Skip navigation

eCommerce Platforms: What’s Next & How to Choose the Right Platform for your Business

David Beale

Director, Technology Solutions, EPAM UK
Blog
  • Retail & Distribution

For many large organizations currently using enterprise eCommerce platforms, it’s decision time; upgrade, re-platform or choose ‘something else’. For long-term users of these platforms, this conundrum is nothing new – the delivery of new functionality and ‘end-of-life’ fears make this a regular occurrence for users. In 2018, though, things are a little different:

  • The existing major platform vendors are in the process of ‘re-inventing’ their solutions from monolithic, on-premise applications to differing levels of flexible cloud solutions
  • New eCommerce platforms have been introduced, which offer alternative approaches
  • The major cloud providers have invested heavily and created an extensive suite of functionality and tools
  • The open source world has matured and now provides a complete set of proven frameworks for building scalable, feature-rich solutions
  • There are now thousands of niche solutions making up the eCommerce ecosystem that are often provided by nimble start-ups

So, what’s the right decision for your business? As always, it depends.

THE NEW eCOMMERCE PLATFORM IMPERATIVES

Today, most eCommerce functionality can be considered commoditized; cart, checkout, faceted search, product details and promotions are the ‘table stakes’ for any eCommerce project. To stand out in the crowd, your site needs to differentiate itself, providing compelling reasons why customers should interact, purchase and continue doing business with your company.

Fast innovation is key to this – you need to experiment with new ideas, such as new payment methods, loyalty ideas, multi-channel touchpoints, in-store integration and creative delivery options.  Some ideas will work and some won’t, but it’s crucial that you’re not standing still.

To support this mindset, four fundamentals need to be in place:

  • An eCommerce platform that is agile and flexible in response to change and innovation
  • A continuous delivery approach delivering small changes frequently (central to this is automation)
  • Agile processes to collaboratively deliver the desired competitive advantage
  • A scalable and elastic hosting platform, preferably in the public cloud
PLATFORM CHOICE

The choice of commercial eCommerce platforms for enterprises can be divided into four categories:

SaaS, All-Inclusive, Modular and Bespoke.  The offerings within each category vary in technological approach and all have differing levels of meeting the agility requirement.

SaaS - Software as a Service (SaaS) eCommerce platforms provide all the functionality needed to run an eCommerce operation. These platforms are multi-tenant, provide rich functionality and relatively quick on-boarding, and are not hosted in the public cloud but in the vendors’ own environment. Traditional complaints against these solutions are the limited customization and integration opportunities, but this is an area that is being improved upon. Example solutions in this space are Salesforce Commerce Cloud (previously Demandware) and Oracle Commerce Cloud.

All-Inclusive – These are the traditional on-premise eCommerce platforms. While still monolithic in design and deployment, these platforms offer very flexible options for customizing and integrating into the enterprise. They have been classified as all-inclusive, as they provide all of the necessary functionality to operate eCommerce within an enterprise – content management, order management, marketing etc. While more modular approaches, such as headless, are supported, these are recent modifications to the architecture. The major solutions here are SAP Customer Experience (previously Hybris), Oracle Commerce (previously ATG), IBM Commerce and Sitecore Experience Commerce. The roadmaps for all of these solutions indicate that migration to more flexible, cloud architectures are either planned or currently active with differing levels of progress.

Modular – The third platform category are solutions that are not intended to be the only part of the solution, but provide core commerce functionality behind an API layer, often hosted within the public cloud. These will need to be used in conjunction with other independent components, such as CMS, PIM, OMS, search engines and personalization engines. Customizing these platforms is supported with techniques, such as API extension hooks or custom micro-service development. This type of solution combines the advantages of the two previous categories, in effect ‘the best of both worlds’. Examples of modular eCommerce platforms are Commercetools and Elastic Path.

Bespoke - There is an alternative approach, which is a completely bespoke eCommerce platform. This is how the eCommerce giants run their business and this solution is now feasible for other organizations. This approach requires a mature IT organization with a proven pedigree in modern development practices. The result could be a solution that is a 100% match for your own specific functionality, deployment and scaling requirements. Technological themes, such as Cloud Native, Micro-Services, FaaS, Event Driven, Domain Driven Design, Headless together with Open Source frameworks, mean that bespoke eCommerce is worthy of consideration for some organizations.

Below I have compared these four approaches against what our team considers to be some of the most important eCommerce platform criteria.

