It’s the question of the ages: for winterwear – the clothing you wear when it’s winter, freezing outside, or just all the time if you live in Montreal – what ecommerce platforms are the major brands using?
Let’s dive in and see but before analyzing them, let’s look at the raw data. Here are the 29 top brands, and let’s see which platform each is using:
|Eddie Bauer||Oracle Commerce|
|The North Face||HCL Commerce|
|The Ski Bum||Magento|
But what’s the summary? How many of these use each platform? Well, I’m glad you asked!
There are a few interesting things about this data. First is that 12 of the top 29 (that is, about 43%) are using Salesforce Commerce Cloud, which old-timers still call “Demandware” – and this is the most by far. Shopify comes in a distant second with only five of them.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that so many use Salesforce Commerce Cloud (which Salesforce is now in the process of renaming to “Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud,” to emphasize the B2C nature of it and differentiate it from CloudCraze, their B2B ecommerce offering.) Salesforce Commerce Cloud/Demandware, after all, is the leader in running high-volume, name-brand retail stores online. And in particular, it was built for this purpose. It includes every bell and whistle, like multivariate testing, and the easy ability to show different versions to visitors depending on geography, which ad campaigns they were exposed to or almost any other criterion you could creatively invent. Combined with the fact that it was built for complex integrations and fully integrated marketing plus ecommerce campaigns – and you have a bazooka of an ecommerce platform.
What’s more surprising, however, is seeing Shopify come in second, with 5 out of the 29 – or almost 17% of them. Shopify is the opposite story of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, built for tiny companies paying $30/month for an online store, but it has been scaling up tremendously, trying to sell to increasingly large companies. It’s been successful enough to be the largest tech company in Canada these days! And the market dynamics are interesting, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud now trying to fight in the mid-market (going down) and Shopify also trying to fight in the mid-market (going up) so they’re increasingly coming up against each other.
So it does make sense that the 5 companies on the list using Shopify probably map to the 5 smallest ones, actually. As they keep on growing bigger, time will tell if they can keep on growing with Shopify or if they’ll need to grow up and mature to a platform built for these needs.
It’s interesting that 2 of the top 29 use HCL Commerce. In case you didn’t read the minor tech news that was buried on page 83 of any newspaper in July 2019, IBM’s WebSphere server platform was acquired by the Indian company HCL – so The North Face and Carhartt are actually just using WebSphere! Under its new name and new owner, of course.
Today, there’s little or no reason to choose Websphere – that is, HCL – for a site platform for your ecommerce site, unless you’re already deeply entrenched into IBM’s system. IBM’s tech, most likely, runs The North Face’s and Carhartt’s complex infrastructures, so keeping the server in the same family (even if the family just got a new name and was adopted: it’s still the same genes!) makes sense due to the much deeper integration than with any outside technology. But if you’re a new player, unencumbered by IBM’s legacy infrastructure to power your offline operations, WebSphere/HCL probably shouldn’t be on your list.
I have a similar analysis for Eddie Bauer and Backcountry, both of which run on Oracle’s ecommerce platform. In fact, other than Oracle’s ecommerce platform still being owned by Oracle, it’s the same as the WebSphere analysis: if you’re dependent on Oracle’s platform to run your internal company, consider their ecommerce platform. Otherwise, don’t even waste your energy Googling them.
Magento makes a notable appearance with 3 of the 29, almost ten percent. What’s interesting is that, in most of our similar analyses of different industries, Magento comes in a close second place to Salesforce Commerce Cloud in terms of usage! So it is a bit left field for it to come in fourth place in this category.
One explanation could be that the top winterwear brands were a bit slow in taking ecommerce seriously and as such, they missed the boat when Magento was the cool kid on the block, about a decade ago. Indeed, there isn’t much reason to choose Magento to use today (legacy reasons aside) but 10 years ago they were the platform of choice; the Shopify of its day. The slower adoption of ecommerce could also explain why we saw so many top brands using Shopify: if they’re only seriously adopting ecommerce platforms over these last few years, Shopify makes sense to choose and not Magento.
But Magento’s purchase by Adobe in 2018 has given it a minor second win. It has been getting more interest and more press since then, but it is “too little, too late” as the saying goes. Magento, fundamentally, is just complex to integrate with and complex to scale quickly, because of the older technologies it was built on (hi, PHP!). This makes it stable but not as fast as modern platforms built from the ground up for speed and scalability.
In conclusion? There are lots of ecommerce platforms to choose from, and each has its strengths and its weaknesses. If you want to have a call to discuss which platform to use, I’d love to discuss! Just send me a note and we can schedule a call any time: firstname.lastname@example.org