E-Commerce Times Talkback
See Full Story
As e-commerce momentum continues to build, many retailers find themselves enjoying success beyond their expectations. With success comes growth, and with growth comes stress on a retailer's information technology underpinnings. Where small and medium-sized retailers enjoy a rich array of commercial software products and services designed to help them run and build their direct businesses, large multichannel retailers face greater constraints and challenges with commercial solutions.
The watch analogy is good. The large gears are the slow-moving stable central systems of the large multi-channel enterprise that they already have and must maintain. The small gears are the fast-moving customer-facing systems that need to keep up with the latest innovations and usability enhancements. There will always be this trade-off between stable infrastructure and the bleeding edge, and it pays to let the specialists do the bleeding for you.
The analogy supports a buy approach as well, but it supports the SaaS approach best if you assume an upgradeable, multi-tenant architecture that wont, itself, grow old and slow at some point.
The piece asserts but does not support the idea, however, that these cutting edge technologies have matured enough that large multi-channel retailers with their complex requirements can "configure" their way to differentiation and avoid the need to customize. I'd be very surprised if there turns out to be zero customization in n2N's flagship Victoria's Secret site when they launch it later this year.