GARTNER QUADRANT ECOMMERCE PLATFORM OVERVIEW

 

WHO ARE THE LEADERS AND WHY?

eCommerce platforms had modest beginnings with stand-alone eCommerce website development and models right at the end of the previous century. Today, such platforms have advanced multifold and now incorporate various related functionalities and technologies.

Gartner defines eCommerce as:

Buying and selling encounters among people, businesses, and things for products and services through digitalization technologies. These encounters yield a valuable transaction to the client, based on an array of factors, including satisfactory customer experience, cut-rate price, ease of use, timeliness, and clear policies, among other factors. As of 2017, the following are the leading digital commerce players:

LEADERS:

  1. IBM

IBM is leading the digital stratosphere based on its product functionality, as well as the capacity to support B2B and B2C business models. Also, its interlinked ecosystem of applications that connects to IBM’s eCommerce platform globally adds to its market superiority. IBM’s eCommerce portfolio consists of Watson Commerce Insights, Watson Commerce, Order Management; Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ), Watson Order Optimizer; real-time customized solutions, Watson Content Hub, Store Associate, and Watson Customer Experience Analytics (CXA).

Although the tech giant offers its services to all client segments with digital commerce Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) revenue from $10 million to more than $1 billion, bigger and more sophisticated businesses are its largest customer segment. The company relishes a prominent degree of presence in every discipline, except tourism.

IBM is a publicly traded company, geographically based in New York, U.S., with a global presence in over 215 countries.

Strengths:

Global sophistication and scalability

IBM Watson Commerce facilitates and backs sophisticated, global, and incredibly trafficked commerce sites, including some of the most eminent ones across the globe. Also, the majority of customers rank IBM highly in complexity and scalability.

Machine-learning integration

IBM has remained consistently ahead of other vendors in its focus on AI and machine learning. The tech giant is now integrating these into its commerce portfolio by harnessing the endeavors of other areas of IBM, as so aptly exemplified by Watson Commerce Insights, for predictive search and predictive merchandising. Additionally, the referenced clientele is highly satisfied with its capacity to stay in sync with the market and to bring novel, relevant product innovations to the market.

Ecosystem

IBM sustains an exhaustive set of partners in the eCommerce ecosystem, regarded highly by its reference customers who scored it to be either very high or outstanding.

 

  1. SAP Hybris

In the context of eCommerce website development, SAP Hybris is a leading market player due to its capacity to support both B2C and B2B business models and worldwide scalable commerce implementations. Its prominent presence in various vertical industries, as well as its ecosystem and related technology areas add to its dominance.

The front-office portfolio of SAP Hybris includes SAP Hybris Customer Experience, SAP Hybris Commerce, SAP Hybris Marketing, SAP Hybris Sales, SAP Hybris Profile, SAP Hybris Service, SAP Hybris as a Service (YaaS), and SAP Hybris Revenue. Organizations of all sizes purchase the company’s products, but the most typical eCommerce customer yields GMV revenue in the range of $50 million to $1 billion. The company is publicly traded and is headquartered in Germany, with expanded global presence.

Strengths:

Growth

SAP Hybris is consistently churning out double-digit revenue increments for its software solution and triple-digit surges for both its cloud packages, in addition to new clients for B2B and B2C. Similarly, SAP Hybris Commerce continues to attract a healthy amount of inquiries from Gartner customers across a range of regions and industries. Gartner projects SAP Hybris Commerce customer growth of about 35% in 2018. All reference clientele recorded very high overall satisfaction with SAP and SAP Hybris digital commerce platform.

Platform functionality

SAP Hybris Commerce has a robust set of core commerce functionality (subscription billing, services, digital and physical goods, and data-rich products and services). Also, the company carries on with its investment in adjoining eCommerce technologies and solutions to further refine SAP Hybris Commerce, such as SAP Hybris YaaS and SAP Hybris Revenue. In addition, the platform melds with other SAP applications like SAP ERP, through SAP Data Hub. SAP also continues to build more functionality in CX, WCM, marketing, customer service, and merchandising.

Vertical industry support and ecosystem

SAP continues funding to increase its network of technology partners and service providers (for example, Capgemini, Accenture Interactive, Deloitte Digital, Infosys, and IBM). Also, SAP Hybris Commerce got modules and accelerators for particular industries, such as education, grocery and CPG, utilities, public sector/government, financial services and insurance, and telecommunications.

