Is your eCommerce website store rapidly expanding? Is your customer base quickly growing at a speed you can’t cope up? Does your website store lags down from time to time because of the high volume of traffic? Could your current ecommerce solutions platform still handle all the increasing loads of your website store?
Is it really high time for you to switch to an enterprise platform?
What is really an enterprise ecommerce platform?
What is an Enterprise Ecommerce Platform?
Enterprise eCommerce platform is a specific type of EAS (Enterprise Application Software) that caters to large businesses doing ecommerce or online shopping. For ecommerce website owners, enterprise ecommerce platform is also called shopping cart software.
Since enterprise ecommerce entails different complexities in its needs and goals, the software or platform must be also big and complex enough to handle all these requirements, but must be easy to use. With an efficient enterprise ecommerce platform, all of the concerned departments and personnel handling different aspects of the business are organized together into a single umbrella, making it possible for a more seamless communication and management.
Simply put, an enterprise ecommerce platform is a centralized solution that handles and manages the company-wide solutions for the following:
• Staff Management (Admin Accounts Roles)
• Order Processing
• Product Line Inventory
• Sales and Marketing
• Shipping and Taxation
• And all other related aspects of an online store.
However, one size does not fit all in ecommerce. Enterprise ecommerce softwares are usually categorized into different criteria.
One category is based on the type of hosting provider:
• Cloud Hosted – The type of hosting where your servers are actually in the “cloud.” This means that you don’t have to build your own physical infrastructure to accommodate the servers of your website. Since an enterprise-level ecommerce website is complex and big, it needs bigger servers for its database, uptime, and high volume of traffic. Having a cloud hosted server is advantageous in that sense, but it does not come cheap too. You’ll need a trusted and reliable hosting provider so your website can always be up and running even at times when there is a high volume of traffic like Black Friday Shopping.
• Self-Hosted – In most cases, this is usually paired with open-source platforms. Self-hosting means you are hosting your own website. You need to build your own physical infrastructure to run the servers for both the back-end and front-end of your website store. You will need a bigger investment for this. But, the advantage is that you can take full control of the server side, thus, you can do a lot of customizations.
Another category is based on the permission level of customizations:
• Open Source – This is simply a platform wherein you have access to the source code, meaning you can edit the code and implement different modules for your website store. With an open source platform, you can do full customization of you website, provided you meet the technical expertise required for tweaking the source code.
• Closed Source – A closed source platform is what you get when you avail it from a third-party provider. You don’t need to have the technical skill of a developer or designer because the back-end is handled by the provider. The catch though, is that you are limited on what you can implement on the website store. Any customizations you want will be limited to what the provider approves.
But as for the cost and expenses, there’s hardly an enterprise ecommerce solution that is free. There is, however, a free open-source platform but the cost for additional integrations are not totally free. Maintaining an enterprise-level website store needs investment and that includes cost for both the deployment and recurring expenses.
Below are some of the top enterprise ecommerce platforms today:
• Shopify Plus – A closed-source, cloud-hosted enterprise ecommerce platform. Hosting and licensing starts at $1,200 per month. Recurring expenses would depend on how big your ecommerce website store is and how much customizations you want to implement. Shopify Plus is well known for its aesthetics, having a huge collection of templates and designs from both the company itself and from third-party providers.
• Magento Enterprise – An open-source, self-hosted enterprise ecommerce platform. To save on expenses for hosting, you can avail hosting from a third party provider. But, just recently, Magento released its Ecommerce Cloud, which allows merchant to avail of hosting services. Magento Enterprise licensing usually starts at $15,000 to $18,000 per year. Magento is well known for its open source platform that includes a huge collection of features and functionalities – a haven for developers and designers who want to take full control of their website stores.
So, What Does an Enterprise Ecommerce Platform Offers?
The enterprise ecommerce playing field is a totally different level. Once you enter the playing field with your enterprise ecommerce solutions provider, your website store can enjoy a long list of advantages.
• White Glove Support System – Website stores running an enterprise ecommerce platform enjoy a higher level of technical support from the providing company. There’s always a dedicated merchant manager to help you out every step of the way, from deploying your website store to maintenance, sales and marketing, and scaling up your business.
• Virtually Unlimited Scalability – With an enterprise ecommerce platform you don’t need to worry about growing your business. You can scale up to as big as you want and enjoy unlimited:
o Product Inventory
o Uptime maintained at 99.99%
• Integrated Management System – You can run your enterprise level business in a seamless system under a single platform. This means that all information relating to every department in your business is centralized. You can:
o Send information about shipping and inventory to your warehouse.
o CRM functionality allows you to implement sales and marketing strategies to boost sales.
o Integrate POS system from your physical stores to your website store.
o Integrate all your stores into a single access.
When all of the data are accessible from a single management system, it is a lot easier to run your business, prevent any glitches, and apply the necessary improvements. Management is centralized and makes it easier for all team members to work seamlessly.
• Advanced API Integrations and Extensions – To maximize the capability of your business, an enterprise ecommerce platform allows you to integrate as many extensions and add-ons as you want for your different business needs:
o Shipping and Inventory Tracking
o Sales and Marketing
o Wholesale Outsourcing
o Accounting and Billing
o Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
o CRM platforms
So, is it High Time for You to Switch?
Do you really need all these features and functions?
Take note that these are just a few of the things that you can enjoy when upgrading to an enterprise ecommerce platform. These are just the core features and functions. There’s a lot more that you can discover in an enterprise ecommerce platform.
To answer that, you need to answer the following questions:
• Does your product line includes multiple types of products and services?
• Does each department of your business utilize the same:
o Technical Resources
o Financial Resources
o Management Team
• Is your business earning at least $10M in annual revenues and still growing?
• Is your business outgrowing rapidly your current ecommerce platform?
The bottom-line is that you have been in the business for quite some time now. You know the ins- and- out of the industry, especially your very own retail business. In fact, with your growing business, every decision counts. And just doing a trial and error run won’t cut it anymore.
You need a solution that could virtually allow you to scale-up with unlimited functionality – a system that won’t outgrow your business no matter how big you grow.
If you are in such a situation, then you must be ready to make the leap of faith and upgrade your platform to an enterprise ecommerce.