If you’re involved in the running of an enterprise business, you will already know the importance of implementing business solutions that are purpose-built for large organizations. The needs of enterprise businesses are unique and require a specialized approach.
But what size business exactly is considered an enterprise business?
Enterprise businesses are defined as large organizations that employ hundreds or thousands of employees and so process a high volume of business transactions, whether that’s sales of products or services. Often, these companies are huge multinationals with several office locations around the world.
Because of their size and impact, enterprise businesses are different from small or medium-sized companies in their scope, scale, and needs.
Hence, the tools and services that enterprise businesses use to run their day-to-day operations are those that have been designed with this business type in mind.
Typically, an enterprise business requires solutions that are powerful and can be implemented on a large scale.
A New Year: A New Opportunity to Assess Your Current Ecommerce Solution
Many companies naturally use the fourth quarter to reflect on the year and look towards making strategic changes ahead of the new calendar or financial year.
One such area of scrutiny if you are an enterprise business is likely to be your ecommerce solution.
In particular, you’ll want to consider whether your current ecommerce solution has the power to manage all the complex tasks involved in your business at once, such as:
- The ability to manage multiple product categories across numerous locations
- Integration with accounting and customer relationship management (CRM) systems
- Whether it offers customer recommendations based on powerful AI technology
- The potential to scale as customer traffic increases
When evaluating the future needs of your business, it’s essential to pay particular attention to accelerating trends and one such recent trend is the vast increase in online transactions, B2B and B2C.
Forecasts indicate a continual increase in online shopping well into 2021. If you sell to consumers, you may already be seeing an increase in the number of daily transactions you process.
Similarly, if you sell a product or service to other businesses, you may also see a growth in online sales in our increasingly digital economy.
Therefore, many enterprise businesses require an ecommerce solution that is purpose-built with these growing ecommerce needs in mind.
With ecommerce becoming an increasingly important consideration for all types of enterprise businesses, you may find that it’s the right time for your own business to upgrade to an enterprise ecommerce platform.
Choosing the right enterprise ecommerce platform is essential in ensuring the smooth running of your company’s online sales, including crucial touchpoints such as product fulfilment and customer service.
Why Your Enterprise Needs a Purpose-Built Ecommerce Software
If your company has recently grown, it may be time to upgrade your ecommerce solution. What once worked for your business when it was smaller may no longer fit the bill as your company grows.
Or perhaps you just haven’t yet found an ecommerce solution that’s the right fit for your needs.
Whichever the case, it’s important to understand the different types of ecommerce software solutions, what each one offers, and how it can help your business.
Using ecommerce software that is built especially for the enterprise space means that the way in which the software has been designed is underpinned with an understanding of how enterprise businesses operate and what it takes to power a global company’s needs.
Therefore, ecommerce software explicitly designed for the enterprise can provide some substantial benefits, including:
- Improved sales engagement
- Multi-site capabilities
- Better brand awareness
- Streamlining and efficiency
Understanding the Different Types of Ecommerce Software
There are many different brands on the market offering ecommerce solutions, but the platforms all differ slightly from one another. So, it’s useful to understand the different types so that you find the solution to suit your specific needs.
On-site. With an on-site ecommerce solution, it means that your software is stored to your company’s local server. Because the data is stored locally, it can often offer superior speed, security and scalability compared to that of a web application.
Cloud-based/SaaS. Cloud-based software means that the software is web-hosted and « sold as a service » (SaaS). This means that your company won’t be hosting the software on your own servers, but instead will access the software via a cloud-hosted solution online.
The benefit of this is that you won’t need to invest in physical servers (hardware) on which to host the software because the entire solution, including storage, database, and networking capabilities, can be accessed via a cloud-based subscription model.
Open-Source. Open-source software is a type of software that has a fully transparent source code that can be developed by you. This is a very collaborative software type that will be useful if you want to build your own enterprise ecommerce solution but want a “base” from which to start.
Open-source solutions mean you’ll be able to customize your ecommerce platform, but you will need skilled developers to do this; it’s not a typical a “plug and play” type solution.
It’s also worth noting that some of these types overlap. So, for example, a cloud-based SaaS service could also be open-source. There are benefits to each type, so understanding the different types and how they will work specifically for your business needs will help you find the type that is right for you and your business.
Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform for Your Enterprise Type
We’ve already discussed why it’s crucial to choose the platform that’s right for your business. To drill down even further to find that perfect fit solution, consider your business type to choose the most suitable software.
Clarifying and understanding your audience allows you to pinpoint precisely what you’ll need from an enterprise ecommerce platform.
For example, are you a business-to-business (B2B) company? Or are you a B2C (business-to-consumer) company? Or perhaps your business is best described as DTC (direct-to-consumer)? Being absolutely clear about who you are selling to will dictate which type of software will be best suited for your needs.
If you are a B2B business, a cloud-based solution may be best as it is most agile and offers a large amount of data storage. If your company has a team of programming experts on board, however, you may wish for the software to be open-source, so that you can improve upon it and create more bespoke solutions.
On the other hand, if you are a B2C business that holds lots of sensitive individual customer data, you may choose an on-site solution. All data will then be stored locally on a physical server and won’t pass through a cloud-based server. This means that data can be stored more securely, in accordance with regulatory requirements.
Identifying your business type and the needs of your customers will help you have the right conversation with software providers when vetting the right ecommerce platform to choose.
So, what are your options?
The 7 Best Enterprise Ecommerce Platforms for 2021
As the New Year approaches, it’s an excellent opportunity for you to upgrade to a new enterprise ecommerce platform.
When it comes to looking at specific enterprise ecommerce platforms available on the market, we’ve rounded up a list of the contenders, including the pros and cons of each one.