 

  1. ORACLE

Oracle is a distinguished name based on its digital power to facilitate both B2B and B2C business models, multiple eCommerce delivery models, and a robust partner ecosystem. It can also field adjoining customer experience applications (both for external customers and internal users) for customer service, marketing, and other areas. Its two commerce products are Oracle Commerce Cloud, an emerging hybrid SaaS solution based on Oracle Commerce, and Oracle Commerce, a software solution that Oracle also hosts.

While the vendor serves various customer segments, its most recurring clients are ones with digital commerce GMV of more than $250 million. The company is in the public domain, and is headquartered in California with offices worldwide.

Strengths:

Product depth

Oracle Commerce and Commerce Cloud have different implementation requirements, pricing models, and functionality. Commerce Cloud has a faster time to market, while Oracle Commerce offers broader functionality. Both are able to integrate with optional Oracle customer service and merchandising, and can assist configuration of sophisticated products through Oracle CPQ Cloud embedding.

Oracle CX

Oracle’s Customer Experience (CX) Suite offers adjoining functionality for customer service, CPQ, marketing, and sales functionality. The Unified CX platform furnishes a common architecture for interoperability between supporting applications and Oracle Commerce through REST APIs. Most of the reference clients rated Oracle high to outstanding on its user experience capability.

Global and scalable

In 2016, Oracle Commerce Cloud was selling primarily to mid-tier clients. However, bigger clients are being taken onboard as it matures. It can facilitate a global and scalable commerce environment in sophisticated B2B and B2C environments. Oracle’s worldwide presence and partner ecosystem enable it to offer further support resources for mega implementations.

 

  1. DIGITAL RIVER

Digital River is gaining ground due to its propensity to offer global, scalable and end-to-end eCommerce solutions to clients. In the context of eCommerce website development, the vendor offers a multitenant SaaS B2B and B2C platform with international payment capabilities, alongside operations subscription services and optional marketing. Digital River principally sells to companies with digital commerce Gross Merchandise Volume revenue lower than $250 million. It primarily serves customers in software and gaming, hard goods (such as tools, housewares, home improvement, sports equipment, and office products), and consumer technology.

Digital River is privately owned by Siris Capital, and is headquartered in Minnesota, U.S., with a presence in Europe, Asia, and South America.

Strengths:

Complete global eCommerce solution

Digital River can provide functionality for B2B or B2C, including payments, customer service, marketing, global logistics, and warehousing. Also, it can act as the merchant as well as the seller of record for its clients. The reference clientele rated its globalization capacities as being very good to outstanding, while its ability to scale and accommodate complexity was marked as very high to outstanding.

Pricing and TCO

The Digital River reference clientele was recorded as being supremely content with the overall value proposition, as case studies indicate a lower TCO than integrating many components from different vendors. Additionally, the company provides very flexible pricing models – the flexibility in price is based on the merchandise value, or the number of transactions or, through product licenses.

Innovation focus

Beyond conventional digital sales, Digital River offers capability for commerce through virtual reality, subscription-based eCommerce, purchases originated by physical products (IoT), and purchases on games consoles.

 

  1. SALESFORCE

Salesforce is swiftly climbing the top ranks based on its expanding customer base of B2C brands and retailers. From the perspective of eCommerce website development, its ability to speedily deploy commerce sites and subsites is making it a significant force in the market. In 2016, the company acquired Demandware and rebranded it as Salesforce Commerce Cloud. The platform is a multi-tenant Software as a Service (SaaS) commerce product, which was previously licensed almost exclusively on a revenue-share basis to branded manufacturers and retailers. Commerce Cloud is particularly feasible for B2C companies yielding eCommerce GMV revenue between $50 million and $100 million, although client size is gradually increasing.

According to Gartner’s projections, at the time of acquisition, about 11% of Salesforce Commerce Cloud clients had digital commerce GMV revenue in excess of $100 million, with some producing over $200 million. The company is in the public domain, and is based in California, U.S., with offices across the globe.

Strengths:

Market and vertical presence for retail

Salesforce Commerce Cloud relishes a strong and credible reputation with B2C brands and retailers for its vertical market expertise, which includes assisting retail POS integration and AI functionality unique to Commerce Cloud Einstein for product recommendations and email marketing. Its clientele terms it a quick and trustworthy setup of multiple eCommerce sites and subsites, with a comparatively low overhead for internal users. Furthermore, all reference clients recorded extremely high satisfaction with the SLA compliance of Salesforce.

