Managing Director at Coastdigital Limited
13 May 2003 10:15am
we have all heard of actinic but I need to find which products are best for what customers
actinic for small business
our custom system for sme
MS commerce server for enterprise
what other packages are worth noting and are really good??
Group Manager at Infosys
14 May 2003 13:20pm
I would say that matching e-coomerce solutions to the client has to be firstly based on their functionality requirements. Then cost.
Also consider the ROI issue. Things like integrated business analysis is becoming as important as product catalogs, shopping baskets and cross-sells; for all businesses small through to blue chip. Many businesses are unaware of what is required software wise to run a smooth e-commerce operation. So educating them on what a solution can offer in regards to ROI is sometimes essential.
I have seen many e-retailers get caught out because of limited or bad customer analysis. Often stocking too much of the wrong product or losing customers through not identifying restrictive usability.
When it comes to actually choosing a software solution I would say there are five distinct options:
1. The Enterprise level vendor solution often based on the IBM Websphere or BEA Weblogic platform. i.e. Interworld. This a popular choice for High St Retailers. But is the most expensive
2. The Microsoft Commerce solution based on the .NET framework, Commerce Server 2002 and CMS server with an ASP.net front -end. This apporach is frequently used for enterprise b2b, but is not popular for high profile b2c. Is a reasonable priced option with a standard implemetation starting at under £50,000 including licenses
3. The open source approach based on all OS software like PHP, Apache, and Linux. The Interchange open source project (http://www.icdevgroup.org/i/dev/about.html?id=NRSa6vUK) and oscommerce (http://www.oscommerce.com) are good examples of this. I believe the apporach is gaining a lot more acceptance baecause of tight IT budgets. Companies like IBM and Red Hat are even promoting it to the Enterprise level.
4. The Software vendor or ISP based solution. This is normally a bespoke package or customised product (Commerce Server) . Almost every ISP offers a product like this. Its normally cheap and doesn't offer a lot of scalability so not ideal for expanding demand.
5. The 100% bespoke solution. ie. Amazon.com. If the business requires very specific functionality this maybe the way you have to go. Some B2B companies would be a good example of this. If you go down this route building on a framework like J2EE, .NET or Interchange is a very good idea. It provides flexibility, scalability, and some robustness. The apporach will definitely be high risk and take longer to implement. However, can provide rich functionality sometimes not offered by a vendor.
What is important as well when choosing a software solution consider the cost of on-going maintenace (i.e. updating product catalog) and adding an additional functionality.
Hopefully this was helpful. If you have any specfic questions let me know.
On 10:15:14 13 May 2003 jfrost wrote:
>we have all heard of actinic but I need to find which
>products are best for what customers
>actinic for small business
>our custom system for sme
>MS commerce server for enterprise
>what other packages are worth noting and are really good??
Snr Sales Engineer at Adobe
16 May 2003 17:27pm
If you are looking for a packaged application there are quite a few around. Based on older technology (Perl&SQL) Intershop 4 is great value and a well proven package, if a little slow if you have thousands of product lines. It's now offered by a company called epages.de. At around the same project value (£15k-£100k) custom built solutions from ASP or PHP componets run very quickly and built to exact requirements but offer very little structured store administration. At the higher end of the market (£500k-£10m+) the two best applications have been ATG and Intershop Enfinity. However, at this level, many companies prefer to go the route of a bespoke J2EE app based on Weblogic or Websphere.
There are low cost solutions - Actinic and the like (Actinic are the best of the like) are software applications that the client tends to be responsible for hosting (can be a problem). BT openworld offers a hosted solution that allows the user to build a store online and start trading very quickly. I think you can even try it out for free for a limited period.
*I am an ex-intershop employee. (but, having been made redundant over a year ago, and having no financial interest, my opinions are from an unbiased view).
Business Development at BazaarBuilder.COM
25 May 2003 18:48pm
Both the above messages give an excellent overview of the important factors that go into choosing an ecommerce software solution for business. Our market focus is mostly on small and medium sized businesses who most often than not already have a website and now wish to offer their web site visitors a facility to place online orders as well. Each merchant has his own preference as to how the ecommerce facility must be offered. Many of these businesses are knowledgeable about what type of software would meet their requirement and the amount of funds they are willing to allocate to the project. The final choice in our experience is often in the following order;
1 Price + Features
2. Ease of Use for non technical staff
3. Order processing facilities
4. Ability to hook up to their credit card processor.
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