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Choosing An Enterprise Ecommerce Platform: A Deep Dive

The ecommerce platform landscape is a sea of options if you’re a small or medium-sized business.

But for those brands in the enterprise ecommerce space, you may find the number of platforms that can really handle your business needs shrinks considerably.

And as an ecommerce business at the enterprise end of the market, achieving your exact requirements is critical.

After all, your brand is on the line. You can’t afford to have customer data breaches, periods of site downtime, or a disjointed user experience.

An enterprise ecommerce platform is a software system (either self-hosted or on-premise) that serves the complex requirements of a large business.

Enterprise-level systems are scaled to your business size and growth roadmap.

A good platform should be able to not only meet your needs now, but also grow with your future sales volumes.

These platforms also usually have advanced features and functionality and can be customized to your business.

Choosing the right one depends on many factors related to:

  • What the business needs to run efficiently.

  • What the ultimate business goals are.

  • What challenges with your existing system you’re hoping to resolve.

In this deep dive, we’ll cover how to determine what your ecommerce platform needs are and compare popular enterprise ecommerce platforms that are currently leading the market.

Outline Your Specific Needs and Integrations

Making the business decision to choose a platform or to re-platform requires the input of many internal stakeholders.

Involve experts across your organization including IT, operations, logistics, marketing, design, and customer service.

Gather their feedback and begin to make a list of requirements and priorities.

Below are some things you may want to consider:

1. What are the main business objectives behind the re-platforming?

The best way to figure out what you need is to clearly define where it is you want to go.

  • Are you hoping to reduce costs and increase returns?

  • Do you want to provide a more user-friendly interface to boost conversion rates?

  • Is your current platform unable to keep pace with your growing business?

  • Do you need a platform that better integrates with third-party solutions?

  • Are you trying to avoid being locked in to using particular vendors or service providers?

2. Identify potential restrictions and bottlenecks.

If you were perfectly happy with your existing system, chances are you wouldn’t have read this far.

Now it’s time to outline what specific ways your current platform isn’t meeting your needs.

What are your pain points?

  • Is your current platform outdated, unstable, and unreliable for handling your peak traffic conditions?

  • Are key information systems in your organizations (ERP, OMS, WMS, etc.) difficult to integrate with your existing platform?

  • Is your total cost of ownership increasing due to required headcount in IT, unforeseen maintenance costs, or platform consolidation requirements due to a recent merger or acquisition?

  • Do you have any concerns about PCI compliance or the security of your existing system?

  • Do you rely heavily on your hosting company for server performance?

3. What are critical existing ecommerce features and integrations?

Despite your pain points, you’re still operating an ecommerce business at the enterprise level, so your current platform is obviously doing some things right.

It’s important to also make note of all existing features and functionality you need to maintain with your new system (whether they’re native to your current platform…or a hack or work around your team has engineered).

  • Does your business require any specific integrations (payment gateways, etc.)?

  • Does your business require specific page building functionality or catalog requirements?

  • Do you need to support an omnichannel strategy? Are you looking to expand to brick and mortar stores, sell on social media channels, or open other sales channels?

  • Do you have more than one online store that needs to be supported on the same platform?

Whatever is absolutely critical to the functioning of your business should be outlined here.

4. What features would be nice to have?

Of course, if you’re going to go through the trouble of re-platforming, you don’t just want to maintain the status quo critical items and address your current pain points.

SkullCandy made the leap from Salesforce Commerce Cloud to BigCommerce and shared this about their re-platform experience:

“While making the transition, we strategically chose to make a couple quick-win optimizations to improve the customer experience and aesthetics of our sites.”

– Kinsey Butler, Manager of Ecommerce Strategy at Skullcandy.

Don’t forget to include your wish list of items that would be nice-to-have even if they aren’t absolute must-haves.

You can keep these in mind to consider once you are comparing platforms that meet all of your critical line items.

5. What are the key systems integrations required?

No ecommerce platform is an island.

