The Evolving Landscape of B2C Ecommerce

Are you embracing the latest commerce solutions?

Retailers nowadays rely very heavily on their online store and its mission critical for acquisition of new customers and retention of existing customers and we are certainly seeing increasing demand from retailers who want to upgrade and replatform their commerce infrastructure to continue to evolve and grow their business online.

Retailers in the past have historically chosen ecommerce platforms on the basis of their ability to support the basic elements including shopping baskets, online catalogues, merchandising and promotional activity.

However now in 2017, with consumers expecting richer online experiences, ultra-smooth purchase journeys, especially so for mobile, B2C retailers are having to step up their game around creating back office efficiencies that integrate their chosen platform with warehousing and fulfilment, and on the front end offers a seamless user experience every time. It’s now one of the key factors in driving competitive advantage.


Sophisticated B2C commerce technology is now expected to support;

  1. Personalisation, from detecting locations when a customer is searching on mobile to show real time stock to serving up product and promotions that is based on customer data.
  2. Robust onsite security. With the growing threat from hacking, businesses need to be fully armed to deal with protecting their ecommerce stores. Understanding ecommerce platform capabilities and risks in this area are key alongside the merchants own responsibilities.
  1. Being Agile and speed to market. Cloud based systems are increasingly in demand, especially Software as a Service (SAAS) deployments where providers manage the ecommerce solution in a cloud based solution for multi-tenants.
  1. Truly Omnichannel experiences; companies want their B2C ecommerce sites to be able to offer great engagements across web, mobile, social and including in-store. With the rise in services like click and collect, reserve in store and multiple collection and return points, businesses need their platform to be able to cater to these experiences efficiently.  Social selling is further on the rise and requires ecommerce platforms to be able to handle transactions that may be taking place off site.
  1. Data & Analytics. B2C retailers are investing more deeply in their reporting and analytics to make more informed decisions about the website experience, merchandising and promotions.

What changes are taking place in the industry?

More established companies are making acquisitions across the ecommerce space, private equity firms are making major investments and new entrants are entering the markets.

For example, in 2014 – Siris Capital paid $840m to take Digital River private, in 2015, Permira acquired Magento from eBay and last year in 2016 – Oracle spent $9.3bn acquiring NetSuite and its eCommerce solution SuiteCommerce, that same year, Salesforce bought Demandware for $2.8bn

Foresters recent research from Q1 2017 has undertaken an evaluation of 13 B2C commerce platforms

Interestingly, Forrester then applied weightings across each platform with scores based on a scale of 0 (weak) to 5 (strong) across a wide range of offerings including consumer facing digital touchpoints, solution architecture, experience management, company vision, total cost of ownership, and more.

Two of the platforms Williams Commerce are partnered with were identified as a Leading Player and Strong Performer.

Leading Player; Salesforce Commerce Cloud; with its integration of commerce into the Salesforce ecosystem of marketing services and sales makes it a formidable force and it continues to be a strong option for retailers looking for an established and scalable SaaS solution. Customers expressed optimism for the future of the platform, but also anxiousness around pricing model changes.

Strong Performer; Magento; Since November 2015, Magento has released Magento 2 and a cloud based Enterprise solution to address scalability issues. Despite initial challenges with Magento 2, retailers are now starting to upgrade to Magento 2, which is an evolution in terms of performance capabilities and has a new fixed-fee pricing model.  The variety of extensions for Magento 2 via the Magento market place is well liked, but there is a little way to go in terms of popular Magento 1 modules made available for Magento and there is much anticipation around Magento 2.2 expected to become available from July 2017.

Magento 2 is a strong fit for Magento 1 customers who prefer open source and for business looking for a more affordable option.

If you’re entering the next phase of growth for your online business and exploring options to upgrade commerce platforms, call the experienced team at Williams Commerce to have an initial discussion around options.

Williams Commerce also offer ecommerce solutions and deployments on popular platforms including Shopify, WordPress and a new market entrant for B2B, the cloud bases SaaS platform; Cloudfy


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