Shopify Study Reveals Enterprise Shift Towards More Agile E-Commerce Platforms [Interview]

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Multi-national ecommerce platform Shopify, founded in Ottawa, has released a new study which finds that most enterprises are thinking about upgrading their commerce platform, but they have no patience for implementations that drag on, and they have zero tolerance for costs that run out of control.

The data was collected from 1,000 enterprises in partnership with International Data Corporation.

Highlights include:

  • 67 per cent are at least considering changing their commerce platform in the next three years, but nearly as many (61 per cent) said the cost of implementing new tech will be tough;
  • 94 per cent said a timely implementation is important;
  • 67 per cent cited ease of use as one of the top things they value in a commerce platform;
Image: Shopify

When it comes to enterprise SaaS, there’s a clear winner when you look at the data, said Shopify:

  • 27 per cent are fully headless and modular, using a mix of modules and apps from different vendors;
  • 29 per cent have a full-stack platform; an all-in-one solution;
  • 45 per cent have a composable front-end and a full-stack back-end; the perfect blend

“Since launching Commerce Components in early 2023, we’ve expanded our solutions for enterprise retailers. One example is that we now offer Shop Pay offering to enterprise retailers (on or off Shopify),” said Shopify.

“Shop Pay boosts conversion by as much as 50 per cent compared to a guest checkout, outpacing all other accelerated checkouts by at least 10 per cent, according to a recent study by one of the Big Three consulting firms.”

“Commerce moves fast. Like all merchants, enterprises are trying to keep up. But there’s one big problem getting in their way: The software many of them rely on is an unwieldy monster,” explained Shopify.

The IDC report, SaaS Commerce Platforms: The Future of Simplified Business Operations, said commerce platforms are evolving to align with changing business priorities. 

Ritu Khanna

“In the fast-paced world of commerce and retail, one of the most significant obstacles enterprise businesses face is the cumbersome nature of the software they depend on,” shared Ritu Khanna, VP, Global Partnerships at Shopify.

“Shopify wanted to dig deeper into how enterprises are using SaaS commerce platforms to support their sales strategies. That’s why we commissioned IDC, a leading provider of IT research and advice, to conduct a survey of 1,000 retail enterprise businesses in the US, UK, Germany, France, Australia and Japan.”

There were a number of key findings from the report worth noting:

  • 67% are at least considering changing their commerce platform in the next three years, but nearly as many (61%) said the cost of implementing new tech will be tough
  • 94% said a timely implementation is important
  • 67% cited ease of use as one of the top things they value in a commerce platform
  • 28% of companies have already gained significant benefits and efficiencies through the deep integration of a SaaS commerce platform into their business
  • A lack of technology scalability was the second most common internal challenge they cited (31%), behind a lack of digital skills (38%).
  • Cost effectiveness is a must-have with 91% of enterprises on average saying that low total cost of ownership is important when changing their SaaS commerce platform.
Image: Shopify

“Enterprise decision-makers are facing immense pressure to drive outcomes while being told to do more with less,” shared Khanna. “Now, more than ever, simplicity and speed are critical. Cumbersome SaaS implementations are no longer tolerated. Enterprise businesses are looking for a modular platform that can be customizable and pave the way for innovation and connectivity to rapidly build and launch new customer experiences.

“Shopify’s goal is to bring our vision of commerce to enterprises all over the world. That’s why we’ve doubled down on building to ensure enterprises have access to the best tools for commerce with speed, customization, and conversion, so they can match all the shifts in commerce and boardrooms.”

“Shoppers have come to expect the convenience of shopping wherever they are and they want seamless experiences when engaging with their favorite brands. As the leading global commerce company, Shopify provides retailers with the necessary tools, whether it’s through online, social platforms or offline channels.

“We’ve also seen that checkout is the most crucial part of the shopping experience, which is why we offer Shop Pay to enterprise retailers on and off our platform. Everlane is a great example of this. Their composable front-end allows them to integrate with Shop Pay, while they continue to use their existing back-end stack. Available through Shopify Payments, Shop Pay boosts conversion by as much as 50% compared to a guest checkout, outpacing all other accelerated checkouts by at least 10%, according to a recent study by one of the Big Three consulting firms.”

Image: Shopify

“Lack of talent and fierce competition are significant challenges for businesses. As companies adopt more advanced omnichannel business models, the commerce architecture they require must deliver greater speed, efficiency, and scalability. However, this could result in increased IT complexity,” said the report.

“As enterprise decision-makers have a low tolerance for cumbersome implementations, enterprise software as a service (SaaS) should be simple and fast; cost-effectiveness, speed, and innovation are crucial. To better understand how enterprises are using SaaS commerce platforms to support their sales strategies, Shopify commissioned IDC to conduct a survey of 1,000 retail enterprises globally. Results of the survey show that fast time to market and ease of use are considered key platform features by 75 per cent and 67 per cent of enterprise companies, respectively.

“Companies are exploring different models, from full stack to blended and fully composable, depending on their requirements. Platforms that can deliver features such as enhanced payment, AI, and social commerce are strongly favored, as are strategies to achieve lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Migrating from legacy commerce platforms means decision-making is driven by customer experience, cost-effectiveness, and fast time to market.” 

The report said an increasingly competitive and complex market environment is a major concern for companies, as it can threaten their business and market share. Additionally, companies are facing a shortage of digital skills and talents (which can make it difficult to keep up with the latest technological developments) and a lack of technology scalability (which can limit their ability to grow and hamper innovation and competitiveness). 

“Companies are prioritizing efficiency and productivity, as well as enhancing 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. Breaking data silos and fostering better internal communication and collaboration is also a key benefit of digital commerce. Leveraging digital commerce solutions can give companies a competitive edge and position them for long- term success,” added the report. 

“Companies require the right tools to improve customer experience, increase cost-effectiveness, and accelerate time to market. Enterprise commerce SaaS platforms are instrumental in achieving these goals. 

Self Checkout at Rexall in Metro Hall (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

“Full-stack commerce platforms offer comprehensive, all-in-one solutions; are cost-effective and easier to run; and are suitable for companies with basic digital commerce requirements. 

“As companies embrace more advanced omnichannel models, they seek more agile capabilities with greater composability. A blended approach to SaaS commerce platforms, or a full-stack back end and composable front end, can be the optimal solution. This mix of pre-integrated modules and optionally selected applications delivers fast time to market, improved customer experience, and cost-effectiveness without requiring advanced in-house technology expertise. 

“Blended SaaS commerce platforms might not be enough for more digitally mature companies with a more advanced omnichannel mix and stronger in-house IT skills. These companies have ambitious innovation strategies that require fully headless and modular platforms, consisting of a mix of individual modules or applications from different vendors. These give access to advanced features and cutting-edge technologies to deliver enhanced customer experience and operational gains (e.g., faster updates, accelerated time to market, and increased cost-effectiveness).”

As the omnichannel customer journey evolves and the complexity of retail operations increases, the business environment becomes more demanding and requires more advanced commerce architectures, explained the IDC report. 

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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