Your platform has to be able to integrate effectively with the key systems your business uses (unless you’re prepared to move from these as well).

These may include your ERP, WMS, OMS, CRM, and others.

6. Future systems integrations required for phase two.

At this stage, it’s also important to consider where your company is headed.

Your next platform should provide the flexibility, scalability, and extensibility to grow with you as enter new markets (like brick and mortar locations, an online marketplace, and any other sales channels.)

Take time to consider what your future plans and goals will require in terms of features and integrations with your platform. Make sure your new platform can support them.

You don’t want to be going through the headache of a re-platform just a few years down the road.

The State of Enterprise Ecommerce Solutions Available

Your ecommerce platform is the foundation for your online retail business.

Enterprise ecommerce software manages both your frontend sales and your backend operations while integrating with core business tools.

Your platform choice affects not only your frontend sales capabilities, but also everything happening behind the curtain.

Before we get to all the individual options to consider, let’s consider the general categories that all of these solutions fall into.

First, your platform has to be hosted somewhere. Your choice of ecommerce platform will typically determine your hosting environment, which is either:

  • On-premise, self-hosted.

  • Cloud-hosted.

Your hosted ecommerce platform will likely fall into one of these categories:

  • Open Source (self-hosted or cloud-hosted).

  • SaaS (software as a service, cloud-hosted by third-party).

  • PaaS (platform as a service, hardware/software available over the internet).

  • IaaS (infrastructure as a service, cloud-based, pay-as-you-services).

We’ll be predominantly looking at open source and SaaS ecommerce, but you can get a full primer on the differences here; or, check out this handy visual breakdown from Hosting Advice:

enterprise ecommerce platforms open saas platforms

You can also classify platforms by their underlying architectures.

  • Traditional, monolith.

  • Headless or CaaS (Commerce as a Service).

Let’s look more in depth at some of these options and their potential advantages and disadvantages.

1. On-Premise.

One option for enterprise ecommerce software are those hosted on-premise.

This requires you to self-host the software.

The software will usually be open source.

Open-source software means you can modify all aspects of the code.

Until recently, this was the de facto choice for enterprise-level businesses.

By self-hosting on-premise, you maintain server and software control.

That said, you will also have great responsibilities which come with increased IT staff needs to maintain hardware, manual patches and updates, and security.

2. Cloud.

The alternative to hosting on-premise is cloud-hosting.

Open source or SaaS platforms (see below) can be hosted on the cloud, i.e. stored off-site.

It is only within the last few years that many enterprise businesses have started turning to cloud-hosted options for ecommerce software.

3. Open Source.

An open source ecommerce platform is one the company usually owns, and on which they can modify all of the code.

The advantages of these platforms are server and software control.

However, these platforms usually have a higher initial cost.

They also require a lot of responsibilities which fall on the business to manage including security (PCI compliance), hardware, IT staff to manage, hosting, and manual integrations.

4. SaaS.

SaaS solutions provide an alternative to open source and have grown in popularity in recent years.

As an industry, cloud SaaS has tripled in global market size in the last five years and continues to grow.

According to data from Statista, SaaS currently accounts for nearly $90 billion in annual revenue, which is expected to increase to over $100 billion by 2022.

Why are more enterprise companies looking to SaaS? SaaS platforms allow businesses to essentially rent the platform.

In many cases, the total cost of ownership is lower when everything (cloud hosting, SSL, security, platform maintenance, etc.) is factored in.

They are versionless and outsource the responsibility of IT management, PCI compliance, etc.

The disadvantage, depending on your business needs, is that you have less backend and code-level control.

While previously many enterprise level businesses tended to default to on-premise solutions, recently there have been far more viable options for enterprise level SaaS.

Some of these come from providers known for their on-premise ecommerce platforms newly offering SaaS solutions including SAP Commerce Cloud, Oracle Commerce Cloud, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Magento Commerce Cloud Edition also offers a PaaS solution.

