eCommerce solutions come in all shapes and sizes. Some contain a lot of functionality ‘prepacked’ while others are designed to keep as much flexibility as possible and be able to fit different work processes or just quickly support changes in processes. We call that Composable Commerce and headless front ends, MACH tech stack thinking but also many partial solutions for product data syndication are examples. In general, eCommerce solutions can also be classified as Top-tier, Mid-tier and Lower-tier solutions with related functionality, capabilities and prices. Reputable agencies like Gartner, Forrester and IDC do assess the different solutions, but always from a general perspective. But the best solution for your eCommerce issue depends heavily on the context and requirements your business is in. So, a “fit for purpose” selection process is a requirement to arrive at a good choice.
At Squadra, we see an eCommerce platform as the set of many different functionalities and the various links to other systems in your IT architecture, directly intended to allow customers to choose and buy. These functionalities can be housed in 1 system or can be realized through a best-of-breed strategy, in which you merge different partial solutions into 1 platform. One route is no worse or better than the other, but the choice between them depends on specific eCommerce needs and the IT & Martech capabilities of the organization.
Whether you are looking for 1 complete solution or pursuing a best-of-breed strategy, every selection process starts with the commercial strategy, customer segments and all ordering channels currently used. In B2B, eCommerce platform is often an ordering channel in addition to other channels such as EDI, exchanges and personal sales, where quotation support may also be in scope. Specific requirements for B2B eCommerce may be product feed, price cloud or order management solutions. In B2C and D2C, an eCommerce platform is often the central point between all channels such as Google search & shopping, social media and marketplaces. Here wishes for functionalities in the loyalty area, market place integrations or connection with own physical stores can come into play.
With that, Squadra’s approach always starts with formulating the vision of the eCommerce channel as part of the total channel mix and working out the customer journeys of customer personas across those channels. Once that’s in place, then we can work out the various functional requirements. Starting with our predefined list of stories, we work out all those functional needs, which then forms the basis for a Request for Proposal (RFP) to various solution vendors.
Besides desired functionalities, the integration of the eCommerce (sub)solution into the existing IT architecture also plays a role. This often remains underexposed and leads to surprises and additional costs during implementation. In the Squadra approach we explicitly consider the integration with for example existing ERP, PIM, and CRM systems and possible middleware links. This leads to the technical needs in the RFP.
Based on functional and technical needs, we work with you and your team to shortlist appropriate solutions from the long list of possibilities. In doing so, we also take into account the IT & Martech capabilities of the organization, now and in the future. We then guide the selection process to the final choice.
We help you with this using our fast selection method that includes hundreds of predefined requirements. This proven method and toolset has been developed over the past 10 years and successfully applied to many customers.