Today, ERP-based and stand-alone e-commerce systems dominate the market. As more and more companies go to the cloud, CRM and CMS vie to be the next foundation of e-commerce.
Cloud CRM- AUSTIN, Texas — Where does the cloud e-commerce platform fit in the IT ecosystem? Does it stand alone? Coming off the ERP system a la SAP and Hybris? The CRM system? Or — here’s a new contender — launch it from the content management stack.
Choose carefully, digital agencies and large enterprise customers told attendees — many of them representing established brands with legacy IT topologies — at the Acquia Engage user conference. That, or risk getting pounded in the marketplace by born-digital upstarts who aren’t tethered to old tech and whose cutting-edge agile tech can personalize offers and intuitively suggest next purchases.
Today, many companies are using either the ERP or stand-alone model. But CRM and marketing automation companies are forcing change: Salesforce bought the cloud e-commerce platform Demandware in 2016 and augmented its cloud e-commerce reach this year by acquiring CloudCraze. Adobe shook the market further when it bought Magento earlier this year.
SAP was the first, acquiring Hybris five years ago to augment its warhorse ERP and CRM systems. Such acquisitions tempt customers to move into the CRM-based cloud e-commerce model, with its tighter integrations and — allegedly — lower costs of customization.
None of this means much to consumers, said Dries Buytaert, founder and CTO of Boston-based Acquia, unveiling in a keynote an independent survey of 5,000 consumers internationally, commissioned by his company. It’s not enough to be able to buy something online; it has to be faster and simpler, no matter the back-end systems that must create that experience.
Cloud e-commerce from the content side
Acquia, which announced partnerships with e-commerce software vendors Elastic Path and BigCommerce in recent weeks, makes an argument that “headless” systems can more nimbly render content to different devices and create better online experiences.
It’s forcing a decision for companies fighting online-only brands by trying to develop new experiences — and refresh their relevance to younger generations: Either build the cloud e-commerce engine on the content side and tap the CRM for customer data, or build it on CRM and tap the content management system (CMS) for content.
Content-centric cloud e-commerce is already happening for successful upstart online-only brands selling on new channels, such as in-video links or directly from Instagram posts, e-commerce experts said in a panel discussion. Old brands born in physical retail struggle to keep up with them, because it means changing foundational selling and marketing strategy that’s worked for a very long time. But they’re fighting back with richer data sets than their online-only competition.