Ecommerce retailers need to have the right platform and tools to build and run their stores successfully. Since we’re heavily involved in all aspects of a retailer’s ecommerce decision-making process (and grew up developing and using our own proprietary software) we’ve become familiar with many of the major players in the ecommerce software space. Today, we’re proud to have integrations with four of them – and to help spread some knowledge, and we’re going to profile their benefits, key offerings, and drawbacks for you.
Demandware is a cloud-based service that offers users a central platform to manage multiple channels across multiple locations. The use of the cloud makes the system highly accessible and ensures a level of data security. It gives merchants the option to build the site themselves, using Demandware as a base to power it or have a Demandware partner handle it for you. The software can be used by merchandisers, marketers, developers, and fulfillment staff, promoting a high level of visibility across departments – and sales channels! Product content can be published, syndicated, and managed, with navigation and categories structured to suit the customer. Easy data capture allows marketers to segment customers and create targeted campaigns. Plus, the centralized order management system gives retailers a real-time snapshot of orders, inventory, promotions, purchases, and customers across the board, making forecasting for holiday seasons and upcoming promotions a breeze. Plus, the solution is scalable and customizable, allowing your developers to create a unique shopping experience that isn’t “cookie-cutter” or looks like other Demandware sites. Its responsive web design feature lets your site adapt to any device.
Kalio works on the SaaS model, with an open architecture. All of Kalio’s clients use the same copy of a software application at all times, so when Kalio makes a change to the platform or fixes a bug, it gets updated to all clients across the board (gotta love that!). The same applies to features and upgrades – instead of waiting for a new release every few months, Kalio updates clients as soon as they are ready. Kalio is great for integration and can be easily integrated with third-party ecommerce fulfillment services and trusted merchant services like PayPal, Authorize.net, Google Checkout, and more. Ecommerce vendors can use the platform to give customers reliable, intuitive payment options. One cool feature is the Business Activity Monitor, which gives merchants detailed information about all captured transactions on the site, including alerts for failed transactions, date, and time-stamped activity, as well as error messages logging from payment gateways and third party services.
Bigcommerce is a feature-rich ecommerce store builder with everything from customizable themes to ready-to-publish templates suitable for any product and brand. The best part about Bigcommerce is that they have a tool for pretty much any ecommerce-related task: creating coupons and promotions, social sharing, email newsletter integration, and payment gateway integrations, to name a few. Bigcommerce also allows for integration with all kinds of shopping channels, such as Facebook, eBay, and Google Shopping – so you have the freedom to sell anywhere, fully synchronized with Bigcommerce. They also provide hundreds of fantastic app plugins (like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and SurveyMonkey) to integrate your sales and operations data with your marketing efforts. And they don’t just focus on the cosmetics of the site, either. There is also detailed analytics, which helps to measure performance on several parameters, from unique visitors to revenue and conversion rates.
Magento is used by some of the most successful ecommerce brands and upscale labels (Nike, Rebecca Minkoff, and Warby Parker, to name a few!), but there’s still something for everyone. They have three options: Enterprise (with extra functionality for fast-growing businesses), Community (open source), and Magento Go, a hosted solution for smaller businesses. The Community version has an active group of contributors and developers. Still, the drawback is that there is no guarantee that the advice posted by the developers of the plugins they create will work for you. The Enterprise edition is feature-rich and flexible, with the bonus of mobile features. Go, meanwhile, is aimed at small- to medium-sized businesses and offers flexible designs and templates, unlimited product options, and apps and extensions. Magento offers one of the most advanced ecommerce solutions, has a huge template library, advanced reporting, a rich third-party plugin library, and is highly customizable – but, as with nearly everything, all of the better features come at a higher price.