Introduction

If you are undergoing digital transformation, or evaluating your enterprises' current digital commerce platform for fitness for purpose moving forward, there are many aspects that need to be considered. This article is an attempt to filter out the noise and focus on the core aspects that are most important to an enterprise level customer as a starting point down the path of selecting platform partners to invite to a request for information or request of proposal. The focus of the article is currently on Enterprise B2C/D2C commerce platforms.

Enterprise Integrations
ERP/CRM integration will form a core consideration when selecting an enterprise digital commerce solution.  Many platforms will come with OTS plugins/connectors for popular ERP/CRMs and/or APIs for custom integrations. Personalisation and analytics integration will be another factor for consideration though most enterprise digital commerce platforms now come in an experience suite that includes both. Choosing a capable systems integrator or having one recommended by a platform provider will also be critically important.

Mobile and Headless
Enterprises already know that they must go mobile first due to the continued growth in the use of mobile devices especially in developing natures where it is common for consumers to own a mobile device but not a desktop, laptop or tablet. Headless commerce platforms allow for the solutions to be integrated into presentation platforms/clients via RESTful APIs which requires a developer to integrate but allows for any type of storefront, like mobile apps, kiosks, billboards, smart mirrors, wearables, and vending machines.

Note:
We will endeavour to update the article periodically to include additional platforms, maintain platform features and cite additional findings from various research organisations to support the findings expressed here.

The Platforms

Shopify Plus
A more limited enterprise commerce platform which translates to reduced costs (both implementation and running) when compared to competitor enterprise digital platforms. The platform's SME offering has been gaining traction at the expense of more complex competitors and due to its fully SAAS offering.
Shopify Plus is recognised as a Challenger on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce (Q3, 2019).

Cost Model: Base Subscription + GMV
Solution Model: SaaS only
Datacentre Provider: Google + Fastly CDN
Positives: Rapid time to launch, low cost of ownership, secure cloud hosting, headless, customisable themes, built in SEO
Negatives: Support for complex product data, more native product types, native filtering, support for multi-store, limited SEO, limited international customisation support, limited addons/apps

Acquia Commerce Manager (Drupal Commerce)
This open source enterprise commerce platform comes with a lower implementation cost due to the nature of open source and a broad developer base due to the low barrier to entry for its developer community. The commerce solution requires the drupal CMS be installed. Aquia's managed service provide for enterprise level support and secure hosting in the cloud.

Cost Model: Quote based subscription pricing
Solution Model: Hosted or SaaS
Datacentre Provider: AWS
Positives: Seamless integration to CMS, Headless commerce, Secure cloud hosting, personalised product integration as dynamic content in omni-channel customer experience, Scalable and secure platform, Real-time customer profiles, Preconfigured components for faster time to market.
Negatives: Cost transparency, no decoupling from drupal cms, higher ongoing security cost, support for 3rd party extensions is not covered by Acquia, No China offering at the moment.

Sitecore Commerce
Sitecore Experience Commerce offers a proprietary build refactored into the existing Site Experience Platform, and as such its tightly coupled with the platform. ASP.NET Core 2 support and Microsoft based solution.

Cost Model: Quote based subscription pricing
Solution Model: Hosted or SaaS
Datacentre Provider: Azure
Positives: Flexible integration, headless, prebuilt store using SXA for faster time to market. multi-site, multi-brand and multi-language deployments, B2C B2B Marketplace business models, Buy online, ship-to-store, ship-from-store, Scalable and secure, Integrated with Experience Platform and Content Hub, Commerce Connect API to integrate to ERP and CRM, Real-time customer profiles
Negatives: Complex implementation, Opaque pricing model, High TCO,

Adobe Commerce
Adobe purchase Magento Commerce in 2018 and integrated it into their best of breed Experience Platform. Adobe has the widest range of integrated services for enterprise clients and is recognised as a leader in Digital Commerce Magic Quadrant (August 2019) from Gartner and recognised as a Strong Performer (Q3 2018) in B2C Digital Commerce Wave from Forrester.

Cost Model: Base Subscription + GMV
Solution Model: Hosted or SaaS
Datacentre Provider: AWS
Positives: Highly Flexible integration, Global, multi-site, and multi-brand deployments, B2B B2C Marketplace business models, Buy online, ship-to-store, ship-from-store options, real-time customer profiles, headless, wide integration to Experience, Advertising, Marketing Clouds and AI (Sensei), ERP and CRM integration APIs, Massive application & extension library
Negatives: Opaque and complex licensing. Very high TCO. Aggressive sales practices, costly migration, some scaling problems. Reliance on 3rd party support for extensions.

Salesforce
Salesforce purchased Demandware in 2016 rebranding it as Sales Commerce Cloud. It has lead the GMV based cost model adoption for ecommerce SaaS. Salesforce has excellent integration between Commerce Cloud and its other service offerings. Commerce Cloud is recognised as a leader in Digital Commerce Magic Quadrant (August 2019) from Gartner and recognised as a Leader (Q3 2018) in B2C Digital Commerce Wave from Forrester. The GMV cost model is best suitable to high margin B2C and D2C clients.

Cost Model: GMV
Solution Model: Saas
Datacentre Provider: Salesforce/AWS
Positives: AI Assisted decision tool, scalable, secure, multi-site, secure, advanced personalisation, b2c b2b business models, Buy online, ship-to-store, ship-from-store options, Salesforce service integrations
Negatives: Small developer community, few agency partners, complicated API customisation, slow sandbox environment, High TCO, Restricted Integration