As a senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc., John Bruno played a leading role in explaining the ins and outs of B2B e-commerce technology and strategies.
His work at Forrester included reviewing B2B e-commerce software suites, commenting on their ability to help manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers to meet the demands of buyers in the evolving world of digital commerce.
Now he’s joined a provider of e-commerce software, starting today as the vice president of product management at Elastic Path, a privately held Canadian company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Elastic Path, which develops retail as well as B2B e-commerce software, is known for supporting the core elements of e-commerce, including the shopping cart, customer records and product catalogs.
But it doesn’t directly provide a website content management system or other technology for designing customer-facing web pages. In that light, it provides what’s known as “API-first” or “headless commerce” software, which is designed to integrate with virtually any customer-facing technology through extensive use of application programming interfaces, or sets of software instructions for integrating and exchanging data among disparate software applications.
In an interview with B2BecNews, Bruno said he had “labored over my decision for quite some time” to leave what he described as the “coolest job” analyzing trends in B2B e-commerce at Forrester. But along with the perks of becoming a vice president, Elastic Path offered an opportunity to participate in what he described as the trend toward taking e-commerce to wherever customers happen to be, whether or not that includes accessing a desktop computer or mobile device.
“Tomorrow’s businesses will need to deliver an online experience wherever customers are,” he said, adding: “The future of omnichannel commerce will be an abundance of touch points—and the expectation that businesses will deliver commerce experiences wherever the customer decides.”
A B2B buyer, he added, may be restocking products in a warehouse, but instead of going to his office computer or grabbing his mobile device to place an order, will call out to a voice-activated ordering device or press an ordering button on a warehouse parts bin.
The advantage of the API-first, headless commerce approach, he said, is that online sellers can re-use the back-end data and business logic that drive online customer records and shopping carts in any customer-facing front end. Other industry analyst firms including Gartner Inc. have cited Elastic Path’s strengths of API-driven flexibility, though Gartner has also noted this can be viewed as a weakness for not having a built-in front-end user interface.
Bruno said Elastic Path’s forte going forward will be continuing to develop ways for companies to integrate with any customer-facing systems. The company’s website notes, for example, that it’s working with B2B companies to commerce-enable Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications, to “enable devices or appliances to monitor themselves, order their own replacement parts, and schedule their own service calls.”
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