Well that was a doozy of a first quarter! While pandemic and political news continued to send shockwaves through our newsfeeds, e-commerce kept chugging along fueled by pandemic fatigue-driven buying and the anticipation of more stimulus checks. Lockdowns are ending and in-person retail is picking up but wary consumers are still using e-commerce sites and apps to buy online and pick up in-person. E-commerce sectors related to housing, outdoor gear, sporting goods, marine / boating, home furnishings and specialty foods continue to set record sales numbers so long as supply chains are moving.
Those of us working in e-commerce are primed for the best of both worlds, with an economic recovery, pent-up demand and the return of shopping in-person and travel are on the horizon. At Accorin, we set up clients on what we call our “Big 3” e-commerce platforms: Adobe Magento, BigCommerce, and Shopify. We’re going to kickoff the quarter with some quick news on each of these platforms and some helpful links that will help you explore more about each or all of them should you choose to dig deeper. Of course if you have any questions you can also drop us a line at [email protected] and we’ll respond with an answer, our POV, or both!
Adobe Commerce (Magento)
Yes, that’s the name. Deal with it. It’s a good thing. Magento and Adobe continue to deliver on their promise of continuing the integration between Magento Commerce and other products within the Adobe Experience Cloud suite. Adobe Summit is happening at the end of this month (sign up now – we doubt you’ll ever get free access to these resources again – take advantage while it’s still virtual) and assuming you sign up for the commerce track, you will no doubt be exposed to a product roadmap that has incentives for merchant teams to consider.
With a number of our B2B clients running Magento 2.x we are excited about the rapid pace of continued development and releases that benefit B2B merchants. The core B2B feature enhancements that were released last year related to purchase order approvals and company customer integrations have been further enhanced. B2B merchants that serve complex organizations with multiple locations and different teams of purchasers will like the current release (2.4.1). This release includes what Magento is calling B2B v1.3.0. According to Magento, “This release includes improvements to order approvals, shipping methods, shopping cart, and logging of admin actions.” Complete details are available here (also a great place to follow future releases).
We’re very excited about some new features related to B2B payments and search that are going to be announced soon and released in Q2. In particular one incredibly innovative integration with a part of the Adobe Suite of B2B-centric products that we especially love because it enhances our “Self Service B2B E-commerce” framework that we continue to evolve with our key B2B merchant clients. Stay tuned for more on this or follow us on twitter at @accorin_agency and you will be alerted as soon as we can release more information about this.
Other key initiatives we’re watching from Adobe / Magento include:
- Continued integration with Adobe Sensei for deeper, better personalization
- Continued integration with Marketo that will support data-driven merchandising
- Large and continuous flow of performance enhancements as evidenced by the dev docs!
BigCommerce continues to build momentum as a SaaS e-commerce platform in both the B2C and B2B sectors as they expand their offerings through features and integrated 3rd party applications. Some of the biggest news from Q1 includes:
- an announcement in February that sellers can integrate their stores with Walmart’s marketplace with an offer as well: “BigCommerce sellers will receive an expedited application review to get up and running on the marketplace quickly, and for a limited time, Walmart will offer $0 commission rates to new platform sellers when they meet all New-Seller Savings offer conditions for their first month.” Given the reach of the rapidly growing Walmart marketplace (120mm+) this is an attractive offer for B2C merchants looking to expand their customer base through a marketplace strategy.
- Big Commerce has also announced to its Solution Partners like Accorin that important new B2B features will be announced in April. Given the solid integrations that BigCommerce already has with B2B providers like BundleB2B, PunchOut2go, Brightpearl and ShipperHQ we are looking forward to the announcement. We suspect an integration consolidation of these technologies is in order as BigCommerce has made a strong commitment to B2B.
For the latest from BigCommerce we recommend following them on Twitter @BigCommerce.
UPDATE: On Monday April 5 BigCommerce soft launched their new B2B offering with partners. If you are a B2B merchant intersted in learning more about this exciting new offering, please contact us. We would be happy to schedule a chat with you about it.
We all know that Shopify is a super-dependable, secure, affordable SaaS e-commerce platform that’s popular with brands and e-commerce merchants that want a rich front end shopping experience. Designers love it because it has literally thousands of themes available and the front end is flexible enough so that developers have freedom to edit styles and HTML on individual page types within a store instance. There is a world of apps that can help merchants customize the store but doing so may require that you manage each of these pieces of functionality as a part of administering your Shopify e-commerce store.
Our development team loves working with Shopify and their plug in ecosystem. The platform is utilized by startups and large brands alike, so just about everyone who works in e-commerce is somewhat familiar with the platform. But for the last few quarters, aside from news about the skyrocketing stock price, most of the news has been about additions to its app ecosystem that add functionality. This quarter, the announcement that Rebuy has a Shopify-focused personalization app is one that caught our attention. The Seeking Alpha announcement about Rebuy from March 1 is an important read with details on the personalization engine they claim can provide an AI/machine learning-based personalization engine for Shopify.
It claims to provide a truly personalized experience and we look forward to testing it; our team has already started with a free trial. The Shopify Change Log is a great place to stay on top of the nitty gritty details of what’s changed on the platform. For major feature releases make sure to follow them on Twitter at @shopify, @shopifydevs, @shopifyplus, @shopifypartners, @shopifysupport, @shopifyUX. OK – that’s a lot of Twitter handles to follow but another hint – to get a glimpse of what Shopify has planned in the near future register for the Shopify Town Hall. The next one is scheduled for April 15.
The Bottom Line
There’s a lot to keep track of with these [Big] 3 platforms as they are constantly innovating, integrating and growing. We keep our fingers on the pulse of what each is up to and will continue to pass that information on to our clients and subscribers.
If you have specific questions about how your requirements, e-commerce needs, desires might fit the most recent developments across all three of these platforms please contact us and we will schedule a call with an e-commerce architect on our team at your convenience.