Baby and kid brands is a standard and classic ecommerce category, and has been around since the beginning of, well, ecommerce itself. Indeed, the babies who were among the first whose parents bought them diapers via the internet are now – 20 years later – probably just entering jobs working for companies like, well, baby and kid ecommerce companies!
This leads us to wonder: which ecommerce platforms are the top baby and kid brands using?
Well…. we did some data analysis and it revealed some interesting answers. Here is the original data, followed by our analysis:
|Baby & Kid Brands
|Aden + Anais
|Fat Brain Toys
|Upshot Commerce; Mi9 Retail
|Manhattan Toy Company
|Melissa & Doug
|Custom (Cart Functionality)
|Toy “R” Us
And here is the summary of which platforms they’re using:
|Salesforce Commerce Cloud
No ecommerce platforms
- Fisher Price
So what do we take from this list? A few interesting things.
First, 15 of the top 29 of them use Salesforce Commerce Cloud. That’s just over half of them – which is essentially the average for the top retail brands across lots of industries that we’ve also carried out analyses of on this blog. Salesforce Commerce Cloud (aka Demandware) dominates as the platform of choice for the mass-market online ecommerce brands across seemingly every retail category we come across.
It should stop being a surprise, actually. Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s high-end firepower makes it almost uniquely suited for the needs of a high-volume retail brand online. From its ability to create vastly different user experiences based on almost any criteria – which is useful for targeted marketing campaigns, or legal jurisdictionary requirements, for example – as well as its built-in marketing integration (such as A/B and multivariate testing), effortless scaling, extensions (“cartridges” as Salesforce calls them) for almost any case, expectation of legacy integrations and complex-case readiness… Salesforce Commerce Cloud is basically the go-to platform of choice when your company is big enough to be able to afford it.
Secondly, it’s interesting that in this kids and baby category, the second and third most popular platforms of use are Shopify and Magento. Those make sense; they are the other primary market leaders, as well. Both are basically tied (used by 4 and 3 brands respectively), although the long-term pattern is that Shopify is on the rise – from the low-end of the market to the middle-market, and trying to figure out how to get to the high-end of the market! – while Magento is on its way down (sorry, Adobe; too little, too late).
Indeed, the four Shopify companies on the list are probably the four smallest companies on the list anyway – so that is perfectly expected and makes sense. Shopify doesn’t serve the larger or more complex online retail market the way others such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud do.
Third, what is surprising is that Melissa & Doug is using Salesforce Commerce Cloud as their platform. Melissa & Doug’s market positioning focuses on the counter-mass-produced, wooden, almost-hand-crafted “I’m bougie but I want old fashioned wooden toys” types. (I will neither admit nor deny having boxes full of M&D toys anywhere.) So, with that market positioning, you think they would use a hipster-cool little ecommerce engine. But, nope. Turns out brand positioning is just that: brand positioning. Nothing more, nothing less. When you need ecommerce firepower, you go with the firepower – even if it is the precise opposite of the hand-crafted, home-made solution you try to tell the world you are. (We love you anyway, Melissa & Doug!)
A fourth surprising appearance on the list is Mi9 Retail (also known as Upshot), powering the ecommerce behind Little Tikes. Mi9 has been around since before the internet existed – literally. (And their blog hasn’t been updated since 2016 for the record – the same year Upshot was acquired by Mi9 and perhaps forgotten about?) They make point of sale systems and other old-school retail platforms. What’s powerful about Mi9 ecommerce is their full integration with the Mi9 back-end that powers every other aspect of the back-end experience, for a seamless integration. And unlike, say, SAP or Oracle Commerce, where it is one division of a greater database company, with Mi9, retail-powering ecommerce is the sole and laser focus.
The downside is that Upshot, since its purchase, has never been fully integrated into the Mi9 retail ecosystem, so you may not get all the integrated benefits you do see on paper. But, being owned by the same company, if you’re already using Mi9, then Upshot might make sense.
A fifth surprising fact is that LEGO is using the Atlassian Cloud for ecommerce. Atlassian is Australia’s dot-com superstar company, known for its enterprise-wide SaaS systems, perfect for the big, serious company. (Jira, I’m looking at you!). But it’s a late player to the ecommerce cloud game, and as such, their offering is relatively undeveloped, a bit of a “me too” competitor.
So why would LEGO go for it? Unclear, but it could be because they’re already deep into the Atlassian infrastructure. While ecommerce is a bit separate from the rest of their offerings – a bit like the Mi9 situation – if you’re already deep in with one vendor, and they’re “good enough,” the positives are strong enough (better prices, supporting your vendor so they can grow more, and above all, deeper integrations between your systems) then it might make sense to stay with them.
A sixth and final surprise is that Pampers apparently built its own ecommerce platform! Who knew diapers were such a unique commerce need?
But… there is truth to my joke. In general, it rarely makes sense to build your own standard ecommerce platform unless you have truly unique or idiosyncratic needs (like buyers need to present paperwork that needs to be verified before completing it, or perhaps if you have a cash-payment system you need to integrate with online, as is common in the developing world).
The best case for building your own ecommerce platform is when you have both a superstar dev team and some uncommon needs. And perhaps LEGO, with its long-term Danish team, is likely to use less common, older platforms, and has access to high-quality and likely underpaid talent – in fact, this is very likely what indeed did happen.
In conclusion, what is the right ecommerce platform for a baby and kid brand? The answer is… “it depends,” but a lot of the “it depends” boils down to this: Salesforce Commerce Cloud is a great default option, but there are many other strong options out there for idiosyncratic needs, goals, and cases.
If you’re looking for the right ecommerce platform for your company, I’d love to have a call – I’ve seen it all, from the tech and marketing and techmarketing sides! Just drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s Zoom.