(One dot indicates that the platform performs poorly against this criteria and four dots indicate that the platform performs well)

HOW TO CHOOSE

Using the criteria above, you can see that a trade-off will need to be made. A solution with feature-rich functionality isn’t necessarily the most flexible for future requirements. On the other hand, if creating a solution that supports rapid innovation is the most important criteria for your business, then the initial implementation timeline will be longer.

An obvious important consideration in deciding your next step is the status of your current solution. If you have invested heavily with your current platform, and it is stable and performing well, then the cost of migration to an alternative may be hard to justify.  A staggered migration may be worth considering – using a ‘strangulation’ pattern, you can replace the platform on a component-by-component basis. While reaching a conclusion is often quite difficult, we hope this criteria helps you consider some important options throughout your decision-making process.

Hello. How Can We Help You?


Our Offices

  • Canada

    • Ottawa

      343 Preston Street,
      ON K1S 1N4, Ottawa
      Canada

      Map
    • Toronto

      5 Park Home Avenue,
      Suite 400,
      ON M2N 6L4, North York,
      Toronto
      Canada

      Map
      P: +1-416-591-4004
      F: +1-416-595-1551
  • Mexico

    • Guadalajara

      Periférico Sur #8110,
      Col. El Mante
      45609 Tlaquepaque, Jalisco
      Mexico

      Map
      P: +52-33-462-400-98
  • United States

    • Newtown, PA

      41 University Drive,
      Suite 202,
      Newtown, PA 18940
      USA

      Map
      P: +1-267-759-9000
      F: +1-267-759-8989
    • Bellevue, WA

      110 110th Ave. NE,
      Suite 310
      Bellevue, WA 98004
      USA

      Map
    • Boston, MA

      21 Drydock Avenue,
      Suite 410 W,
      Boston, MA 02210
      USA

      Map
    • Cambridge, MA

      One Mifflin Place,
      Cambridge, MA 02138
      USA

      Map
      P: +1-267-759-9000
      F: +1-267-759-8989
    • Conshohocken, PA

      101 East 8th Ave,
      Suite 201,
      Conshohocken, PA 19428
      USA

      Map
      P: +1-484-382-1300
    • Los Angeles, CA

      11601 Wilshire Blvd,
      Suite 350,
      Los Angeles, CA 90025
      USA

      Map
    • Mountain View, CA

      465 Fairchild Dr,
      Building B,
      Suite 221,
      Mountain View, CA 94043
      USA

      Map
    • New York, NY

      24 West 25th Street,
      5th Floor,
      New York, NY 10010
      USA

      Map
      P: +1-267-759-9000
      F: +1-267-759-8989
    • Philadelphia, PA

      30 South 15th Street,
      9th Floor,
      Philadelphia, PA 19102
      USA

      Map
    • San Francisco, CA

      222 Kearny Street,
      Suite 308,
      San Francisco, CA 94108
      USA

      Map
    • Washington D.C.

      7901 Jones Branch Drive,
      Suite 400,
      McLean, VA 22102
      USA

      Map
  • Austria

    • Vienna

      Nottendorfer Gasse 11,
      1030 Wien
      Austria 

      Map
  • Bulgaria

    • Sofia

      69 Bulgaria Blvd.,
      Infinity Tower,
      1404 Sofia
      Bulgaria

      Map
      P: +359-700-20-273
  • Czech Republic

    • Prague

      City Tower building,
      Hvezdova 2b,
      Prague 4
      Czech Republic

       

      Map
      P: +420 22 888 28 23
  • Germany

    • Frankfurt am Main

      Franklinstrasse 56, 
      60486 Frankfurt am Main,
      Germany

      Map
      P: +49-69-31019090
  • Hungary

    • Budapest

      Corvin Offices I.
      Futó street 47-53,
      Budapest, H-1082
      Hungary

      Map
      P: +36-1-327-7400
    • Debrecen

      Bethlen Street 3-9,
      Debrecen, 4026
      Hungary

      Map
      P: +36-52-999-485 / 45050
    • Szeged

      Felső Tisza-Part 25,
      Szeged, 6723
      Hungary

      Map
      P: +36-62-808-013
      F: +36-62-550-655
  • Ireland

    • Dublin

      Alexandra House,
      The Sweepstakes,
      Ballsbridge, Dublin 4,
      D04 C7H2
      Ireland

      Map
      P: +353-(0)-1-631-9280
  • Netherlands

    • Delft

      Delftechpark 37j
      2628 XJ Delft
      Netherlands

      Map
      P: +31 20 241 6134
    • Schiphol

      The Base B
      Evert van de Beekstraat 104
      1118CN Schiphol
      Netherlands