Meanwhile, players who originated as SaaS providers have now moved into the enterprise space with new offerings to meet the complex business needs of clients with high volume sales.

These include BigCommerce and Shopify Plus, both of which have been growing and adopted by more established enterprise retail brands.

By choosing to rent instead of own, businesses are able to shift their financial and human resources from maintenance and integration to building relationships with customers and improving customer experiences.

This white paper shares more about why enterprise brands are making the shift to SaaS.

5. Headless.

For many businesses, the digital experience you’re creating is just as important as the product you’re selling. This is especially true in highly competitive industries.

What is your business doing to create a positive experience for customers that sets you apart from the competition?

Headless commerce is an exciting innovation in SaaS ecommerce platforms that adopts a loosely de-coupled microservice architecture.

Unlike in a monolith architecture where the frontend and backend are tightly coupled, a headless approach separates the frontend user interface layer (the “head”) from the underlying backend service layer.

These two layers are connected through APIs or web services.

Headless is a microservices approach, as it decouples one element of the system instead of relying on one interdependent system.

Decoupled approaches like headless are a potential advantage to enterprise businesses because they allow for greater freedom and control.

You can develop some elements of your system to operate independently from each other instead of having everything be fully joined together.

Henna Caravan shared the advantages they found in moving from an on-premise solution with Magento to a headless SaaS option with BigCommerce:

“We needed a platform that would be able to host both an ecommerce site, as well as a robust content site that would allow us to educate the market.

BigCommerce was the only ecommerce platform for a business of our size that allowed for product variant customization in a complex way, and that contained both an ecommerce solution as well as content pages that could serve as a CMS.”

– Jessica McQueen, Founder of Henna Caravan

A headless ecommerce platform will still provide important functions likes PCI compliance, security, fraud management, and inventory management to larger key infrastructure points such as a CMS, ERPs, PIMs, OMS, and POS.

But at the same time, it gives more freedom to create unique customer experiences with the frontend content management system.

Popular ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce, Elastic Path, Moltin, and commercetools offer headless, microservice and API-driven options.

Understanding Your Resources and Setting a Budget

When choosing an ecommerce platform, think about who in the company (or from outside hired agencies) will be responsible for things like project management, development and design.

Then, keeping the cart firmly behind the horse, make sure that all stakeholders involved in the ecommerce platform launch are on the same page regarding business needs and budget.

Different stakeholders may have different priorities. However, it will be a much smoother process if there is agreement on the budget and timelines allowed for the project from the very beginning.

Here are a few factors to consider when planning the budget and presenting various options internally.

1. Ecommerce platform cost.

Due to their varying functionality and features, pricing between platforms also varies significantly.

Different platforms also have different pricing models you will need to take into account.

On-premise “owned” solutions often have hefty licensing fees that correlate to the GMV bracket your business falls into. Other models may be based on your expected usage and site traffic. Some headless solutions may also base pricing on the number of API calls you will require.

SaaS options like BigCommerce and Shopify Plus have a recurring monthly fee that covers their services.

In addition to the start-up costs, you will have to factor in other costs associated with ownership.

  • Will you be paying to support hardware and/or hosting?

  • Manual updates?

Do your research to really determine what the total cost of ownership for a particular solution will be.

2. Development & integration costs.

Re-platforming comes with a large investment in development and integration.

These costs are not to be discounted and, along with design, may be one or you largest expenditures of a re-platform process.

You may choose to use an in-house team to build, design, and test your site or you may choose to outsource it to an external agency.

Factors to consider here are the build costs, third-party integration costs, API integrations, and third-party app costs, and pre-launch testing.

3. Website design costs.

Often a re-platform project is a great time to refresh your website’s appearance and design as well.

In fact, some redesign will likely be inevitable. You can use this as an opportunity to hone your design and create a more user-friendly interface.

Map out how your core users will journey through the site.

