Demandware 2.10.2

We are hard at work upgrading all of our retailers from Demandware 2.10.1 to Demandware 2.10.2. Underlying product upgrades and refactoring necessary are free of charge to retailers on our platform. The same cannot be said for some of our competitors. If you are considering, SnowValley, BT Fresca, etc. double check whether your contract entitles you to product upgrades free of charge.

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14 Responses to “Demandware 2.10.2”

  1. Bob Felicce Says:

    Hi,

    Fortunately, Venda – the world’s leading on-demand platform – used by major retailers (like Tesco and TJ Maxx) to institutions (BBC, British Museum and The Met) to publishers (The New Yorker, Conde Nast and Encyclopedia Britanicca) upgradges all of its customers every three weeks to the latest version – all three hundred and 20 of them!

    Thats who we use.

    Bob

  2. richardyeo Says:

    Hi Bob

    Thanks for your comment.

    Venda powers Tesco Clothing, i.e. http://www.clothingattesco.com

    Do the upgrades every 3 weeks include new functionality or are they bug fix releases?

    If you are talking about bug fixes then Demandware too upgrades its customers very frequently and can do as frequently as weekly.

    One of our retailers was previously on Venda before moving to our platform.

    How long have you been a Venda customer?

    Regards
    Rich

  3. Bob Felicce Says:

    Hi Richard,

    Yes. Venda upgrades new features and addresses any bugs and/or issues in this timescale. In fact, typically these upgrades tend to focus on enhancements because the platform has been servicing customers since late 2001 and as such is now very robust and stable.

    Venda recently communicated the customers they signed and delivered in 2009. An impressive list, I am sure you agree:

    Tesco, Jimmy Choo, Cotton Traders, Flowers Direct, Denby, JD Williams, Flower Gram, TK Maxx, Kit Heath, Weleda, Kirnan, New Wonder, Animal, Sterling Furniture, Artigiano, Universal Music Group, Emma Bridgewater, Cubavera, Perry Ellis, Original Penguin, Kangaroo, Conde Nast Store, Cartoon Bank, New Yorker Store, XOXO, Jolt, David Meister, Encyclopedia Britannica, Adesso Home, iGo-US, Lilly Pulitzer, Jurlique, Faconnable, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Colombian Emeralds

  4. richardyeo Says:

    Hi Bob

    You sound like a Venda employee 😉

    As interesting as Venda’s customer list is their list of customers who have moved to other platforms I am sure would make interesting reading too.

    I have just taken a quick look at the current Venda website…

    Are Venda customers able to modify their own websites, i.e. can they write their own code using Venda or are they dependent on Venda professional services to modify their websites?

    According to the Venda website here
    http://www.venda.com/ecommerce-ecosystem/comprehensive-ecommerce-solution/basket-and-conversion-drivers/search-faceted-navigation.html
    retailers are able to sort search results using “Sort by price, name, or release date”. This seems very limiting if it is true and unlikely to yield the most revenue.

    Can retailers on Venda sort on, Sales Velocity, SKU Coverage, Stock Levels, Margin, Custom Attributes or a weighted combination of these, e.g. sort results by Relevancy [5o%], Sales Velocity [20%], Stock Level [10%], Margin [10%], Created [10%] ?

    Does Venda have dynamic customer groups, i.e. customers dynamically allocated to groups based on rules configured by retailer so that different promotional content, promotions, prices, etc. can be displayed to them?

    Does Venda have builtin and at no additional cost A/B Testing support?

    Rich

  5. Bob Felicce Says:

    Hi Richard,

    I very much doubt they have lost many customers given the superb service they provide nowadays and the extremely impressive new customers they keep getting….

    1. Venda customers can easily modify their own sites. Mostly CSS structured with HTML. Pretty easy really.

    2. The search that is included in the Venda platform is provided by Locayta (a related company, I believe). They provide sophisticated merchandising and ‘searchandising’ tools plus recommendations and profiling. The suite is called ESP. Check out their site (www.locayta.com). They have been providing the search for BT Directories and the comparison shopping service to Nectar. They are pretty top-end. Venda customers can, as a result, sort on all the custom attributes you mention and any others they require. There is no limit.

