September 23, 2019
The Ecommerce platform evaluation guide

The Ecommerce platform evaluation guide


Jon: So we’re here today to talk about the ecommerce platform guide you’ve put together. Tom: Yes! So I’m Tom, Ecommerce Evangelist at Space 48 and kind of coming from a Magento background I’m now looking at other platforms like Shopify and Shopware, taking a step back and
really understanding you know how does a merchant take on this massive challenge
of a replatforming, what decision process should they go through, how do you compare it’s so hard to compare different platforms and how they size up against each other so that’s the
challenge I’ve taken on but it’s going well. Jon: It’s good! I’m Jon founder & Managing Director Space 48. I
suppose the value that I feel I offer in this conversation today is the direction
that Space 48 has been taken over the course of the last 12 to 18 months has
been moving towards us being an e-commerce consultancy so we believe
that’s where we need to be as a business because that’s what best suits our
customers. And as you touch on in your guide obviously the ecommerce platform landscape has changed an enormous amount in the past four or five years. Five years ago we
were both just living in the Magento space I think the the decision was
usually already made that the customer coming to us would already be choosing
to go with Magento. Well we’re clearly five years down the line you know things move at an exponential rate and we now have, or the customer now has
other options such as Shopware and Shopify as well so clearly we need to be
doing the right things by our customers so I’m interested to hear a little
bit more about what you’re going to include in the guide. Tom: Yeah. It’s all about choosing the right tool in the box for merchants where they
are and so comparing platforms, obviously, Magento coming from the point view of
previously kind of being a one-size-fits-all now it’s as well as
myself maturing and understanding you know where does it fit and it’s
those businesses that are not necessarily on the straight and narrow with ecommerce, they might be doing a B2B and complex
B2B setups, they might require that the website to be customised, they might do
personalisation, they might have products being embossed in journal and that’s
something that’s having complex product setups is quite hard to do in
some kind of basic platforms but it’s it’s perfect perfect for Magento. Magento is great for bigger businesses that want to build their website and
continue iterating on it and it’s gonna be the foundation is gonna be there for
years. It’s hard to move quickly when you’re compared to other platforms which are simpler and that’s
the fact of the matter and why platforms like Shopify and Shopware are in their own right and can be attractive. Jon: Yep, I agree with that and obviously there is this sort of, the
feature set side of things you know what I suppose what we see as a business
customers or prospects when they come to us, the RF or the the brief that they come to us with is typically very feature orientated and these are the things that they actually want to build or do naturally certain briefs will suit
certain platforms I personally think that one of the areas that they miss out
on the most other than the feature set is actually which platform is going to
be right for them as a business and I mean that in terms of people and the
skill sets that they’ve got in the team It’s very common for us to come across people
that are working with a more flexible or complex platform like a Magento or Shopware or another more open-source platform where the skill set in the team is just not really
orientated towards it being technical so they don’t really have someone there as
a product manager or they don’t have someone there that is a BA and they get very
frustrated if they’ve got people with strong marketing skill sets or strong
trading skill sets yet they’ve got them sat there writing a requirements
definition or they are sat there testing software which is the last thing that
they want to be doing obviously so I think that’s the other key thing for me,
matching up the right platform with the skill set of the people that they’ve got
in the business Tom: Yeah that’s why in the guide the first like section I actually
I started writing about comparing platforms but I’m already too far down the process at that point. You want to take the first step is looking at the business the
business objectives the make up of the team you know where do you need
support, what can you do in-house what is viable for you to
grow to do in-house and while many merchants want to kind of have
developers in-house that’s not always going to be practical and developers are
hard to come by at the best of times so that’s a difficult one to
do where for those large platforms developers and creating an entire
development team and culture that’s a really big undertaking I think is only
really worthwhile if technology is at the core of your business but if it’s
not that’s you know, kind of spend this time on it so you can focus on your branding or
marketing and things that are gonna have a bigger impact. Jon: Yeah I think one of your
key messages there as well obviously from a customer’s perspective is the
business objectives and if they’ve considered what the business objectives