This will involve creating templates and wireframes to determine how your users interact with your content and products.

You want them to be able to find what they’re looking for and make purchases with fewer clicks and a positive overall interaction with your brand.

Much like with your development and integration plans, you will need to make a decision on whether or not to handle design internally or outsource to a contractor or agency specializing in design.

These decisions will be the first step in determining a budget for site design.

4. Migration costs.

Maintaining the integrity of your data is a vital part of the re-platform process, so this is not a place to skimp on budget calculations.

Making sure all of your product, category, transactional, and customer data makes the migration successfully to the new platform is critical to your business.

Have a conversation early on with any platforms you are considering moving to about the costs and assurances around data migration.

  • What sort of data migration services/agreements do they offer?

  • Do they offer catalogue transfer services?

These costs can be significant, so factoring them into your re-platform budget is important before you make a final decision on your platform.

After all, a poor transfer could result in faulty product mapping, incorrect product recommendations or images, and mishandled customer data.

All of these can impact your conversion rates and, more importantly, lose customer faith in your brand.

5. Costs to ensure you retain SEO traffic.

Speaking of migration costs, as important as keeping your data clear so that customers can continue to find what they need once they’re on your site is helping them to find your site in the first place.

Don’t lose the valuable SEO equity you’ve built in your current site with a poor re-platform plan.

Your internal SEO team (or an agency of SEO specialists you outsource to) will need to do due diligence in SEO discovery and a thorough content audit.

You will also need to create a URL structure and redirection plan. Depending on if you do this with an internal team or use an agency, your budget for this process will vary.

6. Maintenance costs.

And finally, your budget doesn’t stop the moment your new platform is up and running.

Even the most well-oiled of platform machines will require plenty of nurturing post-launch.

How much will it cost to keep your online store running?

These costs can include maintenance fees, continuing development and design work, platform support, SEO and data analytics, security and PCI compliance (if not included), and updates and patches.

Other Things To Consider When Choosing an Enterprise Ecommerce Solution

For an enterprise business to perform like you need it to, a number of systems need to work together harmoniously.

Whether you’re predominantly B2B or B2C, customer experience is likely a big component of your success.

You need to keep customers happy, the website up and available, and logistics like payments and shipping chugging along.

You may also be faced with a continual need to implement new tools for marketing, ecommerce, and other teams.

And of course, there’s an expectation that everything will work flawlessly with the existing tech stack.

Here are a few things you may want to consider when choosing the right ecommerce solution.

1. Website performance.

Beyond all the bell and whistles, one of your must-haves is that your site works consistently.

We live in a digital age when many potential customers don’t suffer fools…or slow loading speeds.

Your site needs to have strong uptime records.

It also needs to have fast site speed on both desktop and mobile (more on mobile optimization below).

2. Capacity to handle traffic.

  • Is your traffic growing beyond what your current platform can handle?

  • Does your particular business experience dramatic seasonal spikes in traffic?

Find a platform that can not only meet your traffic needs now but have the scalability to work with your projected growth.

3. Secure payments and data.

Protecting your data and that of your customers is never far from your mind. Choose a platform that will help you feel secure in how your payments and data are managed because the alternative can cost your company.

This may be influenced by your choice of a self-hosted or on-premise platform versus a SaaS platform. A self-hosted platform will often provide increased visibility of your data and an understanding of data security.

However, a SaaS option will provide security and PCI compliance as part of their monthly fees, handling these important matters while freeing up your resources for other undertakings.

4. Mobile optimization.

You may want to make part of focusing in your site performance on optimizing the mobile experience, as more and more consumers are choosing to shop on these mediums.

According to Statista research, 44.7% of ecommerce sales were mobile in 2019, which is projected to grow to 53.9% by 2021.

Of course, you know your business best.

Take time to study where and how your customers are accessing your site.

enterprise ecommerce platforms mobile purchases

Utilizing a headless platform is one-way many enterprise retailers are approaching developing an optimal mobile experience through a flexible front-end capability.