1. Magento Enterprise
Owned by Adobe, a well-known and trusted software company, Magento is a self-hosted, open-source enterprise ecommerce platform. Because it is open-source, it gives your company the flexibility and power to come up with a precise ecommerce solution that’s right for your business.
While Magento doesn’t offer a customer support team, it does, however, boast a large ecommerce developer community, which can help you with any questions and issues.
The drawbacks of using Magento are that you must purchase your own hosting, security certificates, and domain name, something that is often included with other enterprise ecommerce platforms. Furthermore, every few years Magento updates its software, and coping with these updates can be costly and time-consuming.
2. Salesforce Commerce Cloud
If you own more than five online stores, Salesforce Commerce Cloud may be the right solution, as it considers those with five or more online stores as enterprise users and caters to them with its enterprise-level platform.
In addition to powering ecommerce transactions, Salesforce also offers a mobile-first point of sale (POS) within its platform. By doing this, it’s also able to provide top-notch omnichannel selling support. This includes providing data-led customer insights to help you better personalize your shopping recommendations.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is also a useful solution for enterprise businesses that sell internationally, as it can manage multiple storefronts within one backend solution that processes numerous currencies and supports numerous languages. It offers 24/7 customer support and seamlessly integrates into other Salesforce products, including its well-known and widely adopted CRM.
The drawbacks of Salesforce Commerce Cloud include the need for technical knowledge. This is not a “plug and play” product for those lacking technical expertise. Because pricing is based on sales percentage, Salesforce can also be a more expensive solution.
3. BigCommerce Enterprise
While BigCommerce doesn’t specifically provide enterprise pricing packages, it offers useful support to enterprise users. This includes custom filtering, staging development, integration with multiple payment gateways, and support of cross-channel commerce.
It can handle major traffic spikes (useful during key holiday shopping periods), supports both B2C and B2B businesses with tailored solutions, and has a massive array of integrations with various CRM and ERP systems.
Its pricing model is based on sales volume, however, which is a drawback to companies looking to scale because the price will increase as transactions increase.
4. Shopify Plus
Shopify Plus is a robust solution for both smaller and enterprise businesses. It is fully hosted, meaning that technical issues such as code, security, and bandwidth are all taken care of out of the box. It’s a cost-effective solution with 24/7 customer service, and you’ll get a dedicated account manager.
Shopify Plus can handle an impressive 10,000+ transactions per minute, ensuring that even your holiday sales season will run smoothly. It also offers over 1,500 plug-ins that can integrate with your website to solve problems from marketing to customer service.
The cost of plug-ins can add up, however. The more premium features you add-on, the higher the price point becomes. This is in contrast to competitors which offer additional features under one pricing umbrella. Shopify’s code also does not lend itself to customization. So, if you’re after a custom design, you may not be able to implement it.
Related: Learn more about eDesk’s Shopify integration
OpenCart is an open-source enterprise ecommerce platform that has an intuitive interface and is pretty easy to use. It supports enterprise businesses really well by offering unlimited products, supporting multiple currencies and shipping methods, and over 20 payment gateways.
Because it is user-friendly, this makes OpenCart an excellent option for beginners. However, this also means that OpenCart is not particularly adaptable to customization, so if you choose to customize, your business may incur additional costs of bringing on board a dedicated PHP developer.
In terms of fees, OpenCart is free, but charges additional fees for hosting, domain, and web extensions or plug-ins, all of which also add up.
6. Oracle CX Commerce
Oracle CX Commerce, previously known as Oracle Commerce Cloud, is a heavyweight player in the enterprise space. When it comes to enterprise ecommerce platforms, Oracle CX Commerce offers a powerful suite of products and services.
Starting at $150,000, it comes with a high price-tag, but in return, you’ll get full end-to-end support for everything to do with your ecommerce needs, including accounting, shipping, multi-store management, order processing and much more. It has put a lot of effort into its mobile experience, so it’ll work hard to optimize your store for mobile shoppers. It also lends itself well to scalability, growing with your business.
While it’s certainly powerful, the cons of using Oracle CX Commerce include the fact that it does not support one-click checkout and does not integrate with online marketplaces such as Walmart Marketplace, Amazon, or eBay. That said, it does integrate with products outside its own product suite, making it a versatile choice for enterprise businesses looking to scale quickly.
7. Adobe Commerce Cloud
Adobe Commerce Cloud integrates fully with all of Adobe’s other enterprise tools which is helpful if you already use Adobe products in other areas of your business. Noteworthy features include the ability to deploy hybrid B2B and B2C ecommerce models, run multiple sites and brands, and build web applications.
Adobe Commerce Cloud has also integrated Magento into its enterprise ecommerce platform, making it compatible with Magento extensions and so is highly customizable.
Furthermore, it offers proprietary data collection capability that helps your business drive customer loyalty and increase sales.
It can, however, be challenging to use for new users who aren’t already familiar with Adobe products. There can also be a steep learning curve if you are unfamiliar with customizing ecommerce platforms. Because it charges by the number of seats (similar to Adobe’s other products), this means that Adobe Commerce Cloud can be expensive for enterprise businesses with numerous team members working within the store.
Make 2021 your best year for solving enterprise ecommerce problems
All of the above enterprise ecommerce platforms offer good solutions if you are an enterprise business looking to upgrade your ecommerce platform in 2021 and beyond.
While the decision to purchase and implement a new ecommerce platform should not be taken lightly, fortunately, it’s clear that enterprise companies are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the right software vendor.
By taking adequate time to understand your ecommerce platform requirements and mapping them against the various offerings of these top enterprise ecommerce platforms, you’ll be well on your way to making the right decision for your business in the coming year.
eDesk is purpose built for entreprise ecommerce businesses. Request a demo to learn more about how eDesk can improve your customer service in 2021.