Salesforce and ecosystem

Gartner is of the conviction that the Demandware acquisition was highly positive for both companies. It gave Salesforce a credible commerce platform and Demandware additional sales/support resources and valuable market presence. Additionally, Salesforce’s robust CRM market presence and adjoining technologies will enhance the charm of Demandware for the existing user base.

Technology and pricing model

The revenue share pricing model and multitenant SaaS architecture of Salesforce Commerce Cloud allow a relatively short time in terms of productivity and the rollout of periodical functional product upgrades. They help lessen the TCO, especially in the short term. This pricing model and technology is attractive for B2C organizations with modest technical resources, or the ones requiring the capacity to rollout and enhance an eCommerce platform swiftly.

 

  1. MAGENTO

Magento is making a leading place for itself due to its progressively growing and fluid commerce platform that is deployed in many verticals and by businesses of various sizes across several countries. The vendor offers two solutions: Magento Enterprise Edition and Magento Community Edition. In 2016, Magento released the Enterprise Cloud Edition with managed hosting, and with an embedded CDN that enables customers to serve their store’s static files through Amazon Web Services. All patches and upgrades for the Enterprise Cloud Edition are supplied by Magento and included in the subscription.

In addition, the vendor’s Enterprise edition is typically used by companies with eCommerce digital Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) revenue of under $100 million. Magento is privately owned by a global investment firm, Permira. During the first half of 2017, Magento garnered an additional $250 million in funding from a prominent Hong Kong-based investor, Hillhouse. The company is based in California, U.S., with several offices in Europe.

Strengths:

Flexibility

Courtesy of its REST APIs and open-core solution, Magento can be extensively customized, for example, through in-house development, or through its large extension marketplace. This very ecosystem makes Magento conducive for a broad array of transaction types outside the ambit of conventional retail or electronic sales of physical goods.

Cost-effectiveness

Magento extends a flexible pricing model premised on tiers of eCommerce GMV revenue generated through each client B2B, B2C, or B2B2C site(s). This model, in conjunction with low license costs than several competitors, makes Magento a financially viable option. Most of the reference clientele recorded high satisfaction with the value on offer by reporting supremely high satisfaction with Magento and its eCommerce platform.

Architectural enhancements and speed

Since the launch of Enterprise v.2.0 in late 2015, Magento has made architectural and performance improvements in all subsequent versions. It includes separating databases for product data and clients, and checkout improvements that allow businesses to manage escalating transaction volumes.

 

What is Schema and Structured Data?


Structured data and schema
is code written in a structured format that it makes it easy for search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, Bing and IOT devices to decipher and interpret.

Once this code is comprehended, search engines use it to show results in a formatted manner. For example; suppose you have a food blog. Adding structured recipe data to a recipe can alter your search engine results, while making it much “richer” in terms of the content that is displayed.

This is why such results are popularly known as ‘rich snippets’ and this is how a rich snippet appears:

In this example, along with the page name, the URL and the brief explanation of the search result, the time needed to cook the absolute best ever lasagna is also mentioned. You can also see the number of calories the lasagna contains. All of this additional information has been made possible through structured data.

If you want to get such a rich snippet for your webpage, then you’ll have to add structured data to your website. Once deployed appropriately, search engines use the added structured data to understand the contents of your webpage. Consequently, you will get an improved arrangement in the search results through the use of the rich snippets.

What is Schema?

Schema, also known as Schema Markup, is a code or semantic terminology that you include on your digital properties to facilitate the search engines in providing more specific information for your customers.Let’s take a look at some examples to understand what schema markup is all about and how it can help you in improving your search engine real estate.

schema business example

In the above example, you will notice that the business is listed with basic information obtained through the crawling of the site which includes the meta description and is slightly enhanced with site links that Google was able to find.

knowledge graph card

Notice now in this example that AXO Digital gets more screen real estate through it’s knowledge graph card. This was brought to life by adding the Organization Schema throughout the site. This code helped Google to verify our NAP and match up our maps listing to additional information from the schema. As you can see we have a little work to do on getting our clients to send in some reviews 🙂

Types of Schema

Schema can be primarily categorized into two indispensable types: Creative Work and Product Schema. Lets jump in and go through some of the most commonly used.

