How to choose the right eCommerce platform

TechnologyMay 21st, 2020

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Kim Turley, Director of Technology & Innovation at Beyond shares tips on how all organisations can determine the proper eCommerce platform for their needs. 

From direct-to-consumer startups through to enterprise B2B corporations, virtually all industry verticals have a need for eCommerce in some shape or form. In recent years delivery and logistics have become more democratised, allowing smaller companies to provide their own direct services. Meanwhile, customers are increasingly becoming more comfortable making large purchases online and using mobile payments systems to speed up their checkout.

Even before the recent pandemic, eCommerce has become a vital component of many business strategies, increasing potential market size and cutting out the middle-person in customer transactions. The holy grail of eCommerce is a seamless online/offline experience, where customers can view in-store then buy online and vice-versa.

Challenges

For existing businesses however, the solution isn’t always so simple. Technology debt, customer drop-off and siloed organisational departments all present considerable challenges.

We partner with clients to map their customer touchpoints, find areas of focus and co-create an action plan to implement improvements. One of the most common questions we are asked is which eCommerce platform should I use? Should I stick with my current or migrate?

eCommerce approaches

When choosing a technology stack to support your business, there are many factors to consider. It’s useful to weigh the pros and cons of general approaches before diving into specific technologies, platforms or services. Not all options are considered equal!

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We can choose an eCommerce approach by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each of these approaches using a rubric (scoring guide). For technology solutions it’s often useful to compare the amount of customisation, how quickly they can be launched and how much they cost, using a traffic-light rating system that could look like this:

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Depending on the factors your business cares about, you may favour one approach over another. At Beyond we help our clients decide which approach is ideal for them and their requirements. We might recommend something like this:

If you want a solution which is quick-to-launch, low cost and happy to be tied to third-party services, then choose Software as a service.

If you want more customisation over your features with unique integrations, but don’t want to start from scratch, then choose Open-source.

If you want complete control over every aspect of the project and are prepared to invest to get the perfect user experience, choose Custom.

eCommerce frameworks

Once you’ve agreed on an approach, we can deep-dive into specific frameworks and services. There are so many to choose from. At Beyond we normally narrow down by looking at market leaders with high-adoption and community support. Examples might include:

Software as a service:

Open-source:

This is better illustrated by some examples:

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We partnered with west elm to re-imagine a seamless online/offline experience for their Home customers. We also designed and developed an eCommerce store for their enterprise customers, migrating products and customer data from Magento (Open-source) over to Shopify (Software as a service).

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We designed and built a custom eCommerce store for enterprise customers using proprietary Google Cloud technologies which meets strict scaling requirements.

As you can see, each situation is unique and platform recommendations can vary based on business requirements and user needs. We can help you find the right solution for you. Get in touch to see how we can partner together!