      Map
      P: +31 20 241 6134
  • Poland

    • Gdańsk

      Grunwaldzka 472D,
      Olivia Six,
      80-309 Gdańsk
      Poland

      Map
    • Katowice

      Chorzowska Str. 148
      40-101 Katowice
      Poland

      Map
      P: +48-12-222-02-02
    • Krakow

      Opolska Str. 114
      31-323 Kraków
      Poland

      Map
      P: +48-12-222-02-02
    • Warsaw

      Al. Jana Pawła II 23,
      Atrium International,
      00-854 Warszawa
      Poland

      Map
    • Wroclaw

      Ul. Piotra Skargi 1,
      Budynek A,
      50-082 Wrocław
      Poland

      Map
  • Sweden

    • Göteborg

      Lilla Nygatan 2,
      411-09 Göteborg
      Sweden

      Map
      P: +46-85-250-06-98
    • Stockholm

      Kungsgatan 50,
      111 35, Stockholm
      Sweden

      Map
      P: +46-85-250-06-98
  • Switzerland

    • Glattpark

      Boulevard Lilienthal 2,
      8152 Glattpark (Opfikon)
      Switzerland

      Map
      P: +41-43-500-21-49
  • United Kingdom

    • London

      114 Middlesex Street,
      London, E1 7HY
      United Kingdom

      Map
      P: +44-203-514-0027
    • Manchester

      Tower 12,
      18-22 Bridge Street,
      Manchester, M3 3BZ
      United Kingdom

      Map
      P: +44-203-514-0027
  • Australia

    • Sydney

      31 Highgate Cct
      Kellyville NSW 2155

      Map
      P: +61-28-310-82-72
  • China

    • Guangzhou

      Unit B01, 23/F,
      Yuexiuxinduhui Building,
      No. 236, 6th Zhongshan Road,
      Yuexiu District, Guangzhou,
      China 510180

      Map
    • 广州

      中国广州市越秀区
      中山六路236号
      越秀新都会大厦中座 23楼 B01室
      邮编510180

      地图
    • Shanghai

      Room A11, 6th Floor, Block C,
      666 East Beijing Road,
      Huangpu District, Shanghai,
      China 200001

      Map
      P: +86-21-53080606 +86-21-53085450
    • 上海

      中国上海市黄浦区
      北京东路 666号
      科技京城C区 6楼 A11室
      邮编200001

      地图
      P: +86-21-53080606 +86-21-53085450
    • Shenzhen

      3/F, Block 5, Vision Shenzhen Business Park,
      9th Gaoxin South Road, 
      Shenzhen Hi-tech Industrial Park,
      Nanshan District, Shenzhen,
      Guangdong, China 518057

      Map
      P: +86-755-36899008
    • 深圳

      中国广东省深圳市
      南山区高新南九道
      威新软件园5号楼3楼
      邮编518057

      地图
      P: +86-755-36899008
    • Suzhou

      Building 12, Creative Industrial Park,
      328 Xinghu Street,
      Suzhou Industrial Park,
      Suzhou, China 215123

      Map
    • 苏州

      中国江苏省苏州市
      苏州工业园区星湖街328号
      创意产业园内12号楼
      邮编215123

      地图
  • Hong Kong

    • Hong Kong

      198 Wellington Street,
      17F, Central
      Hong Kong

      Map
      P: +852-5808-6018
  • India

    • Hyderabad

      10, 11 & 12th Floors,
      Salarpuria Sattva Knowledge City,
      Plot No. 2, Phase - 1,
      Survey No. 83/1,
      Raidurgam Village,
      Serilingampally Mandal,
      Hyderabad, Telangana - 500081
      India

      Map
      P: +91-40-47979900
    • Pune

      SmartWork Business Center Pvt Ltd,
      Suite 8, Level 1,
      West Wing, Nyati Unitree,
      Samrat Ashok Road,
      Yerwada, Pune - 411006,
      Maharashtra
      India

      Map
      P: +91-20-4913-6025
  • Japan

    • Tokyo

      Floor 1-10-11
      Shibadaimon Centre Building 10th
      Shibadaimon Minato-ku
      Tokyo 105-0012
      Japan

      Map
      P: +81-03-6880-9198
      F: +81-03-6880-9201
  • Singapore

    • Singapore

      5 Shenton Way
      UIC Building, #10-01,
      Singapore (068808)

      Map
      P: +65-6911-6888
  • United Arab Emirates

    • Dubai

      EPAM Systems FZ-LLC
      Dubai Branch,
      Building 16, Office 241,
      Dubai Internet City,
      PO Box 501929, Dubai
      United Arab Emirates

