As a business at the enterprise level, choosing a new eCommerce platform is a huge undertaking. You not only have to take a number of internal and external stakeholders’ needs into account when choosing an appropriate solution but also sell them on adopting it. While the start of a re-platforming project can feel like a massive integration and technology mountain to climb with many risks and unknowns, by planning and doing thorough requirements gathering from the start, you can choose a platform that is flexible, extensible, and scalable. You will be able to match the needs of your growing business and support your customers with the unbeatable experience they have some to associate with your brand.
The eCommerce platform landscape is a sea of options if you’re a small or medium-sized business. But for those brands in the enterprise eCommerce space, you may find the number of platforms that can really handle your business needs shrinks considerably. And as an eCommerce business at the enterprise end of the market, achieving your exact requirements is critical. After all, your brand is on the line. You can’t afford to have customer data breaches, periods of site downtime, or a disjointed user experience.
An enterprise eCommerce platform is a software system (either self-hosted or on-premise) that serves the complex requirements of a large business. Enterprise-level systems are scaled to your business size and growth roadmap. A good platform should be able to not only meet your needs now, but also grow with your future sales volumes. These platforms also usually have advanced features and functionality and can be customized to your business.
Choosing the right one depends on many factors related to:
- What the business needs to run efficiently
- What the ultimate business goals are
- What challenges with your existing system you’re hoping to resolve
In this deep dive, we’ll cover how to determine what your eCommerce platform needs are and compare popular enterprise eCommerce platforms that are currently leading the market.
Top-7 eCommerce Platforms Reviewed & Compared - 2022 Report
What are the main business objectives behind the re-platforming?
- The best way to figure out what you need is to clearly define where it is you want to go.
- Are you hoping to reduce costs and increase returns?
- Do you want to provide a more user-friendly interface to boost conversion rates?
- Is your current platform unable to keep pace with your growing business?
- Do you need a platform that better integrates with third-party solutions?
- Are you trying to avoid being locked in to using particular vendors or service providers?
Identify potential restrictions and bottlenecks.
- Is your current platform outdated, unstable, and unreliable for handling your peak traffic conditions?
- Are key information systems in your organizations (ERP, OMS, WMS, etc.) difficult to integrate with your existing platform?
- Is your total cost of ownership increasing due to required headcount in IT, unforeseen maintenance costs, or platform consolidation requirements due to a recent merger or acquisition?
- Do you have any concerns about PCI compliance or the security of your existing system?
- Do you rely heavily on your hosting company for server performance?
- What are your pain points?
What are critical existing ecommerce features and integrations?
- Does your business require any specific integrations (payment gateways, etc.)?
- Does your business require specific page building functionality or catalog requirements?
- Do you need to support an omnichannel strategy? Are you looking to expand to brick and mortar stores, sell on social media channels, or open other sales channels?
- Do you have more than one online store that needs to be supported on the same platform?
- Whatever is absolutely critical to the functioning of your business should be outlined here.
- Despite your pain points, you’re still operating an ecommerce business at the enterprise level, so your current platform is obviously doing some things right.
- It’s important to also make note of all existing features and functionality you need to maintain with your new system (whether they’re native to your current platform…or a hack or work around your team has engineered).
What features would be nice to have?
- “While making the transition, we strategically chose to make a couple quick-win optimizations to improve the customer experience and aesthetics of our sites.” – Kinsey Butler, Manager of Ecommerce Strategy at Skullcandy.
- Of course, if you’re going to go through the trouble of re-platforming, you don’t just want to maintain the status quo critical items and address your current pain points. SkullCandy made the leap from Salesforce Commerce Cloud to BigCommerce and shared this about their re-platform experience.
- Don’t forget to include your wish list of items that would be nice-to-have even if they aren’t absolute must-haves. You can keep these in mind to consider once you are comparing platforms that meet all of your critical line items.
What are the key systems integrations required?
No ecommerce platform is an island. Your platform has to be able to integrate effectively with the key systems your business uses (unless you’re prepared to move from these as well). These may include your ERP, WMS, OMS, CRM, and others.
Future systems integrations required for phase two
At this stage, it’s also important to consider where your company is headed. Your next platform should provide the flexibility, scalability, and extensibility to grow with you as you enter new markets (like brick and mortar locations, an online marketplace, and any other sales channels.) Take time to consider what your future plans and goals will require in terms of features and integrations with your platform. Make sure your new platform can support them. You don’t want to be going through the headache of a re-platform just a few years down the road.