Recently, Sitecore announced the acquisition of commerceserver.net, an e-commerce vendor and provider of the Commerce Server e-commerce engine. According to Sitecore, the acquisition “lays the foundation for the industry’s first .NET based, enterprise-grade Customer Experience Management (CXM) platform with a native, fully integrated e-commerce engine.” (source: Sitecore press release)
A fully integrated Sitecore-Commerce Server solution is expected to ship in the first half of 2014. When considering integrated solutions from a single vendor, however, there are important trade-offs to consider. Start by asking yourself what you want from your e-commerce platform. Let’s start by discussing flexibility and choice.
Flexibility and Choice
At DNN, we’ve been fortunate to experience a high degree of growth in our platform and ecosystem. A significant part of that growth is due to an extensibility model that serves as the foundation of our platform. The extensibility model enables clients and partners to build open source and commercial modules that run atop our platform. Having the ability to build your own modules means you’ll get something that suits your individual needs.
When selecting an e-commerce vendor to integrate into your DNN-powered website, we provide maximum flexibility and choice: you get to review, evaluate and choose a vendor that fits your requirements. Your choice may be based on feature set, price, or one of many other criteria. The fact of the matter, however, is that you make the choice.
For example, in our DNN Store, you can find a list of DNN E-Commerce Modules currently available. To give you an idea of the number of choices available to you, this list is five pages long.
Case Studies: The DNN Store and SportsDirect.com
The DNN Store runs our Web Content Management System (WCMS), Evoq Content, which we’ve integrated with a custom-developed e-commerce engine. We’ve been operating our store for more than 10 years.
In our store, we provide thousands of modules and extensions (beyond the five pages of e-commerce extensions mentioned above), servicing thousands of transactions each month. It’s nearly as simple as the iTunes App Store: look for the right software, pay for it, download it, then activate it (disclosure: for an e-commerce engine, additional steps apply).
SportsDirect.com, the UK’s top sports retailer by revenue and profit, is a good example of flexibility and choice: they’re using our WCMS solution to power over 100 of their online properties. Using our extensibility model and open API, SportsDirect, like the DNN Store, employs a custom-developed e-commerce engine that they’ve integrated with our WCMS.
Cantarus, a DNN Gold Certified Partner, produced a related case study:
A Solution Tailored to Your Needs
As can happen with enterprise software, you utilize 15 percent (or less) of the features provided. You pay, however, for 100 percent of the cost. The result? You may need to break the bank. Our flexibility and choice allows you to select an e-commerce vendor that’s the most well-suited to meet your specific requirements.
Do you sell hard goods or soft goods? Software subscriptions or airline tickets? Some vendors may be well suited to handling your software-related transactions, while others may be a better fit for the complex sale (e.g. booking a flight, hotel and a rental car).
With an enterprise solution, you get “the solution” and hope that it’s a good fit for your particular requirements. With a more tailored solution, you find a better fit for your needs – and, you pay for the 80-100 percent that you need, rather than the 85% that you don’t.
A Small Sampling of E-commerce Vendors in the DNN Store
You might start selling a small set of products, but eventually grow to sell thousands; Hotcakes Commerce will meet your needs. Not only does Hotcakes Commerce offer all of the typical features that you need, but it is also very designer-friendly, so you can easily manage the look and feel of your site.
Cart Viper is one of the top selling e-commerce solutions on the DNN Store. Aside from having a robust feature set, Cart Viper also provides very flexible product pricing options.
Many commerce solutions include coupons and discounts. Revindex goes further than most by offering a very flexible system for managing coupons, discounts and rewards.
There will undoubtedly be scenarios in which the Commerce Server / Sitecore integrated platform makes a lot of sense. The purpose of this blog post was not to argue against that solution – but rather to highlight important considerations. While I’m a firm believer in flexibility and “solution tailoring,” the ultimate decision is yours. I wish you the best!