Takeaways From The Forrester Wave B2C Commerce Solutions Q2 2022 Report

Forrester Wave evaluated some B2C (business to customers) solutions, scoring them Leaders, Strong Performers, Contenders, and Challengers based on their offering, strategy, and market presence. Forrester Wave evaluated nine B2C solutions providers; BigCommerce, Adobe, Salesforce, Shopify Plus, Kibo Commerce, VTEX, commercetools, SAP, and Optimizely.

In this article, we will address the findings, the top B2C solutions providers Forrester Wave reviewed, and what retail businesses can take from the report.

The Retail Industry is Growing More Technical

Forrester Wave considered market trends and the attempts of B2C solutions providers to meet consumer needs when creating the report. The current retail market is more technical than ever. We expect the eCommerce retail industry to become more technical over time so that eCommerce retail vendors can better serve buyers. But what many didn’t see coming is the in-store retail industry also catching up with modern technology. Sure, you can walk into any brick-and-mortar retail store to shop and pay with cash, but you probably find digital alternatives such as scan-to-pay and digital self-checkout.

While the in-store retail industry is slow with its adoption of modern technology, buyers are becoming more demanding because of the convenience they are getting from shopping online. In response, in-store retail businesses are slowly replacing their limited legacy tech with SaaS commerce solutions. With that mindset, in-store retail businesses will continue adopting SaaS commerce solutions until they eventually become a full SaaS architecture. What’s not to love? Modern commerce technology offers intuitive architecture that optimizes business operations, improves usability for buyers, and enables modern delivery models.

The takeaway is that the retail commerce industry is changing, and in-store retail businesses are not left behind.

Top B2C Solutions Providers According to Forrester Wave

Now, let’s talk about the top B2C solutions provider that made the report.

Leaders — Kibo Commerce

Kibo Commerce is a Texas-based full-suite commerce solutions provider that emerged as a leader in the Forrester report. Kibo Commerce gives its users a cloud-based unified commerce platform that allows them to maintain a single admin across multiple sites. Kibo Commerce continues to improve its offerings by acquiring companies with optimized offerings, such as Certona and Monetate. The report also notes that Kibo Commerce continues to improve order management, practitioner usability, and customer experience, which makes it a good choice for small businesses with low-complexity models. While Kibo Commerce has a good mastery of reporting and analytics, front-end management, and order and inventory management, it struggles with customer success and support.

Strong Performers — BigCommerce

BigCommerce is also a Texas-based full-suite commerce solutions provider founded in 2009. BigCommerce has been supporting retail businesses for over a decade, and it shows in its adaptive offerings. BigCommerce provides legacy and native solutions small businesses with low-complexity models can use; the BigCommerce Blueprint comes to mind. BigCommerce also offers flexible API-centric solutions to its customers with more complex business models, and the BigCommerce Stencil comes to mind here. Unlike many commerce solutions providers that struggle to unify their native solutions with third-party integrated solutions, BigCommerce makes its native solutions and third-party integrations work together seamlessly.

The report also notes that BigCommerce users enjoy its simple practitioner onboarding, smooth user experience, and cloud-based architecture.

Contenders — Optimizely

Optimizely is a New York-based commerce solutions provider that is growing into a more established commerce platform and building its portfolio by acquisition. Optimizely has a solid roadmap to offer robust commerce solutions such as cloud architecture using innovative technology in the future. But Optimizely doesn’t quite get it right now. According to the report, Optimizely is a good choice for small businesses with low to intermediate digital needs that value vendor relationships.

Challengers — SAP

SAP is a Germany-based commerce solutions provider that doesn’t match other commerce solutions providers in the report but comes close with its partner ecosystem. Like Optimizely, SAP has a robust roadmap that will take it from a monolithic architecture to a modern SaaS architecture. But while it is working on that, Forrester Wave appreciates SAP for its multisite and product catalog management. Besides its monolithic architecture, SAP struggles with third-party integration, customer success, and support. Many SAP customers stick with it because they don’t have an exit strategy from SAP legacy solutions. Although the report suggests that B2C vendors with complex business models who have significant investment in SAP solutions should stay, we say leave if you can. A B2C commerce solutions provider with modern offerings can help you increase your ROI and grow your business.

Three Key Factors Retail Businesses Should Consider When Choosing a B2C Solutions Providers

Using the retail industry trends, including fast-changing consumer behavior, the Forrester Wave report suggests that in-store and online retail businesses should pay attention to these three factors.

Cloud-native Architecture

If you are planning to pay for a SaaS commerce solution or thinking about changing providers, ensure that the provider has a modern cloud-native architecture.

Here are some reasons to choose cloud-native architecture:

  • Seamless upgrade and scalability: your vendor will update its solutions seamlessly, causing you no business time loss. And you can easily scale up cloud-native architecture solutions because of their rapid development velocity.
  • Compatible with APIs: you can rest assured that the third-party APIs you integrate will have full functionality. Cloud-native architecture commerce solutions support decoupled components.
  • Programming language agnostic: you and your employees won’t have to worry about learning any proprietary frameworks, hence guaranteeing a smooth onboarding and practitioner UX.

Nontechnical Onboarding and Practitioner Usability

Features and pricing might be your key considerations when choosing a commerce solutions provider, but you should also consider practitioner usability. While you can overlook the onboarding process, practitioner usability will impact your business and customers, so don’t joke with it. Practitioner usability is your experience with using the commerce solution; your employees should be able to use the commerce solution without any technical knowledge. So, ensure to choose a commerce solutions provider that offers simple practitioner training.

Customer Support

All commerce solutions providers brag about the functionality, features, and simplicity of their solutions, but you should prepare for challenges that will spring out from thin air. You will have a better chance of mitigating technical and nontechnical challenges with your commerce solutions if your provider prioritizes customer support.

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