"Retailers want to compare Demandware with ATG. But they’re different business models, each is designed for a different kind of retailer," Bill said during the panel.
Don't choose a platform.
First, choose the type of platform.
Then, choose the best platform of that type for your business.
Bill characterizes e-commerce platforms in four buckets: Catalyst, Crew, Console, and Custom. I don't fully understand his labels -- "Crew?" -- but his taxonomy is a useful way to think about platforms:
- Catalyst: Starter kits for SMBs with modest revenue projections; and is built for resourceful clients who need/expect minimal support
- Best for: Scrappy, small- or mid-size business
- Small budget for IT and marketing
- Modest online revenue projections
- Vendors: Yahoo, Amazon Store, ProStores, osCommerce
- Crew: Primarily professional services team with turnkey suite of tools, processes and experience to quickly launch an online channel
- Best for: Strong offline brand, ready for ecommerce
- Huge potential early on, with just a little help
- Needs a partner for both tools AND processes
- Vendors: GSI Commerce, VCommerce, Novator, Fry, eFashion Solutions
- Console: Commercial-grade shared SaaS for experienced online merchants lacking adequate time/resources to buy/integrate new features
- Best for: Growing online channel, confident marketers
- Know what they need, not how to get it
- Limited or no dedicated support from IT
- Vendors: Demandware, MarketLive, Truition, Venda
- Custom: Dedicated enterprise software for self-sufficient retailers with adequate internal development skills and support
- Best for: Self-sufficient, multi-channel commitment
- Proficiency on technology, marketing & ops
- Current platform impedes; upgrade needed
- Vendors: ATG, Escalate Retail, Microsoft, IBM Websphere, Sterling, BroadVision, iCongo, ElasticPath