Home decor is one of those spaces where I spend far too much of my intellectual energy; if you want to be bored to death, please ask me about, for example, the right type of light to use with each decor type in any given indoor environment and I’ll give you a whole discourse on the quality of light from different sources and how to optimize the humanity and happiness in the lights and home decor, with the inevitable result of me thinking I’ve revolutionized your life by helping improve your comfort level, and you having fallen asleep.
So, this personal obsession with home decor has led me to wonder: what ecommerce platforms are the top home decor brands using?
Wondering this led me to do some research and let’s discuss the results, as well as what is interesting and surprising about them. Here are the top 30 home decor brands in the USA, and their ecommerce platform of choice:
|Bed, Bath, & Beyond||Oracle Commerce|
|Crate & Barrel||Custom|
|Design Within Reach||SFCC|
|IKEA||HCL Commerce (formerly IBM WebSphere Commerce)|
|Lulu and Georgia||Magento|
|One Kings Lane||Custom|
|Room & Board||Custom|
|World Market||Radial (formerly GSI Commerce and eBay Enterprise)|
And taken together, here is the list by platform:
|HCL Commerce (formerly IBM WebSphere Commerce||2|
|Radial (formerly GSI Commerce and eBay Enterprise)||1|
There are a few things that are surprising here. Let’s look at them.
The first observation that is important – but shouldn’t be surprising – is that, tied for first place is Salesforce Commerce Cloud, formerly known as Demandware, with 11 of the top 30, for 37% of them. Sounds about right, market average! In our reviews of ecommerce platforms used by the top brands among many industries, Salesforce Commerce Cloud (also known as “Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud,” as SF tries to differentiate it from their B2B offerings) is very consistently the most widely used platform. Very consistently, from 1/3rd to 1/2 of the top brands in each consumer, B2C or DTC market we’ve examined use Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
And the reasons aren’t surprising: it’s the one modern platform built for massive ecommerce at an incredible scale. Whether you want to do industrial-scale A/B testing or multi-jurisdictional variations, or legacy ERP integrations, or in-store pickup coordination – you name it, Salesforce Commerce Cloud was built with this sort of design in mind. Indeed, for Anthropologie, Design Within Reach (at whose stores I’ve wasted far too many hours!), it’s hard to think of a better pick than Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
But what’s surprising is that tied with SFCC in first place is the custom route. West Elm, Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel, for example, have gone with custom integrations over an off-the-shelf commerce cloud offering.
One surprising aspect of this industry is the degree to which these brands have gone for creative solutions for which custom sites may make sense. Just looking at Pottery Barn’s site, you see their custom design chat functionality. Crate & Barrel puts a first-rate Wedding Registry front and center in their work, and mood boards, as well as personalized gifts and a whole kids store.
This reminds us of a good rule of thumb: the more idiosyncratic, that is, non-standard, your vision is for your ecommerce store, the more a custom development makes sense. And Crate & Barrel’s site, for example, has a substantial amount of functionality that would be hard to achieve with any platform. But not just that. One of the other key home decor brands is Etsy, and Etsy is a complex marketplace built from the ground-up for this purpose; no existing software could even come close to what it does.
What’s interesting also is that on this list we only see 2 Shopify instances. This is surprising since one of the core use cases of Shopify is the Etsy-like, house-wives and house-husbands selling trinkets, or the bigger version of that, of house-wives and house-husbands finding a factory that makes these trinkets in China and selling them via Shopify. And indeed, on most of the DTC/B2C top brands ecommerce platform comparisons we’ve done, we’ve seen Shopify come in second or third place behind Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and sometimes Magento. Why only 2 of 30 in the home decor space?
The explanation is that most small home decor businesses tend to remain small home decor businesses; in other words, there is a reason why Etsy not only exists but is so massively successful. It is a market without much of a middle class: a handful of huge giants, and a ton of mom-and-pop, mom-and-mom, and pop-and-pop shops.
Of course, as a big space that has been around for years, there are also the legacy players. World Market uses eBay’s ecommerce system, now called Radial, by sheer power of inertia. Ikea is on IBM’s platform, now called HCL. Bed, Bath & Beyond is on Oracle. And a few others. Few of these platforms would be platforms that companies that are considering replatforming today would choose; but all are built on substantial infrastructures and install bases. Together, they are 4 of the top 30, that is, 13%. Path dependence matters.
Another surprising performance is Magento, with 2 of the top 30 – right near the bottom of the list. On many of these comparable analyses, Magento is in 2nd or 3rd place, right after Salesforce Commerce Cloud, duking it out with Shopify. Magento is a bit like a legacy player but without the big database company to tie-in to run the back-end records, so it makes sense that there are so few Magento installs for the same reason there are so few IBM, Oracle, and eBay installs: with many more creative ways to sell home decor online, and a market that’s big enough to have real dollar values on each purchase and overall, but small enough to have serious competition, the players in this space have gone with the flexible and powerful market leader (Salesforce Commerce Cloud) or built their own so that they can implement their custom strategies.
Stepping back, there are lots of ecommerce platforms for high-volume and high-end retailers. Which one is right for your situation, or your niche within the home decor space, or any other space? We’ve spent years obsessing over this question. So let’s have a call on it and brainstorm. Just drop me a note at: firstname.lastname@example.org