really are what they’re trying to do and hopefully aligns with a certain platform.
What I then believe that customers need to consider or prospects need to
consider is that their expectation when they come to an agency
like a Space 48 or any other agency for that matter
is that the technology or the website that we build is going to be good which
you know is not the great definition in terms of it being good but what it really comes
back to and aligned with the objective is actually expectations. The expectation of
the new platform is usually that it’s going to help them grow by a certain amount so
the agency or the people that they choose to work with in the team or
externally in a an agency or a consultancy even are obviously adding that additional value whether that’s from a marketing perspective or
even an operational perspective I was sat with a customer yesterday
and we were really talking about business systems we were actually
looking at the way that they processed some of their orders when they do pick
and pack and how the website actually interacts with the business at that point in an internal process. I feel that we managed to find a way of showing them some efficiencies of how to
better use other business systems and make sure that they’re very importantly
using an e-commerce platform for what it’s there to do which is be a trading
platform yeah versus you know doing other things like becoming a pseudo sort of
WMS. Tom: Yeah I think it’s very easy and that’s one of the benefits of Magento has
always been its marketplace and you know there’s so much you can add to it, and
because it’s so flexible you can achieve a lot with it but the downside of that
is it moves away from being kind of a leaf just on the edge of a system and
just doing its job well and becoming the center which is a dangerous place to
be but with kind of different IT systems becoming more digital website focused
and as we’re working with customers recognizing there’s a lot more that we
can do for that business if we can you know help them upgrade their internal
systems as well which provides more functionality to the website and enables us to do more of the exciting, and what customers expect as
standard like click and collect store and things like that. Jon: Can you give
us a flavor of you mentioned there about ecosystems around the different
platforms can you give us a flavor of what’s in the guide in relation to
ecosystems, have you started to talk about some of the other technology
partners that are involved in the various different platforms or where
does that go. Tom: Yes, so I mean gradually getting more exposure to some of the other
ecosystems like Shopware & Shopify seen most of my experience has
been with Magento and it’s got a fantastic ecosystem and I was at meet Magento yesterday and hearing from Thomas Goletz on having
events in for next year and 40 different countries so you know anywhere
you go on Magento that you’ve got people in the ecosystem you can get advice from, like
localised so that is an incredibly valuable part of it and there’s a lot of
intelligent people in the ecosystem that really help bring every merchant, rise every merchant higher. You know that’s not to say that other, you know Shopify is known for having a fantastic ecosystem as well It’s just on a slightly more smaller scale that might be more focused on independents and kind of
one-man teams but they have the advantage of being able to do some more
like smaller innovative pieces of R&D Jon: Yeah I think that Shopify are starting to
break that cycle a little bit you’re starting to hear of some bigger brands
that are making the move over to that platform I think the points that you
make about the ecosystem around Magento are
absolutely relevant as well you know I immediately gravitate towards Magento
based on my experience as well but you you can sort of cast the net around the
the tried and tested or the third-party technologies the likes of the Dotmailer, Nosto etc. You know the other third party platforms that really take Magento from being an ecom platform
and turning it into a trading platform that ultimately helps customers make money and grow online. Tom:
Yeah, the other ecosystem difference between the platforms is whether or
not the actual underlying platform is open-source and so that it changes the
way that people engage with you know the core product and how they extend it so
with Magento be open-source it’s great because it means that people have
complete understanding of how it works underneath so they can extend it in intelligent ways, they can also contribute back whereas with Shopify it’s
API driven so you’re limited in what you can do which you know provides a lot
of stability for merchants because they can’t change underlying code but it also means the ecosystem can’t contribute back or be involved quite on a direct level. Jon: Yeah cool well thanks a lot for your time this afternoon
and giving us a short summary of what’s in store in the guide. If you’d like to get in touch with us and hear more about the guide I know Tom would be pleased to take your call and I’ll be available or anyone else in the team.
Thanks a lot for listening Download the guide in the description link

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