And how are those vendors helping online retailers? The 2021 Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 Report explores just that. It also ranks the Top 10 vendors based on their number of clients in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 across 24 vendor categories, uncovers exclusive results from a Digital Commerce 360 technology survey of e-retailers and much more.

When it comes to technology, outsourcing is in for e-retailers.

In fact, 78% of retailers say they typically use a vendor when implementing new technology rather than build it in-house, according to a Digital Commerce 360 survey of 121 retailers conducted in September 2020. That’s up from 65% in last year’s survey of 160 retailers.

So, why do retailers choose to work with vendors rather than take on technology tasks internally? The No. 1 reason, cited by 80% of respondents in the September survey, is because they don’t have the expertise in-house. And 69%, the next-highest group, choose vendors because they are specialized in their specific fields. (Merchants could choose more than one answer.)

Those are just a few data points from the just-released Leading Vendors to The Top 1000 report. The report ranks the Top 10 vendors based on their number of clients in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 across 24 vendor categories to give readers a snapshot of the vendor leaders today.

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It also includes data from an exclusive survey Digital Commerce 360 conducted about retailers’ technology spending plans and vendor preferences and experiences. The report also explores the ecommerce vendor landscape across some of the most widely used and important ecommerce technologies today: ecommerce platforms, email marketing, and forward-looking technologies such as marketing automation and artificial intelligence. Additionally, readers will also learn about vendor offerings and business developments, as well as gain access to case studies about retailers implementing various vendor services.

Ecommerce platforms: Stronger foundations

51% of retailers list ecommerce platforms as one of their top three budget priorities over the next year, according to the September 2020 Digital Commerce 360 survey. That’s the most popular technology priority. And today, leading vendors are enhancing the commerce platforms they sell. They are making it easier for non-technical retail staff to make changes, integrating platforms with a wide range of other technologies and enabling retailers to be more agile and make changes quickly to respond to customer expectations and market fluctuations.

The report uncovers vendor developments in the space including:

  • BigCommerce: The ecommerce platform provider went public in August, and the report explores its many plans for its infusion of cash, including its focus on B2B clients and investing in the emerging “headless” commerce technology. 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.
  • Shopify: In the past year, Shopify signed new deals with Walmart Inc. (No. 3 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000) to expand its third-party marketplace site, with Affirm Inc. to allow consumers to break purchases into a series of smaller payments and with social network Pinterest. The report also explores Shopify’s pandemic-related business gains and changes.
  • In-depth case studies: The case studies will feature retailers that are implementing HCL and Adobe Inc.’s Magento ecommerce platforms.

Email marketing: Making email work harder

Although it’s a longtime marketing staple, retailers are still investing in email. For example when asked, “What technologies have you implemented from vendors over the past year?” 43% of retailers said email, the second-most popular response behind ecommerce platforms, according to the September 2020 Digital Commerce 360 survey. And 17% say email marketing is one of their top three budget priorities over the next year.

The report explores:

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  • How high-end home furnishing brand Jonathan Adler’s work with email marketing technology firm Listrak to personalize its emails has led to an 85% increase in traffic from email to its site.
  • The ways that TechStyle Fashion Group (No. 55), which owns subscription apparel and accessories retailer JustFab.com, is using email marketing vendor Sailthru to put a personal twist on automated email and the results it is generating from the project.
  • How brand manufacturer and retailer Vita-Mix Corp. (No. 877) is tying its loyalty program to email using Movable Ink and Adobe.

Forward-looking technology

Retailers are turning to vendors for help with advanced technology, such as marketing automation and artificial intelligence, to gain more new customers and sales for less money and less work. 85% of retailers say they use at least one marketing platform or marketing software technology, according to a Digital Commerce 360 survey of 105 online retailers conducted in May and June 2020. What’s more, 44% say they use three platforms or more. And, many are turning to more advanced tactics. 53% of retailers use artificial intelligence to target ads, according to the survey.

The report also explores:

  • How electronics brand manufacturer Harman International is using Salesforce.com Inc.’s Service, Marketing and Commerce Clouds to refine the way it gains new customers and ensure it’s getting the best return on investment possible.
  • The way that 20-year-old meat purveyor US Wellness Meat is using autonomous marketing firm Albert Technologies Ltd. and marketing vendor Bluecore to automate finding new audiences, reduce customer acquisition costs and maintain its relationship with existing customers through artificial intelligence.

The 100page 2021 Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 report provides a wealth of information about the top vendors in online retail today and the merchants that use them.

 The 2021 Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 report includes:

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  • A ranking of the Top 10 vendors based on their number of clients in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 across 24 different vendor categories.
  • Nearly a dozen charts featuring exclusive survey data on retailers’ technology spending plans, priorities and vendor preferences.
  • In-depth editorial sections on specific vendor categories including ecommerce platforms, email marketing and forward-looking technology such as marketing automation and artificial intelligence.
  • A section on how ecommerce technology vendors are responding—and faring—during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Case studies and interviews with online retailers Newegg Inc. (No. 26), Tweezerman, Follett Higher Education Group (No. 81), Jonathan Adler, Vita-Mix, TechStyle Fashion Group, Harman International and more.

This article is based on analysis from the 2021 Leading Vendors to the Top 1000 report. You can learn more about the 2021 leading Vendors to the Top 1000 report here.