1. Creative Work

The first main category includes the most general type of creative work. It includes items that have been created by someone or something. Apart from some of the items listed below, you’ll also find goods for monuments, games, discussions, software apps, visual representations and more. But, most of these goods lack a rich presentation with regards to search engines, hence, they are less valuable. However, as stated above, if your website has items from the following then make sure to apply schema markup:

  • Articles
    An article can be a unique piece or part of an analytical document. It is also possible to distinguish between a bulletin article, a methodical article, and a blog article.
  • Books
    Whether you have a book in paper format or a digital version, you can markup every kind of literary piece, from the writer’s credentials to the awards it secured.
  • Courses
    If you plan to offer courses in future, then schema can be of great help. Presently, Google is piloting small-scale experiments with selected applicants to understand schema markup performance for courses.
  • Music
    Music is another property that can be marked up by Schema. In fact, there are numerous Schema options of interest for music, for example, MusicRecording, MusicPlaylist, and MusicComposition.
  • Recipes
    Adding schema to the recipes on your food blog or cooking webpage can get your recipes highlighted directly in search results. In fact, as mentioned in the example above, your recipes can start garnering additional search engine real estate.
  • TV Shows & Movies
    You can also apply the structured data approach to TV shows and Movies as well. Schema markup will allow users searching for movies return a rich result with poster art, reviews, actors’ information, and also the possibility of ordering tickets for a show.
  • Videos
    Videos aren’t left behind when it comes to schema markup. In fact, Google is working on ground-breaking methods to get videos in the search results, for example, with AMP. Through this, Google will include your videos in Top Stories entries and AMP carousels.

2. Product 

The second significant type of Schema is Product and includes the following main elements:

  • Events
    If you happen to own an event company, then your thirst for effective search engine optimization can be quenched by marking up your event entries with the suitable Event Schema. Consequently, it will lead search engines to highlight your events.
  • Companies and Organizations
    Whether you own an ecommerce or content site, you can benefit from an accurate business and organization schema. This also can help to solidify your NAP and benefit your local search engine optimization efforts. Properly deployed schema markup will also help you get listed with a Knowledge Chart, or other rich entries in the search engines.
  • Products
    Similar to the business schema, it is vital to mark up your products as well. The placement of Product Schema can enrich your product listings with the supplementary data needed to generate rich snippets in SERPs.

Visualize how amazing it would be to obtain search results with additional information, for example, pricing, accessibility, and reviews! If you sell products, then Product Schema should be a significant aspect of your structured data approach.

  • Reviews
    Reviews and rankings also have a substantial impact on search results. Whether you are a service provider, run an online business, or manage sales online, you definitely should focus on user reviews and feedback to attract more customers and exhibit how reliable your services are.

Why you should use Schema: The link between Schema and SEO

Applying schema for the first time may seem to be a daunting task. However, adding structured data and schema is indispensable for making your business stand out and garnering more search engine real estate.

Here’s why you should give schema a chance:

  • While adding structured data correctly may not provide you superior rankings straightaway, it will indirectly improve your website’s search results.
  • Improved listings offer prospects an expedient method to cherry-pick a result from the list of webpages.
  • Improving your webpage through schema can make you a genuine contender for prospective consumers.
  • Schema can also help you diminish the bounce rate by improving the context of your listing.
  • As the world of structured data is evolving at present, your business can get a hands-on chance to get a leading edge over your counterparts. For instance, if you are the owner of a restaurant who successfully marks up the 300 five-star rankings, you are at an advantage from your rivals who are not marking up their rankings and reviews.
  • Schema can help you get into the spotlight as Google identifies all this data to show directly on the SERPs. This also adds horsepower to your search engine optimization efforts

Tricks to Appear in the Popular Google Answer Box and optimize for voice search

  • Start with your keyword research and recognize those queries that indirectly or overtly are asking a question.
  • Find queries that already use the answer box. If they are already there and owned by your competitors, then it means you can easily catapult them by offering a more properly formatted, more exact, more comprehensive, or higher-ranking response.
  • Even if you do not hold a first position ranking, it is okay. While having a numero uno position can help, it is not mandatory as Google will practically extract from any first-page result.
  • The language and format are of critical importance when making it to the Google Answer Box. As a result, match the list, table format or paragraph, and use the rational response to the search words in your title, description, tag, and section header.
  • Remember, precision is the key. Google is inclined towards robust, more precise answers.
  • Follow instructions for word count to make compelling statements and increase CTR

Once applied correctly, schema can work wonders for your website. Search engines are constantly coming up with new ways of displaying search results and the majority of these new ways use schema data to do so. In the world of the future, you cannot escape the use of structured data. Make structured data and schema an indispensable part of your marketing efforts to get an edge over your competition.

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