The Final Wave of Ecommerce Replatforming
Will API-first and Composable Platforms Be the End of Replatforming?
Software tends to be cyclical in nature. Historically it was common for companies to consider replacing ERPs and other mission-critical systems on a seven-year cycle. Most ecommerce software tends to be replaced on a similar or slightly faster cycle as ecommerce (aside from EDI) is still a fairly new way for companies to sell. Purchasing behavior and trends have evolved faster during this short history, thus compressing the cycle as companies keep up with buying behavior to maintain and grow market share.
How It Started
The first big wave of ecommerce implementations started around 2009. The choices were limited. Companies with money purchased ecommerce from the big brands in tech, which often also sold ERPs and enterprise software. These were safe choices from a career perspective.
For companies that did not have deep pockets, open source ecommerce platforms were the rage. Download it for free, add lots of functionality from app marketplaces, spend ridiculous amounts of money on hosting to cover up performance issues, and customize it to fit the business… and ensure job security. Easy and free.
The Second Wave
As the demand for ecommerce software grew, the number of platforms entering the market did as well. So did the marketing claims. Content and commerce were hot, so were customer data and commerce. Content Management System (CMS) brands and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) brands would not take a back seat to enterprise software brands and kludgy open-source ecommerce platforms. This was the birth of digital experiences and marketecture.
The Covid Wave
Yeah, the pandemic. That time period when sales reps could no longer visit customers, and nearly every distributor purchased an ecommerce platform out of pure necessity. Buying shifted to digital channels—speed to implement trumped strategy and requirements. The long-term was sacrificed for the short-term.
The Third (and Final?) Wave
Welcome to the API economy. Headless, composable, and API-first are the new buzzwords, and the MACH Alliance has made the term MACH a real thing. Decoupled architecture and best-of-breed systems sharing data through mico-services will allow companies to compose the best digital experiences. Marketecture is now MACHitecture. Anything not MACH is monolithic.
While all of this sounds great, the word on the street is that 40-50% of MACH implementations are failing. Why? Cost and complexity. Purchasing multiple best-of-breed software products and maintaining integrations is not cheap.
The dirty secret is also data. Not dirty data. No place to manage the data that is necessary in B2B ecommerce. Most MACH ecommerce platforms were made for retail ecommerce and don’t have a data structure to support accounts or profiles and the corresponding B2B contract rules like pricing, shipping, and inventory. Stringing this logic together in best-of-breed systems just got messy.
The Best of Both Worlds
Znode includes all of the benefits of an API-first approach to ecommerce with over 1,200 pre-built API end-points and a decoupled architecture that can be configured for all of the complexities of B2B ecommerce. These B2B features, along with a data structure for the complexities of B2B ecommerce, can be extended via API.
Call it the best of both worlds. Call it the fourth and final wave. Call Znode to schedule a demo.