    3. Venda does also have dynamic customer groups. This allows much of the capabilities described above.

    4. In the case of A/B testing, Venda provides this service through partners and I think it is additional but the service is such good value – at just £6,000 ($12,000) per month – that the increment for A/B testing is insignificant when taken in conjunction with the platform as a whole.

    You really ought to look into it carefully, they are the best platform in the market by a long way and I would recommend thm to anyone.

    Bob

    PS I am a contractor who has helped Venda customers refresh their sites. I am PHP, JAVA, HTML and CSS skilled.

  6. richardyeo Says:

    Hi Bob

    I think your answers speak for themselves.

    1. Sounds like Venda customers cannot modify or enhance their websites beyond basic HTML, CSS, i.e. that is they cannot develop their own functionality or modify the behaviour of existing functionality? Retailers on our platform are able to do this using powerful Server Side Javascript. In this way they are not tied to eCommera making the change for them.

    2. I will take a look at the search engine you mention. Although I note your response doesn’t say explicitly whether Venda supports what I asked. Retailers on our platform are able to configure these sort rules using the Business Manager themselves any time they want to.

    3. Interesting that you mention “much” but not all of the capabilities. Which are not possible?

    4. £6,000 a month is £72,000 a year which is a considerable chunk of money. Are they tied to a particular vendor or can they integrate with who they chose?

    There are other things that retailers should take into consideration when evaluating SaaS platforms. For instance these are just some of the things retailers should ask…

    1. Is the model really SaaS or ASP, i.e. is it shared infrastructure or is the vendor allocating dedicated servers / licenses specifically for the retailers website? Our platform is true SaaS running on grid with QoS.

    2. Does the retailer have to pay more or buy more servers / licenses when traffic reaches a certain limit? Not the case with our platform. Our retailers often run marketing campaigns that boost traffic by over 10 or more times. Because our platform is based on a grid more resource is automatically added. No advanced warning is required.

    3. If SaaS, is there Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure one retailers website cannot affect others, e.g. memory, CPU, etc? Our platform includes QoS.

    4. Does the vendor use enterprise grade technology such as, Java, Oracle, etc. or does it use, Perl, Postgres, MySQL, etc? Our platform is built with, Java, Oracle, etc.

    5. Does the platform include a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to improve scalability and local performance? Our platform includes Akamai arguably the market leading CDN.

    6. Does the platform include market leading Web Analytics with optimal tagging or does it include Google Analytics? Our retailers get Coremetrics, Coremetrics Explore, Coremtrics Site Promotion, etc. out of the box included at no extra cost.

    7. Does the vendor provide external monitoring of the retailers website included in the price, e.g. SiteConfidence, Gomez, etc.? Our platform does.

    8. Does the platform include an address lookup service supporting over 245 countries in the base product? Our platform does.

    9. Does the platform include CNP Fraud mitigation in the base product? Our platform does.

    10. Does the platform provide a staging environment on which you make and test configuration changes on daily basis before replicating them to production thereby avoiding costly mistakes? Out platform provides this in addition to test and development environments.

    11. Does the platform have a flexible integration framework? Our platform does. We have a Service Hub (similar to an ESB) which can convert from virtually any format to any other format and from any protocol to virtually any other protocol.

    12. Does the platform have a market leading Order Management System (OMS)? Out platform includes Sterling Commerce MCF/OMS.

    etc

    I am not dismissing Venda and we have a healthy respect for them. Venda has been around 9 years which is considerably longer than eCommera albeit you will have to ask Venda whether they are making a profit after all this time. They certainly appear to be focusing a lot more on the US these days too.

    Venda wasn’t even mentioned in my original post. I am just posting some points that show the difference between our platform and our competitors and countering some of your exuberance 😉

    I would be happy to meet you to discuss the differences in more detail if you wish.

    Rich

  7. Bob Felicce Says:

    Hi Richard,

    Best I respond to each of your points in turn:

    “1. Sounds like Venda customers cannot modify or enhance their websites beyond basic HTML, CSS, i.e. that is they cannot develop their own functionality or modify the behaviour of existing functionality? Retailers on our platform are able to do this using powerful Server Side Javascript. In this way they are not tied to eCommera making the change for them.”