      Map
      P: +971-4-568-3569
  • Armenia

    • Yerevan

      15 Khorenatsi Street,
      Elite Plaza Business Center,
      0010 Yerevan
      Armenia

      Map
      P: +374-10-60-00-65
  • Belarus

    • Brest

      6A Masherov Avenue,
      224030 Brest
      Belarus

      Map
      P: +375-162-52-5268
      F: +375-162-50-9888
    • Gomel

      80 Rechitsky Avenue,
      246012 Gomel
      Belarus

      Map
      P: +375-17-389-0100, ext. 54079
      F: +375-232-70-50-31
    • Grodno

      87B Gorkogo Street,
      230005 Grodno
      Belarus

      Map
      P: +375-17-389-0100, ext. 69011
    • Minsk

      1/1 Academician Kuprevich Street,
      Suite 110,
      220141 Minsk
      Belarus

      Map
      P: +375-17-389-0100
      F: +375-17-268-6699
    • Mogilev

      19 Cosmonaut Street,
      Suite 510,
      212009 Mogilev
      Belarus

      Map
      P: +375-17-389-0100, ext. 1001
    • Vitebsk

      11-a Stroitelei Avenue,
      Suite 311,
      210032 Vitebsk
      Belarus

      Map
      P: +375-17-389-0100, ext. 54433
  • Kazakhstan

    • Astana

      8 Auezova Street,
      Office B,
      010000 Astana
      Kazakhstan

      Map
      P: +7-7172-475-970
      F: +7-7172-688-774
    • Karaganda

      58/3 Ermekova Street,
      100009 Karaganda
      Kazakhstan

      Map
      P: +7-7212-93-01-01 +7-7212-93-01-00
  • Russia

    • Moscow

      9th Radialnaya Street,
      Building 2,
      115404 Moscow
      Russia

      Map
      P: +7-495-730-6362
      F: +7-495-730-6361
    • Izhevsk

      150 V. Sivkova Street,
      426000 Izhevsk
      Russia

      Map
      P: +7-3412-27-13-37
    • Nizhny Novgorod

      30 Poltavskaya Street
      603089 Nizhny Novgorod
      Russia

      Map
    • Ryazan

      16 Gogolya Street,
      390035 Ryazan
      Russia

      Map
      P: +7-4912-55-99-10
    • Saint Petersburg

      22/2 Zastavskaya Street,
      MegaPark,
      196084 Saint Petersburg
      Russia

      Map
      P: +7-812-611-1094
      F: +7-812-611-1094
    • Samara

      21 Michurina Street,
      443110 Samara
      Russia

      Map
      P: +7-846-200-0970
    • Saratov

      37 Tankistov Street,
      410019 Saratov
      Russia

      Map
      P: +7-8452-692-981
    • Sergiev Posad

      7 Akademika Silina Street,
      141313 Sergiev Posad
      Russia

      Map
      P: +7-496-547-11-39
      F: +7-496-547-11-39
    • Togliatti

      31E Yubileynaya Street,
      445037 Togliatti
      Russia

      Map
      P: +7-495-730-6360, ext. 47650
    • Tver

      8 Kolodkina Street,
      170002 Tver
      Russia

      Map
      P: +7-4822-630-070 +7-4822-630-071 +7-4822-630-072
      F: +7-4822-630-073
  • Ukraine

    • Dnipro

      17A Volodymyra Monomaha Street,
      49000 Dnipro
      Ukraine

      Map
      P: +380-56-790-5651
    • Kharkiv

      33G 23 Serpnya Street,
      61072 Kharkiv
      Ukraine

      Map
      P: +380-57-728-06-22
    • Kyiv: Registered office

      28 Fizkultury Street,
      03150 Kyiv
      Ukraine

      Map
      P: +380-44-390-5457
      F: +380-44-390-0861
    • Kyiv: Visitors office

      14B Kudryashova Street
      03035 Kyiv, Ukraine

      Map
      P: +380-44-390-5457
      F: +380-44-390-0861
    • Lviv

      45 O.Stepanivny Street,
      79018 Lviv
      Ukraine

      Map
      P: +380-32-242-4642
      F: +380-44-390-5458
    • Vinnytsia

      51 Ovodova Street,
      21000 Vinnytsia
      Ukraine

      Map
      P: +380-432-551-294 +380-432-551-275
      F: +380-432-551-293