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As digital commerce expands, the report said, companies might need greater scalability. That would make full-stack platforms less suitable for more advanced needs.

New data from Shopify and International Data Corporation (IDC) reveal what online retailers are focused on when it comes to ecommerce solutions.

Shopify commissioned IDC to conduct a survey of 1,000 retailers globally for a report titled “SaaS Commerce Platforms: The Future of Simplified Business Operations.” The report seeks to help Shopify better understand how online retailers are using software-as-a-service commerce platforms to support their sales strategies.

In North America, 45 of the Top 1000 online retailers use Shopify as their ecommerce platform. The Top 1000 is Digital Commerce 360’s database of the largest online retailers in the region by annual web sales. In 2022, those 76 online retailers combined for more than $8.29 billion in web sales.

Shopify says it powers 10% of U.S. ecommerce and drives revenue for millions of merchants in 175 countries. International Data Corporation (IDC) provides market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets.

Shopify-IDC data gives insights into online retailers’ platform priorities

Among the findings was that nearly three-quarters (74%) of companies consider it “very or extremely important” to enhance personalized shopping experiences through a better understanding of customers’ preferences and behaviors. Additionally, 73% of companies want to break data silos and “foster better internal communication and collaboration.”


The report found that in addition to efficiency and productivity, companies are prioritizing “enhancing the customer experience and streamlining the path to purchase.”

“To achieve these goals, companies see digital commerce as key in better understanding their customer’s preferences and behaviors and providing personalized shopping experiences,” according to the report.

So when it comes to consumers, 72% consider it a priority to expand their market reach and target new customer segments. At the same time, 59% want to improve targeted promotions and personalized marketing campaigns.

Full-stack and blended SaaS commerce platforms

29% of surveyed companies use full-stack commerce platforms, the report found. Full-stack commerce platforms offer comprehensive, all-in-one solutions, the report said. They are cost-effective and easier to run, and they’re suitable for companies with basic digital commerce requirements, according to the report.


But as digital commerce expands, the report said, companies might need greater scalability. That would make these platforms less suitable for more advanced needs.

45% of surveyed companies have adopted “blended” SaaS commerce platforms. The report defined a blended approach to SaaS commerce platforms as one that has a full-stack back end and composable front end. It says that can be an optimal solution as companies embrace more advanced omnichannel models and seek more agile capabilities.

27% of companies surveyed have already adopted fully headless and modular SaaS commerce platforms. The report said that retailers require more advanced commerce architectures “as the omnichannel customer journey evolves and the complexity of retail operations increases.”

In terms of planned commerce platform configurations, 91% of companies currently using full-stack commerce platforms are moving to blended SaaS commerce platforms. And nearly three-quarters (74%) of companies currently using blended SaaS commerce platforms are moving to a fully headless and modular SaaS commerce platform.


Moreover, about two-thirds (67%) said they’re considering changing their commerce platform in the next three years. Meanwhile, the vast majority, 94%, said a timely implementation is important. More than half, 61%, said the cost of implementing that new tech will be difficult.

More than a third (38%) said they are exploring possibilities or planning changes to their commerce architectures. Fewer (29%) have decided to change their commerce architectures or are already in the process of implementing changes. And 28% of surveyed companies said they have no intention to change the structure of their commerce architectures.

Technology priorities within commerce platforms

84% of surveyed companies plan to implement or expand payment platforms, according to the report. Close to three-quarters (71%) plan to implement or expand order and inventory management systems. Meanwhile, about two-thirds (66%) plan to implement or expand social commerce applications.

“The management of omnichannel operations through best-in-class payment, order management, and social commerce products as part of a modern commerce platform will be key for merchants in expanding their market and revenue and improving customer experience,” IDC said in the report.


SaaS commerce platforms can benefit from AI

“When applied to SaaS commerce platforms,” the report said, “AI can help merchants build more contextual/personalized customer experiences, streamline customer service operations, and better understand customers’ preferences and behaviors, leading to enhanced personalized shopping experiences.”

The report found that most companies plan to adopt AI applications into their ecommerce platforms. 94% of surveyed companies plan to implement or expand conversational AI for customer support. 90% plan to implement or expand product discovery and visual search capabilities. Additionally, 70% plan to implement or expand generative AI for content generation and customer experience personalization.

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