5. Migration complexity and SEO.

Despite being a major consideration for most ecommerce businesses, not all enterprise ecommerce platforms handle SEO well.

Some platforms do have native features around SEO and migration, while others will require customization and third-party integrations.

Create clear specifications for what SEO features you require as part of your platform planning.

Your SEO team will probably have a lot of input to include here about what will help search engines to better crawl the site.

Some requirements you may want to consider are: having control over your XML sitemaps, being able to provide page-level metadata, control over redirect management, pagination, etc.

Enterprise Ecommerce Platform Comparison for 2019

Below is a list of some of the best enterprise ecommerce software options available.


Long a popular solution in the small-to-medium business space, BigCommerce has recently become a popular choice for mid-market and enterprise businesses as well.

It has a straightforward dashboard, top-rated SEO, many native features, and the advantages (like lower TCO and reduced deployment time) that come from SaaS.

BigCommerce has highly flexible APIs and a strong headless commerce offering (more on that shortly).

BigCommerce offers a personalized Enterprise Customer Onboarding, catalog transfer services, and robust educational resources to ease the re-platform process.

Enterprise Account Managers and Technical Account Managers also provide additional resources and personalized help to support enterprise clients’ needs.

BigCommerce also has a large team of partners and agencies who are experts on the platform and can assist with design, development, and SEO needs.

Because the platform has more native functionality, the learning curve may be more difficult than with some simpler platforms available.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud (previously Demandware) is a SaaS option for businesses looking to streamline their omnichannel retail.

It offers an integrated platform that enables businesses to manage their sales in digital and physical channels. with one unified solution.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is intended for B2C businesses, so if you are operating a B2B or hybrid business, you will want to look at Salesforce Cloudcaze, which will require additional work to integrate.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is an enterprise-focused offering which has continued to innovate with native AI tools to make personalization easy.

The disadvantage is that there are few agency partners with Salesforce Commerce Cloud making outsourcing development and design more difficult and costly.

Many solutions will also require custom integration in order to make them work with the platform.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is also part of a larger portfolio of software, so you may experience upselling or requirements to use other products within their offerings.

Magento Commerce.

Formerly known as Magento Enterprise Edition, Magento Commerce has the flexibility to be an on-premise or cloud-hosted option.

It is part of the Adobe Experience Cloud as of 2018.

Magento allows you to have complete control of your platform, supports a large product catalog with many variants, has many native features related to product bundling, multi-store functionality, and more.

Magento also has a strong market presence and is a well-known brand.

To use Magento Commerce, you will likely have a heavy dependence on designers and developers as well as expensive maintenance and support, which can make it difficult to calculate your total cost of ownership.

Your business is also responsible for PCI compliance and updates. These updates can be very involved and can break your customizations and integrations with other systems.

SAP Hybris Commerce and Commerce Cloud.

SAP Hybris Commerce can be hosted on-premise or through cloud infrastructures, and SAP Commerce Cloud is its cloud-based offering.

SAP Commerce Cloud (along with SAP Hybris) offer native functionality appealing to businesses with a large international presence including multi-site, multi-language, and multi-currency capabilities.

They also offer complex data management tools, options for multiple stores and catalogs and flexibility for heavy customization.

SAP Commerce Cloud is not a true SaaS product, and the business is responsible for the development, upgrades and patches, and any necessary customization. The startup costs and overall cost of ownership for these platforms is also very high.

Oracle Commerce Cloud.

Oracle Commerce Cloud is the cloud-hosted product spin-off from the on-premise Oracle Commerce. Oracle Commerce Cloud supports both B2B and B2C customers in a number of verticals in a single SaaS platform.

Oracle Commerce Cloud was built with an API-first architecture that lends itself to flexibility in development.

The platform also has AI features and supports omnichannel strategies.

As with Salesforce, you may find difficulty accessing design and development partners who understand and work with the platform.

