Companies in the market for B2B ecommerce technology have a new resource to consider in a report released today that scores the software and services of 16 vendors.
The “Paradigm B2B Combine: 2020 Digital Commerce Solutions for B2B,” Midmarket Edition, from B2B ecommerce consulting firm Paradigm B2B, scores the ecommerce technology suites and related services from each of the 16 vendors across ten categories, including Customer Service & Support; Total Cost of Ownership, Content & Data Management, and Sales & Channel Enablement.
Other categories cover such areas as a vendor’s vision and strategy, their ability to execute, their ecosystem of technology partners, their ability to integrate infrastructure, and their expertise in online transaction management. The report indicates each vendor’s level of competence in each category.
The report, authored by Paradigm B2B founder and CEO Andy Hoar, is intended for mid-market companies and borrows a method from professional sports to evaluate the performance of B2B ecommerce technology solutions, Hoar says. An Enterprise Edition of the report designed for companies with $1 billion or more in annual sales will come out next year.
“I’m mirroring the combine process that professional sports teams use to evaluate the capabilities and fit of draft candidates across key performance areas,” Hoar says in the report, which follows the inaugural version released last year. “My goal is to make it possible for ecommerce teams to easily determine where and how a solution best meets their customer needs and aligns with their culture, technology stack and partner ecosystem.”
The report reviews the following ecommerce technology products:
BigCommerce, eComchain, Elastic Path Commerce Cloud, Episerver B2B Commerce Cloud by Insite, HCL Commerce, Kibo Personalized Commerce Cloud, Magento Commerce, Miva Merchant, Oracle NetSuite SuiteCommerce Advanced, ROC Commerce, Sana Commerce, SAP Commerce Cloud, Unilog CIMM2, VTEX Commerce Cloud, WebJaguar Commerce and Znode 9.
The report does not rank the vendors, but shows how each scores in each category.
Minding the cost and time to deploy technology
Compared with last year’s B2B Combine report, this year’s report found that vendors are focusing more on selling through online marketplaces and using “headless” commerce, Hoar tells Digital Commerce 360 B2B. Headless commerce technology is designed with heavy use of application programming interfaces (APIs) to make a customer-facing front-end independent of the ecommerce engine; this is an increasingly common approach for building flexibility into how companies use ecommerce to interact with customers through multiple interfaces, including mobile apps and online display ads as well as conventional websites.
“Vendors are doing a much better job responding to market dynamics than in the past,” Hoar says, adding: “More use of microservices and APIs is improving the always-difficult technology integration issues.” Microservices include such custom applications as online dashboards that online sellers display to show order status and inventory availability.
Hoar also notes that vendors are focusing more on the total cost of ownership (TCO) and the time-to-market (TTM) that their customers can expect when deploying B2B ecommerce technology systems. TCO is getting more attention “because companies are more price-sensitive now due to the macroeconomic situation,” Hoar says. TTM is also more top of mind, he adds, because “every technology buyer wants delivery sooner.” Also, many technology buyers “are more interested in experimenting/iterating this year” to keep up with digital transformation trends and address the changing needs among their customers, including those working from home, he says.
Hoar will join digital commerce technology analysts Joe Cicman of Forrester Research and Jordan Jewell of technology research and advisory firm IDC in a panel to discuss the report during the B2B Next 2020 annual conference this September. (B2B Next is a production of B2B Next LLC, a joint venture between Digital Commerce 360 and Paradigm B2B.)
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