This post concludes our look at different types of commerce solutions by exploring the pros and cons of full-service commerce solutions.
The first two posts in our Evaluating Commerce Solutions series discussed payment processing and subscription management solutions. Full-service or integrated solutions combine aspects of those previous types of providers, offering core commerce and subscription management capabilities.
Full-service commerce solutions are best suited for companies that:
- Want to expand their market globally
- Do not want to spend time and money on customizing core commerce services
- Do not want to mix and match several vendors to support complete ecommerce and subscription capabilities
Delivering an optimized customer experience is much more complicated when you start penetrating new markets. Webpages, payments options and currencies must all be localized for each region you target — not to mention the complexity of managing taxation and other compliance issues in various countries.
The benefit of partnering with a full-service or integrated solution is that they handle all of these activities on your behalf, freeing up numerous resources for product development that would have been otherwise occupied by core commerce and subscription activities. In short, full-service solutions have subscription management as one component of the entire digital business picture.
They work as an extension of your team, and eliminate the need for you to internally develop the long list of global online sales capabilities or cobble them together from many providers. Specifically, they remove costs related to commerce capabilities and personnel must-haves, like:
Building capabilities internally, or even integrating various third-party APIs with your internal CRM, ERP, web analytics, email platform and other applications can take time and slow your time to market.
Knowing the impact of selling your product cross-border does not happen overnight or even in six months.
Revenue recovery experts
Digital commerce requires a strong focus on customer lifetime value to ensure that money is not being left on the table.
Managing customer data according to local privacy laws and staying abreast of the ever-changing taxation laws around the world are not simple tasks.
Subscription billing events
Like the shopping cart experience, subscription billing requires more developer resources as well as customer experience experts who know how to optimize the customer experience.
You need to comply with the requisite government regulations for not selling to people, entities or countries that your government doesn’t allow.
Affiliate management platform
Affiliates represent a significant revenue opportunity for your business. But accepting affiliates, tracking their success, managing their payouts and providing campaign creative materials all take time and resources.
Integration with third-party systems
Solutions such as CRM, email, ERP and support all require you to not only have developers available, but also to define how you want to translate the data from one system to the next. Why reinvent the wheel and be required to implement upgrades to the different APIs whenever a new one is published?
To maximize the benefits of inside sales, affiliates, resellers and other channel partners, you need to provide them with the right technology functionality and access to marketing materials, reporting and other information in order to sell effectively on your behalf.
Each type of solution has their place and serves different purposes. The right solution for your business will address your unique needs and the needs of your customers who will be interacting with it. Analyze your goals for today and anticipate for tomorrow as you evaluate providers to ensure you choose the best solution for your business.
For a list of crucial questions you need to be asking as you search for the best type of commerce solution for your business, check out the end of our ebook.
Ryan Greives is the Public Relations Manager at cleverbridge.