And as with Salesforce, Oracle Commerce Cloud is part of a larger portfolio of products that you may be required to use.

Additionally, you should pay close attention to which features are native to the product and which will require additional development and implementation costs to execute, so you don’t have any surprises later on.

IBM WebSphere Commerce.

For the truly large enterprises from IKEA to Home Depot, IBM Websphere has long been the platform of choice.

Under the Websphere umbrella are several product options for different subsets of the enterprise market.

IBM WebSphere Commerce is an on-premise solution, but IBM also has created a SaaS offering called IBM Digital Commerce (which does not yet have all the B2B features that WebSphere Commerce does).

As a leader in enterprise ecommerce, IBM WebSphere supports very complex business needs with a wide range of built-in features.

It has a long history of being the powerhouse behind some very big enterprise clients.

The downside of a platform that can do a lot is a high cost of ownership. Make sure to budget for custom development and integration costs.

Additionally, IBM sold Websphere this year, so the future of the product remains uncertain.

IBM’s biggest strength historically has been their customer support, but what this looks like going forward may change.

Shopify Plus.

Shopify has a strong market presence in the ecommerce space.

In 2014, they launched Shopify Plus as their solution for enterprise clients.

As a SaaS solution, the Shopify Plus platform offers the benefits of handled PCI compliance and security and solid uptime stats.

The Shopify Plus platform is also very easy-to-use, has mobile-friendly designs and the ability to customize the checkout.

Shopify Plus has a dedicated Merchant Success Manager and Launch Manager to assist their enterprise clients.

They have a robust catalog of apps, some of which are exclusive for Shopify Plus.

Shopify Plus relies on third-party apps to make up for gaps in native functionality.

This can greatly increase your total cost of ownership once you add in all of the apps you will require – this is $6,000 to $20,000 in-app costs per year in comparison to BigCommerce, for example.

Make sure to factor these costs into your decision-making process.

Additionally, you will need to pass data between your platform and third-party systems using APIs.

Shopify Plus is limited in their API capabilities to 10 requests per second (40 times slower than other platforms on the market like BigCommerce.)

A couple of other considerations:

  • Shopify plus includes up to 10 additional expansion stores which can be used for international expansion or B2B. Of course, depending on total sales, these aren’t free since cost is a percent of your GMV. The other downside to these expansion stores is that the vast majority of apps are priced per store. So, additional expansion stores can become pricey quick.

  • B2B functionality on wholesale channels is limited on Shopify Plus compared to other platforms. The design is super limited and doesn’t provide a B2C level experience.

Headless Commerce Options For Enterprise Brands

We talked earlier about the potential benefits of headless commerce and a more API-driven approach to your enterprise ecommerce platform.

Here are some questions to ask to help determine your business’s API needs.

This will not only be helpful in determining if an API-driven approach is right for your business but also how expensive it may be (as some solutions charge based on API calls).

  • Is your business commerce-first or user experience/content-first?

  • Do you require presentation layer APIs or only back-office APIs?

  • Is your data currently being transferred in near real-time from system to system?

  • Do you have a central data hub (like your ERP)? Can it connect to your ecommerce platform?

  • Are you building a monolithic system or a more agile spoke and hub system?

  • If a ‘decoupled’ solution is something that interests you, here are a few options to consider.

1. BigCommerce headless solutions.

BigCommerce offers headless solutions that allow you to easily plug in a CMS through WordPress or Drupal or even have your own custom-built solution on the front-end. The backend is then supported by the BigCommerce SaaS platform.

This provides all of the advantages of the SaaS system (PCI compliance, checkout security, etc.) with a lot of flexibility to create unique, user-driven experiences on the frontend.

All you need is an API connection to decouple the presentation layer and then plug in the platform on the backend.

BigCommerce is also worth looking at from a budgeting standpoint as its headless solutions are usually significantly less expensive than other options on this list.

