Finding the right eCommerce platform is the first step offline commerce businesses take when deciding to go digital. If small and medium-sized businesses have little difficulty choosing an eCommerce platform, for large companies it can become a real challenge. As large enterprises need enterprise-level systems that can handle their heavy workload, provide enough functionality to support most business activities, and integrate with other systems. Therefore, many companies opt for the development of customized enterprise commerce solutions.
In this article, we’ll look at what enterprise commerce is in general, what commerce solutions businesses can expect from ready-to-use enterprise commerce platforms, and what to consider when creating a custom enterprise commerce solution.
What is Corporate Trading?
The term business commerce is pretty self-explanatory. It is a large enterprise-level company that offers its services or products to individual buyers as well as other businesses (B2B and B2C).
For effective trading, companies usually use enterprise trading platforms. These platforms are much more robust, offer a wider range of tools, and can handle heavier workloads than most e-commerce platforms used by small and medium businesses. They help large companies:
- perform the most essential business tasks in a single platform, e.g. inventory management, customer management, product shipping, catalog management, etc. ;
- manage multiple sales channels;
- provide multi-store support;
- optimize e-commerce websites for desktop and mobile views;
- effectively manage a complex workflow;
- perform advanced data analysis;
- make payments through various methods using multiple global currencies;
- Implement the latest digital technologies for efficient business expansion and revenue growth, e.g. blockchain, big data analytics, AI technology, etc.
Although enterprise commerce platforms are created for large companies with a global presence and multi-million dollar revenue, small businesses can also incorporate them into their digital ecosystem. So, SMEs with a long-term view of advancing their business and wanting to grow with their e-commerce platforms are turning to enterprise commerce development and building their own digital solutions.
About Enterprise Commerce Solutions
There is a wide range of solutions that can be integrated with enterprise commerce platforms. Let’s take a closer look at them and find out when businesses might need them.
- Product Information Management (PIM) – the software used by many e-commerce businesses for efficient management of product information across various sales and customer communication channels. Apart from organizing data into convenient catalogs for customers, it also allows companies to keep their product database up-to-date across all company departments, supply chain partners and others.
- Process management (BPM) – a useful tool focused on the long-term analysis of various activities and tasks within a company, making them consistent and simple to manage. Using a BPM tool, companies can create, deploy, aggregate, analyze, automate and improve their business processes, from employee onboarding, account management, billing, project management , etc.
- Integrated Management Software (ERP) – the software used to lighten the day-to-day business activities of a company. A decent ERP system manages various business processes including accounting, purchasing, human resources, project management, risk management and compliance, supply chain management and many more, and enables the storing and processing data in a single database.
- Human Resource Management (HRM) – a handy tool for the human resources department used for employee management. With this tool, HR managers can efficiently hire and onboard staff, provide employee training and monitor their performance, manage incentives, benefits, health and other programs, and much more.
- Product data management (PDM) – a tool responsible for managing and publishing data related to products widely used in engineering, manufacturing, construction and others. It tracks product releases, submits a bill of materials (BOM), creates instructions, manages engineering data and designs in CAD tools, monitors engineering processes, and much more. .
- product life cycle management (PLM) – the software that tracks the entire journey of a product, from building it to delivering it as a service to making it available. PLM tools unite business processes, organizational data, external systems, product design, manufacturing, maintenance, deployment, and other processes on a single platform, increasing data transparency across departments as well only with the third parties involved.
- supply chain software (SCM) – this tool is all about the optimization and successful delivery of products. By using SCM systems, companies can improve their product handling processes, trace the cheapest and safest routes for product delivery, increase data transparency between supply chain participants, improve satisfaction of their customers by providing convenient product ordering and delivery services, and much more.
- business intelligence (BI) – BI stands for a suite of tools and technologies that collect, analyze, and visualize raw data from a variety of sources. Businesses can use this processed and refined data to gain additional business insights, such as defining and improving unprofitable activities, preventing losses, evaluating staff performance, minimizing business risks, and more.
Benefits of Custom Enterprise Commerce Development
When businesses move from a variety of separate commerce solutions to integrated enterprise commerce platforms, they experience many benefits:
- improved customer experience when goods and services are delivered smoothly and without delay;
- operational efficiency due to the elimination of data silos between business departments, sales and communication channels as well as increased work efficiency when various business operations are performed within a single ecosystem;
- advanced analysis because modern enterprise commerce solutions have AI and ML-based instruments that can help analyze large amounts of raw data gathered within the company and from external sources;
- omnichannel communication between physical and digital stores with seamless operations, convenient transactions and improved customer satisfaction.
However, all of these benefits can be overshadowed by impractical or insufficient features that businesses may find in standard solutions. The fact is, every business is unique and has its own established, often complex, processes. Therefore, they require enterprise trading platforms to be carefully tailored to their trading needs. This can be achieved with custom business solutions.
When companies turn to custom enterprise commerce development, they get scalable enterprise platforms designed in accordance with their business processes and requirements. Plus, they get better-protected solutions because they don’t depend on third-party vendors, entrusting them with the company’s most sensitive data.
Advice on how to choose an enterprise commerce provider
When building proprietary enterprise commerce platforms, there are several things to consider:
- What are their main business objectives for the re-platform?
This can include establishing a more customer-friendly user interface, reducing expenses, increasing ROI, analyzing real-time data, managing multiple stores, and more.
- What are the current application and software bottlenecks they want to avoid on a new platform?
This may include updating the legacy system of the current platform or software, software integration difficulties, security issues, etc.
- What essential features do they want to include in their new platform?
A new platform can include any enterprise commerce platform functionality, from conventional ERPs to more industry-specific functionality such as PDM or BI. Additionally, a company may need special solutions, e.g. blockchain-level security, certain catalog requirements, etc., which can also be successfully integrated into a custom solution.
- What integrations does the company want to include in their solution?
In case a company is not ready to migrate their existing systems, for example the CRM or CSM base, they can always add them to the new platform as an integrated solution via APIs. Therefore, companies need to think carefully about what they want from their new platform and how they can connect it to an already operational infrastructure.
Having a solid enterprise commerce platform that enables fast data exchange, provides the necessary functionality and guarantees strong security is the key to successful business development. This is why many businesses are opting to use integrated enterprise commerce solutions instead of using standalone software for effective business management.
However, businesses considering using ready-to-use enterprise commerce platforms may encounter issues such as their cumbersome nature, lack of flexibility, lack of essential features and a number of those which are never used. To avoid this problem, many companies create custom enterprise commerce software solutions.
If you are also considering building a custom enterprise commerce solution, our software development team with over 20 years of experience in the global software development market and over 700 completed projects including development software for businesses, can help you.