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Omnichannel Commerce - You’ll Grow Into It!

Remember going shopping for clothes with your parents as a kid? More often than not, you’d end up with jeans and sweaters that never quite fit right – usually on the large side. And with no apparent consideration for the fashion codes of primary school, Mom would say, “Don’t worry! You’ll grow into it.” So you had to roll up the cuffs and hope for a growth spurt to start before Monday.

Well, as with so many other things, Mom might have been right. Growing into your clothes is a good economic strategy for parents whose kids have not yet reached their final height, and the same applies to the fashion retailers who provide those clothes. The omnichannel commerce solution they use to run their businesses – from a small retailer to a large chain should also allow some room to grow. That is the advice we stand by at NewStore, delivered to us by our caring IT specialists, who have seen more than a few companies outgrow their original purchases.

We asked our experts to describe the top technical concerns that emerge after 12 months running on a particular technical platform. The number one answer was “getting stuck.” This happens not at the beginning of a deployment, but a year or more further on, when a platform has seen too many adjustments, add-ons, and customizations that were not in the original plan.

It is natural for a business to need these. After all, businesses grow and change, and the marketplace is only getting faster and more sophisticated. This is much like a pair of pants that needs to be let out a couple of times and maybe have some patches added to the knees. 

When a company considers its commerce platform requirements for the next few years, it is easy to choose a system that works correctly right out of the gate and which offers the freedom to make adjustments along the way. But, that’s where the problem lies: in that freedom to edit and re-hem - whether it is clothing or a commerce platform, it usually leads to much more expensive tailoring down the road.

Organic growth can quickly result in an oddly misshapen omnichannel commerce platform, and often obliges the company to become too dependent on a particular system integrator. This leaves little flexibility, and the subsequent upgrade costs may turn out to be higher than a complete relaunch.

So the more prudent approach becomes a real case of buying something larger than you need so that you will grow into it. When a retail business selects a platform at the beginning that is bigger than first needed, they will pay for things that, at the time, do not seem necessary. But if instead they select a product that fits only their initial needs, they might end up saving money at the front end, but will run into trouble later.

The solution? The management – not just IT, but the Executive team must look at the plan for one year, two years and five years. They should think about choosing a bigger solution with features or expansion space. They should look at business goals, revenue projections for years one, two and three, and also factor in their marketing budget and growth intentions.

Then they should discuss with various vendors how they would deploy such a system and with which pricing models. Some vendors offer a license model – a yearly subscription fee which might be fixed, or might be connected to specific volumes, or products in the catalog, or the number of servers needed.

Other vendors might offer a price based on your revenues – a revenue share model. Or they might charge a fixed fee per transaction. Each of these will have a significant impact on a company’s net revenue depending on how busy the business gets, year-over-year. It is worth investigating thoroughly.

Being aware of the particular materials and design that go into a commerce platform is a responsibility for all of management to take on, since, just like people, companies change their styles and sizes as time goes by.

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Dimitri Gatowski, Solutions Architect

Dimitri is a commerce enthusiast with a technical background as a software developer and software architect; with over 10 years experience in commerce technology and enterprise architecture. Prior to NewStore, Dimitri was a technology executive at the ecommerce agencies Visions new media and Commerce Plus, building and leading development teams and rolling out ecommerce solutions for leading brands and retailers in Europe. As a Solutions Architect at NewStore, Dimitri is responsible for the successful NewStore platform rollouts for leading global brands.

Topics: Omnichannel commerce