From single-channel to cross-channel, commerce has experienced several waves of digitisation. Now, accompanied by the transformation of technology, omnichannel commerce is becoming a business reality. The players involved are now changing and are perhaps not those you would expect. In this article we take a look back and ahead...
E-commerce led to the emergence of many functional and technological needs. The market saw a proliferation of startups, each providing part of the solution. With the advent of open source, each could contribute their own new modules. Some players unified the experience during this period, in particular Magento.
The market also evolved as advertisers gained experience. Cross-channel commerce was becoming increasingly cumbersome for organisations, gradually revealing their weaknesses (L’omnicanal révélateur des scléroses de l’entreprise – Paul-Emile Cadilhac), both internally and in the eyes of their customers who had become digital consumers.
As teams moved forward, specifications became increasingly precise and demanding. Technological solutions that were too limited did not last on the market. The arrival of Hybris was a turning point on the market, promising a comprehensive, off-the-shelf solution. The desire for omnichannel commerce grew pressing.
Setting up an omnichannel information system requires handling the complexity it entails, in terms of a satisfactory functional scope, as well as security and legal standards (in recent times, NF525 in France and the GDPR in Europe), while ensuring the most crucial aspect: performance stability.
This is where things get complicated: the coherence of a complex system may only be achieved by establishing controlled processes and stable connections. We have recently seen major changes in the digital offering:
These major trends are being followed by other technologies that have often been pushed to the sidelines by digital. Technologies that have not, however, been replaced and are still present in our stores: the checkout systems!
These technologies have evolved to become sales platforms. Closed for a long time, they have been opened up and developed into omnichannel sales engines. With rules for special offers and loyalty schemes, product catalogues and more, "cash registers" are now high-performing and connected systems, offering web-service approaches that make them easy to integrate into information systems and open the door to ambitious multi-specialist architectures (front/search, sales, CRM, logistics, etc.).
While we are currently seeing concentration in the sector, new value offerings from certain players will enable IS (information systems) departments to continue to challenge even the biggest players, while staying on course for omnichannel commerce.
The transition of information systems to APIs is an argument in favour of all-in-one systems, since this requires significant effort to implement. However, it is possible that multi-supplier architecture choices will make the most relevant specialised offerings stand out. This is the way of cycles.
Auteur : Emmanuel Jouan-Gastou, E-business Project Manager, SQLI