What are some of the biggest frustrations with current eCommerce solutions? What I hear over and over are the following;
Cost of customizations
Flexibility – Companies today need the flexibility to;
host where they want,
take payments how they want,
add the marketplaces they wish to support and
sell products on-line that are not yet in their ERP’s inventory
Modern open-source eCommerce solutions allow all of this and more. Most importantly, they allow you to own your eCommerce solution. Companies are no longer tied to a single vendor. Because of the nature of open-source frameworks, there are typically thousands of developers supporting any particular framework. As an example, Magento claims 300,000 certified developers; therefore, if you are not getting what you need from one vendor, it is straightforward to find a replacement.
Cost of customization – Many of the eCommerce frameworks that are purpose-built for Sage 300 are not designed to be fully customized. Only the vendor can customize these systems so; they can charge whatever they want for the work, and, as I have seen on multiple occasions, will bump up the cost to dissuade customization. In this area, open-source platforms can have problems as well. One of the big complaints we hear about Magento is that it often takes as much time to rip out a feature as it does to create the customization and reinstall. You can mitigate this problem by using eCommerce frameworks such as PimCore. PimCore is an open-source eCommerce platform that has basic eCommerce functionality built-in but, you add the specific functionality that you want. Most developers using PimCore say that it takes them less time, and therefore, less cost to build a PimCore solution than to modify a Magento solution.
Hosting Options – You should be able to host your web store where ever you want; on-prem, or in a private cloud or as SaaS. Your hosting options should not be dictated to you. Vendors may make recommendations as to drive, RAM size, and server configuration, even suggesting some suppliers, but, in the end, you need to have the freedom to host where you want with whom you want.
Feature Set – Most eCommerce platforms that are purpose-built for Sage 300 have a limited install base and an extremely small development community when compared to open-source platforms. The small install base means that they are not getting a broad view of the eCommerce trends that are coming, and the small development community means that even if they see new trends, they do not have the development staff to implement them. I have given this example before, but I think that it bears repeating. A prospect came to me and asked for a custom payment method. They wanted to be able to offer credit financing online. The company I worked for at the time quoted $15,000 and nine months to do the work. It turns out that there were multiple solutions available from the Magento marketplace that did precisely what the customer wanted, including an option from their preferred vendor - Bread. The difference was that the Bread plugin for Magento cost $29.00 and could be installed and up and running in about forty-eight hours.
Integration – Most people, including the vendors, believe that, because purpose-built eCommerce systems have purpose-built integration – that is enough. In today's market, it simply is not enough. In all of the purpose-built eCommerce systems for Sage 300, the integration is strictly between the eCommerce platform and the ERP. However, if a company needs to build custom workflows into their solution or to add integration to other platforms such as a POS, CRM, or custom apps or databases; it is not possible. True integration would and should allow for all of these possibilities. Using a purpose-built, highly customizable solution such as Realisable iMan enables you to integrate data from multiple disparate solutions as well as create custom workflows as the data passes between systems.
So, when you are looking for a new eCommerce platform, consider looking outside the purpose built solutions and look at everything the eCommerce world has to offer. You may be surprised at what you find. I you need help wading through the various options available to you PEACS is her to help. feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (519) 851-8515.