2020 taught us a lot about how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of retail in this day and age. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was almost as if every business needed to find a way to conduct commerce digitally in order to survive.
Thanks to this driver, the digital operating model, and more specifically the technology that will enable the digital experience in the ecommerce platform has become more of a focal point in boardrooms then ever before.
There are a few indicators that can determine when it’s time to look for a new ecommerce platform. Every business is different, but some of the most common factors are:
We do not have any ecommerce technology. The starting point, good news is you have a clean slate to build a solid foundation.
Our technology doesn’t have the functionality we need. Examples of this may be a business that has historically had a direct to consumer presence and now wants to enable ecommerce for their wholesale consumer. Be cautious about extending a technology to B2B that isn’t built for the complexities of such an environment.
Our wide technology environment has changed. Changes to other technology in the business that interoperates with your ecommerce platform may mean your current technology is no longer the best fit moving forward.
With the transformation or migration of your ecommerce platform taking place so infrequently, the majority of businesses may not have the experience available internally to manage a process such as this effectively.
A framework that we have developed here at Pattern for supporting our clients and partners navigate this process is the 8 D’s of technology selection.
A business can, and should go as deep as they need to in each of the framework areas to achieve the outcome, ultimately the goal of the framework is to help drive a final decision that everyone is truly comfortable meets the needs of the business. Some of the considerations we when running this process are:
Take people on the journey. It’s important that all stakeholders are kept abreast of the process and any key decision points. Gone are the days where a selection was run in an IT or Digital silo. Omnichannel experiences means your retail and logistics teams play a key role in what the ecommerce platform will be tasked with delivering.
Determine KPI’s for the technology. Technology change is inherently driven by business strategy, especially when the technology is customer facing. Ensure that you have metrics or outcomes attached to the selected technology, it will help with both the transformation development and the business-as-usual functions.
Seek independent guidance. We are extremely fortunate to have such a high number of very good partners in the network today. Partners typically only specialise in a subset of the technologies available in the market and will have limited understanding of other technologies available. Ensure you are seeing the complete opportunity to best fit your business needs.
Understand your investment capacity upfront. This should be your total investment, which will include technology, platform, and people costs over a multi-year period.
There is a very valid argument for both sides of this debate, however here at Pattern we see them as begin of equal strategic importance. It’s pivotal to treat your technology platform and implementation partner as a single relationship. You cannot understate the importance of a trusted partner that for the most part, holds the keys to the growth vehicle that you are investing in. A strategic partner can help you get the most out of the technology and ensure you are focusing on the right areas in a prioritized way. When reviewing your technology platforms as part of the process, ensure you are vetting the partner with the same robust process. Delve into their experience with the platform, your vertical, your stage in your business journey.
Ecommerce platforms are not a one size fits all, and for good reason as business inherently have differing needs technically, commercially, and strategically. For this reason, a side-by-side comparison of platforms will likely only provide the tip of the iceberg in terms of what these ecommerce platforms can do for your business and may provide more questions than answers.
That said, if you are looking at a starting point for your ecommerce platform conversations the below technology providers are present in the majority of businesses we have worked with in the Australian retail market.
Business to consumer (B2C). Adobe Commerce (Magento), Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Shopify & Shopify Plus, Big Commerce, Commerce Tools
Business to business (B2B). SAP Commerce, Adobe Commerce (Magento), Big Commerce, Optimizely (Episerver), Commerce Tools, Oro Commerce
If you’d like to work with a dedicated team of tech specialists who understand just how to make the most out of your ecosystem, contact us today and connect with a member from our team.
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.