When Dick’s Sporting Goods decided to revamp its ecommerce and inventory management experience, as covered in this Wall Street Journal piece, it didn’t seek out a Fortune 500 IT consultancy or behemoth SI. It looked in house — to a ragtag team of just eight developers, designers and product managers.
Why? Because the technology building block tools available to companies large and small (really, open source tools and systems are pretty democratically priced) to build custom experiences for their customers, partners, and suppliers has never been more scalable and easy to deploy. Here are three things to consider when entertaining your next ecommerce project.
- Go Headless. With a lightweight, eminently customizable CMS running the front end customer experience, you can “decouple” it from heavy back-end components like carts, checkout and catalogs. Many manufacturers have idiosyncratic or unusual checkout processes not readily supported out of the box. Check-out on the backend can be a focus. Further, you can make the admin match your business processes in more intuitive ways (making business users happy!). Using APIs to plug into and pull data from new, nimble tools keeps your ecommerce site flexible and able to adapt to emerging consumer and business trends.
- Focus on what your customers need most, which might not be so easily achieved in out-of-the-box ecommerce. Envalo’s Interactive Parts Schematic App (IPSA) enables manufacturers and distributors who are trying to get more parts sold — and the correct parts sold — to their customers in as timely a way as possible. Leveraging APIs, it plugs into and augments most ecommerce platforms tying it to applications that pull from and push data to it seamlessly.
- Think iPaaS. An integrations platform-as-a-service that is designed for internal business users frees up time and allows a business user to manage, change, and troubleshoot APIs connecting your business to external vendors, suppliers and customers. These lightweight, flexible tools enable your business users to ensure they have the right data, where they need it, all the time.
“Many applications today are looking forward to a headless, API driven architecture. As Envalo transitions their products to a SAAS model, we are taking advantage of this approach giving our customers the maximum amount of flexibility possible” said Joe Walters, Envalo CTO and Product Architect
With emerging tools like SMS messaging for business and smart voice assistants, and the automobile as the next great computing platform — all of which are coming at us fast and furious — ecommerce flexibility, speed, and scalability are available to all manner of businesses that find the right tools and deploy them effectively.