as demand for e-commerce increases and as companies innovate their multi channel retail offerings. The real winner will be platform providers that provide true commerce suites. The concept of a commerce suite has evolved out of a driving requirement to combine what use to be very different technology, retail and marketing angles. Each one of these angles meant that you would end up with a mash up of technologies like content management for your front end promotional and marketing platform, catalog management for your product information and then finally your e-commerce engine to take the order, take payment, check for fraud and pass off to the appropriate fulfilment partner. To then combine this with all the subsequent technologies that need to be deployed for functionality such as analytics. This miss match of technologies has meant that it has been difficult for companies to evolve and innovate their e-commerce platforms to take into account different e-trading ecosystems such as being able to work with partners such as Amazon, Apple(app), eBay, Google or even different approaches to commerce as demonstrated in China. It also has prevented them from innovating for different devices, channels and from providing a true omni channel experience between both online and instore worlds. In addition to this the world of fulfilment has been changing, no longer are companies able to rely on one fulfilment model.
Organisations are faced with multiple fulfilment partners, multiple types of fulfilment from traditional ship to consumer models, to ship to store an in store pickup models. Each require different levels of complexity and even different levels or integration requirements. Today commerce suite platforms provide a one stop platform that bring all this together under one architecture and one technology. Commerce platforms have evolved to combine content management, product information management, order management, customer services, analytics, fulfilment management promotions and campaign capability under one umbrella ecosystem, therefore allowing companies to be more agile and more costs effective when operating their e-commerce infrastructure. The evolution of these suite of which we rate Hybris as the best is causing companies to think and take on the replatform of their current e-commerce estates.
Amaze are seeing a number of our customers and partners now undertaking these projects, however it requires a unique capability;-
1) The right commerce suite platform which has the capability of providing one platform for all commerce requirements from marketing platforms, content management platform, campaign platform, brand platform, product platform, promotions platform, order platform and finally fulfilment management.
2) The right commerce architecture that works with the suite, the fulfilment partners, your e-store design and your multi channel retail strategy.
3) The right model that takes into account your consumers, your markets and regions. But also takes into account economies of scale between your stores.
4) The right integration approach that is open and encompass common standards. Integration needs to be plug play allowing different fulfilment models and partners
5) The right retail control and optimisation approach that works with the site, the commerce suite and the data produced by your consumers to optimise trading, provide feedback and ultimately help provide intelligence to improve sales.
Amaze have developed a unique approach of consortium building, technology capability and the strengths of a traditional agency to provide the necessary one stop approach to re platforming your e-commerce functions. This traditionally is the realm of system integrators, but we have found that, as with the evolution of commerce suites, it requires a new type of business to deal with the challenges of todays e-commerce requirements.
So moving into 2013 we are going to see an 12% increase in online retail growth in the US and Europe but a far bigger percentage increase in e-commerce technology investment. We will also see agency’s really come to grips with the commerce world with them starting to undertake the challenge of building significant commerce practices.