Businesses have historically faced a difficult decision when choosing the right platform approach for their e-commerce initiatives. Should you bring an e-commerce platform on-premise? Should you have a hosting provider operate a dedicated platform for them? Should you look to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for your e-commerce plans?
Bringing an e-commerce platform on premise allows full control of the platform and your customer’s digital experience. This approach means heavy upfront costs in order to make the significant investment in IT staff and resources. Offloading the operational challenges to a hosting provider reduces the burden on an IT department, but does little to help reduce the operating costs for a business.
SaaS provides rapid deployment and lower cost to entry, but does not allow the same control of your customer’s digital experience as a dedicated platform. It is much harder to make your customer’s digital experience your own.
What would you say if we told you that you could have the flexibility and control of an on-premise solution that supports rapid deployment at a fraction of the cost structure?
Here are three reasons IBM Digital Commerce is a different kind of e-commerce SaaS:
1. It lets you own your online customer experience
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Choosing to run a SaaS e-commerce platform has meant that limited page templates and user interfaces tightly restrict you in how you define your customer’s digital experience. Do you or your agency want to have control over the technologies used to define the customer experience? Forget it. Do you want to define a more compelling checkout or user flow within the experience? Good luck. Do you want to adopt a new technology or social media integration? You will need a lot of patience waiting for the vendor to get around to implementing it.
IBM Digital Commerce has removed the typical constraints imposed by most SaaS e-commerce solutions. With IBM Digital Commerce, you get the same convenience of a template/content approach to creating customer interactions as other SaaS platforms with the added benefit of a full development environment in which to tailor your customer’s digital experience when you deem it necessary. This is big.
With the IBM Digital Commerce platform, you can rapidly deploy e-commerce initiatives while having the power and control typically reserved for on-premise or hosted platforms. Have you become less than thrilled with how the checkout flow works or its sequence of pages? Change it. Need to add additional interactions with the customer beyond the core consumer features within the platform? Add them.
Here is the best part. The IBM e-commerce SaaS platform hosts your tailored customer experience within the same offering. There is no need to mashup your e-commerce platform with another platform to get your unique customer engagements just right. Develop your perfectly tailored customer journey and deploy it into the IBM Digital Commerce platform without the additional costs and headaches of mashup technologies.
2. It can scale and integrate rapidly
With IBM Digital Commerce, you are not restricted the way you are with traditional SaaS platforms. SaaS e-commerce solutions have been great for getting up and running quickly, but too often become far too limiting as the need to evolve your digital business grows. Maybe it is time to integrate a configure-price-quote solution. Perhaps your needs have evolved to a point where other third-party solutions like scheduling and appointment planning are necessary. You might need to integrate other mobile or digital technologies to take advantage of your e-commerce capabilities to support your other business channels. IBM Digital Commerce allows you to change and develop your e-commerce platform as your needs change and develop.
IBM Digital Commerce has also eliminated the constraint of long release cycles and lets you take advantage of key capabilities faster allowing you to move at the speed of your customers. You get to fast track the launch of your e-commerce initiatives while ensuring the platform you selected as a great accelerator will not slam on the breaks a few miles down the road.
3. It aligns with your business model
The most common complaint about SaaS e-commerce platforms I hear is that they force you to do business the way they think you should do business. After all, these vendors are not in the business of providing tailored business models. They profit most when you align your business with the way their systems function.
With the IBM Digital Commerce platform, you can configure and customize how data flows from your e-commerce platform to your other enterprise systems. Do you want other systems notified when an order is placed in real time? Simply use IBM’s xC extension model to notify your systems so they don’t miss a beat. Do you want to check your real-time inventory levels before committing to an online sale? No problem. With IBM Digital Commerce, your business can continue to use its existing systems without a massive business transformation initiative bolted onto your e-commerce SaaS plans.
IBM has introduced “Flexibility-as a-Service” with this new platform. It is a fresh take on a mature model that deserves the attention of those CMOs who are thinking big, COOs who want move quickly and CFOs who want business value. IBM Digital Commerce is a SaaS-based e-commerce platform that lets you do business the way you want to do business.
These are just some of the reasons why we are excited about IBM Digital Commerce. For businesses who have been resistant to or have struggled with e-commerce SaaS, IBM Digital Commerce may finally offer the right solution. If you have questions about whether it is the right SaaS platform for you, let us know.