BigCommerce doesn’t offer a fully decoupled microservice architecture; however, it has industry-leading API calls of 400+ requests per second with no cap on the number of API calls. BigCommerce doesn’t charge based on the number of API calls your business uses.

2. Commercetools.

Used in a wide range of industries, commercetools is a microservice-based and API-driven SaaS platform.

Commercetools provides the backend functionality, but you will need to integrate with web applications or digital experience platforms to complete the front end experience. Some third-party solutions are already pre-integrated via their APIs.

Commercetools can connect to all frontends and applications.

It can help businesses connect to a variety of digital touchpoints including mobile apps, IoT, AR/VR applications, and more for unique customer experiences.

Commercetools does have its limitations, especially in the B2B space.

It doesn’t provide the B2B features that other platforms do such as customer group specific catalogs and price lists.

3. Elastic Path.

Providing ecommerce platforms for enterprises averaging anywhere from $10 million to $100 million in GMV in a number of different verticals, Elastic Path is known for its API-driven architecture.

Because Elastic Path provides the option for a fully decoupled headless solution, a business can essentially extend their existing non-transactional channel and create a rich, customer experience using DXPs.

While Elastic Path provides a lot of freedom for businesses to connect different microservices, it also has a steep learning curve for the non-tech-centered audience.

If you have less complex business needs, another solution may be easier to implement. Elastic Path is also a much more expensive option which may take it out of the running for some midmarket and smaller enterprise businesses.

4. Moltin.

Moltin is another fully decoupled headless solution that allows you to attach Moltin’s services to your existing platform and any third-party systems you already use.

Moltin advertises its simplicity and flexibility to encourage speedy development.

One of the advantages of Moltin is that you can swap out the frontend easily.

You can also start adding inventory while the site is still being built, so teams can work concurrently.

Moltin charges based on API calls, so depending on your business needs, the product can be expensive.

How To Compare Your Enterprise Ecommerce Software Options

Now that you’ve seen a brief overview of the biggest players in the digital retail game and made a solid list of your business requirements, it’s time to start getting in depth with which platform is right for you.

Alas, there’s only so much we can do in a blog post to address your every question and concern.

However, I can point you in the right direction for where to go next.

1. Talk to the platform provider.

The platform provider is the greatest expert on the platform, its native features and what it can accomplish through third-party plugins and partnerships.

Once you have a short list of contenders, reach out to them to hear their pitch and have them answer your tough questions.

Be very clear about your business requirements, your priorities and where you can’t afford to compromise.

2. Attend ecommerce events.

Many ecommerce platforms also hold events that you can attend to learn more about them.

You can also often meet some of their industry partners so you can get a better sense of who you would need to work with to make the platform work for your business.

3. Speak to ecommerce consultants.

If you want a potentially more unbiased view, you may want to talk to some consultants who specialize in re-platforming and can share their experiences, along with any challenges or pitfalls, with moving enterprise clients from one platform to another.

4. Ask other merchants.

Talk to similar businesses (in terms of size, sales volume or other factors) who are already using the platform you are considering.

Find out what they like (or don’t like) about their platform’s features and its limitations. This is a great way to find relevant use cases and get firsthand knowledge.

5. Get feedback from development and/or marketing agencies.

Another good resource for firsthand intel? The marketing and development partners of your potential new platform.

These teams have in-depth experience working with the platform and can speak to some of the challenges you may encounter and ways to overcome them.

Executive Summary

As a business at the enterprise level, choosing a new ecommerce platform is a huge undertaking.

You not only have to take a number of internal and external stakeholders’ needs into account when choosing an appropriate solution but also sell them on adopting it.

While the start of a re-platforming project can feel like a massive integration and technology mountain to climb with many risks and unknowns, by planning and doing thorough requirements gathering from the start, you can choose a platform that is is flexible, extensible, and scalable.

You will be able to match the needs of your growing business and support your customers with the unbeatable experience they have some to associate with your brand.

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