Companies are reporting the underperformance of ecommerce solutions in critical areas of functionality such as site search, product management, SEO and mobile-supported commerce.

These deficiencies, coupled with difficulties with integration, have led many merchants to replatform, according to Econsultancy’s first survey-based Technology for Ecommerce Report.

The reports, carried out in association with Neoworks, shows that only a minority of respondents say their technology performs well across each of the key functionality requirements.

In this post I’ll look in more detail at some findings of this new report based on a survey of more than 500 client-side and agency respondents

How good are current solutions?

Respondents were asked whether key functionalities of their own ecommerce solutions are ‘good’, ‘okay’ or ‘poor’.

The chart below shows how companies and agencies responded.

Only a minority of respondents say their own or their clients’ technology performs to a 'good' standard in these areas, with most described as 'ok' or 'poor'.

Interestingly, mobile-supported ecommerce and third-party systems and plug-ins are cited as ‘poor’ by 44% of respondents. These are important parts of a modern ecommerce platform and are the types of incompatibilities that may cause companies to replatform.

Of the most important types of functionality (identified by both companies and agencies), high-quality search functionality (21% good, 39% poor), CMS (23% good, 34% poor), product management & merchandising (21% good, 29% poor) and mobile-supported ecommerce (19% good, 44% poor) are much more likely to be rated as ‘poor’ than ‘good’.

Deficiencies in ecommerce solutions

As well as rating their own ecommerce solutions, respondents were asked to denote which areas of functionality they regarded as 'critical'.

The chart below compares how often a functionality was described as 'good' with how often it was termed 'critical'.

The only functionalities described as ‘good’ as often as ‘critical’ by client-side respondents were the ‘ability to handle high numbers of SKUs’ (43% both) and ‘call centre solutions’ (which overperformed, 13% reported as critical and 17% rated as 'good'). 

There is significant under-performance across critical aspects of ecommerce technology, including product management and merchandising, mobile-supported commerce (19% reported as good versus 49% critical), SEO and order management.

Cause to replatform?

These discrepancies between performance and importance help explain a high incidence of replatforming. Many companies have either replatformed in the past (22%), are replatforming now (20%) or are considering doing so in the future (32%).

For advice on replatforming, check out this blog by Darryl Adie.

Most significant tech-related challenges

The biggest challenges facing ecommerce companies are revealed to be managing integration with current or legacy systems (43% company, 48% agency), followed by optimising for multiple devices (38% company, 39% agency) and personalising the shopping experience (38% company, 36% agency).

The most significant tech-related challenges were generally similar from both the client-side and supply-side perspective.

The consensus was broken on the topic of ‘lack of technical knowledge / capabilities’, viewed by almost twice as many agency respondents as a top-three barrier (42% versus 23% for company respondents). 

The word cloud below shows the responses to the open-ended question ‘Is there any particular tech related problem that has limited your ecommerce capabilities?’


Ben Davis

Published 17 February, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)

Jordie van Rijn

Jordie van Rijn, email marketing specialist at emailmonday

Looking at the challenges and especially the word cloud, Integration is a big issue. Just like it always has been.

But I am mildly surprised that the multichannel functionalities and especially deployment across channels, isn't higher up the food chain of concerns.

For a part these both are two sides of the same coin as is indicated in this article:

over 4 years ago

Robert Durkin

Robert Durkin, Founder at FusePump (WPP)

Interesting article and looking at the results, I'm not surprised that offering a personalised experience was one of the main challenges. A lot of retailers believe personalisation to be far more complicated and expensive than it actually is.

However - as I explain in a previous article - the reality is that advertisers can start to personalise their ecommerce marketing with minimal effort and technology, gradually building up to offering consumers a highly relevant and targeted shopping experience.

over 4 years ago

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