In today’s business environment, every brand is looking to reduce costs, boost employee productivity, and maximize revenue.
However, in order to sustain growth, scale up the business, and stay relevant in a hypercompetitive market, brands will need to deliver an enriching and delightful customer experience as well.
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As a result, a large number of enterprise brands are looking to revamp their online shopping experience by investing in faster, more secure, and scalable enterprise e-commerce platforms. But, choosing the right platform from the plethora of solution vendors can be a major hassle. That’s why we have put together this handy guide to help you out!
Before we dive into the platform features and technologies, let us start by defining an enterprise business.
What Is An Enterprise Business?
An enterprise business can be run by a single person, in a partnership, as a limited company, as a corporation, or in any other form of a business association.
Some of the general characteristics of an enterprise business are:
- It offers multiple products and services
- It has multiple brands and a global presence to its credit
- It has many technical and financial resources at hand
- Its annual turnover is more than USD 7.5 Million
- It has its own Marketing Team
Challenges Faced by Enterprise eCommerce Brands
1. To Stand Out from The Competition
There are many enterprises that offer similar products and services. It is a huge challenge to tackle the competition and stay ahead or stand out from the crowd. A well-planned and thought out social media marketing strategy would definitely help.
2. Organizational Alignment
There are many departments in the enterprise that are affected by the eCommerce business. It is an organizational nightmare to ensure that everyone is on the same page where goals and processes are concerned.
3. Regional Challenges
To operate internationally, it is important to understand local laws, language, payment methods, and customs. Shipping and delivery in real-time are some more challenges. Creating a local environment and meeting all the requirements to increase trust in buyers is the key to success.
4. IT Challenges
The complexities out of IT arise due to past business decisions, mergers, growth, and acquisitions. Ecommerce IT infrastructure manages different kinds of industry-specific and local software.
It is not easy to make a decision in choosing the right platform, but with a specific plan in place, this choice can be done, which will transform your business to greater heights.
What is An Enterprise eCommerce Platform?
To put it very simply, it is a software program that supports an enterprise commerce business model and handles all the complex requirements that this kind of business demands.
In order to choose the right enterprise eCommerce platform for your business, you’ll need to first understand your requirements and the exact feature set.
Common Capabilities of An Enterprise eCommerce Platform
- Being able to manage different categories of products for customers in many locations for various stores
- Handling high volume orders, different currencies, and languages
- Working well with other systems in the company such as Accounting, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Inventory, and Third-Party Systems
- Being familiar with a customer’s purchasing history and making suggestions for future purchases based on this history
- The ability to scale to meet the possible high traffic demands of an enterprise business
- Fully customizable theme and template to create unique storefronts
- Personalizing the experience for users by addressing their needs and engaging their interests. Personalization increases customer satisfaction and retains customers.
- Adaptability to mobile commerce. Does it work well with both Android and iOS?
- The cloud-friendly Enterprise eCommerce Platform that offers security, network maintenance, hardware resources, and load balancing
- A highly secure solution that will protect customer details from all kinds of attacks and vulnerabilities
- One-time payment with a lifetime license model that offers scalability and flexibility to reduce the ongoing monthly expenses
- Effective maintenance and support services from the provider with a periodical review to check the proper working of the site
The evaluations required to choose the right eCommerce platform for your enterprise business can be pretty daunting and overwhelming. A lot of time and effort is spent considering all the features that are available in the market, the specific ones that are required for your business, installation, integration, learning, and the monetary costs. That is why it is very important to make the right decision in choosing a platform.
Guide to Choosing An Enterprise E-commerce Platform
1. Analyze Your Specific Needs
Look at every aspect of your business and get inputs from different areas such as business partners, the IT Team, and the Marketing Team because each team will have its own specific requirements. Figure out the main objectives and goals of setting up your eCommerce business. And what are the reasons for investing in an e-commerce software solution?
- Is it for more profits with low investment?
- Is it to boost conversion rates?
- Better integration with third-party vendors?
2. What Kind of Business Model Do You Have? (B2B, B2C or D2C)
Each business model caters to a specific customer base. Alternatively, you would want a solution that works with all three kinds of businesses. You could ask your vendor to show you examples of how their software has worked with all the models.
In the B2B space, the transaction cycles tend to be longer, and the communication between the buyer and the seller needs to be seamless.
The B2C and the D2C models require less communication, and the buying process is considerably faster. And you will not need B2B features like multi-level user access, split shipping, request for quotes, corporate accounts, and integration with a CRM.
3. Determine The Type of Hosting
Ecommerce platforms typically offer two types of hosting environments: On-premise and Cloud-hosted. There are different kinds of platforms to choose from. They are:
- Open Source
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
The open-source platform allows you to modify all the codes, and there is software and server control. But the onus of responsibility falls on the business.
For a monthly or an annual subscription fee, a SaaS vendor will host and maintain your databases. Investment in hardware or infrastructure is not required, and changes can be made from anywhere. But there is total vendor control, and the software can be accessed only when there is internet connectivity.
PaaS creates an environment that enables you to install your software databases and applications. It offers the most autonomy. But its scalability to meet the changing business needs is not up to the required speed and is a weak point.
An IaaS solution offers you the flexibility to use your current infrastructure and gives you more control. But the setup is time-consuming because it is your responsibility to install the operating systems, the payment processing systems, and so on.
4. Evaluate the Total Cost of Ownership
There are lots of expenses associated with an eCommerce platform implementation that will have a dramatic impact on the overall cost of the platform. Some of them are
- One-time payment
- Monthly or Annual charges
- Consulting fees
- Development costs and more
Choosing an enterprise e-commerce software can be a daunting task. There are several factors like omnichannel support, integrations, after-sales support, and user experience that you’ll need to consider before making a choice.
However, where most brands go wrong is by focusing too much on the current state of affairs and not planning well enough for the future. For instance, new-age technologies like AI and ML are likely to have a major impact on eCommerce, in terms of personalization and inventory management. It’s vital to ensure that the platform is future-ready and is capable of supporting these technologies when they eventually become the norm.