    They certainly CAN develop their own functionality and use javascript. This is a feature of their ACE platform which was introduced in 2007. It made huge strides forward in improving flexibility for customers and now pretty much everything is available to the customer to manage independently from Venda themselves.

    “2. I will take a look at the search engine you mention. Although I note your response doesn’t say explicitly whether Venda supports what I asked. Retailers on our platform are able to configure these sort rules using the Business Manager themselves any time they want to.”

    This is also the case with Venda. All of the metrics you mentioned can be configured.

    “3. Interesting that you mention “much” but not all of the capabilities. Which are not possible?”

    None. It is just my ‘turn of phase’.

    “4. £6,000 a month is £72,000 a year which is a considerable chunk of money. Are they tied to a particular vendor or can they integrate with who they chose?”

    They can integrate with whomever they chose.

    “There are other things that retailers should take into consideration when evaluating SaaS platforms. For instance these are just some of the things retailers should ask…

    1. Is the model really SaaS or ASP, i.e. is it shared infrastructure or is the vendor allocating dedicated servers / licenses specifically for the retailers website? Our platform is true SaaS running on grid with QoS.”

    Venda is true SaaS with a multi-tenanted architechture. Everyone shares the same infrastructure and codebase. I am not sure the same is true of Demandware.

    “2. Does the retailer have to pay more or buy more servers / licenses when traffic reaches a certain limit? Not the case with our platform. Our retailers often run marketing campaigns that boost traffic by over 10 or more times. Because our platform is based on a grid more resource is automatically added. No advanced warning is required.”

    This is also true of Venda. No additional charges are levied for growth. No hardware costs at all.

    “3. If SaaS, is there Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure one retailers website cannot affect others, e.g. memory, CPU, etc? Our platform includes QoS.”

    I believe Venda invented this concept and was the pioneer in delivering it to customers.

    “4. Does the vendor use enterprise grade technology such as, Java, Oracle, etc. or does it use, Perl, Postgres, MySQL, etc? Our platform is built with, Java, Oracle, etc.”

    That is a technology point of view. The real issue is performance and uptime and my understanding is that Venda has the best uptime and performance stats in the industry and that is one of the reasons they won Tesco.

    “5. Does the platform include a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to improve scalability and local performance? Our platform includes Akamai arguably the market leading CDN.”

    Yes. Venda has a global CDN on its backbone.

    “6. Does the platform include market leading Web Analytics with optimal tagging or does it include Google Analytics? Our retailers get Coremetrics, Coremetrics Explore, Coremtrics Site Promotion, etc. out of the box included at no extra cost.”

    Yes, Venda includes sophisticated analytics as part of the solution.

    “7. Does the vendor provide external monitoring of the retailers website included in the price, e.g. SiteConfidence, Gomez, etc.? Our platform does.”

    Yes. Venda monitors the platform from multiple ISPs and locations globally as well as working with Gomez etc.

    “8. Does the platform include an address lookup service supporting over 245 countries in the base product? Our platform does.”

    Yes, Venda does.

    “9. Does the platform include CNP Fraud mitigation in the base product? Our platform does.”

    Yes. the Venda platform has very sophisitcatedfraud tools built in and is plugged into multiple white and black lists and third party fraud prevention services

    “10. Does the platform provide a staging environment on which you make and test configuration changes on daily basis before replicating them to production thereby avoiding costly mistakes? Out platform provides this in addition to test and development environments.”

    Yes. The Venda platform has three ‘instances’ for customers. A Test environment for testing new interfaces that the customer can build and deploy (or whatever); a QA envirnoment where Venda engineers deploy new features and fnctionaity for customers to test (every three weeks) and the live environment.

    “11. Does the platform have a flexible integration framework? Our platform does. We have a Service Hub (similar to an ESB) which can convert from virtually any format to any other format and from any protocol to virtually any other protocol.”

    Yes. The Venda platform has the ‘Venda Integration Framework’ which allows easy integration with unlimited systems.

    “12. Does the platform have a market leading Order Management System (OMS)? Out platform includes Sterling Commerce MCF/OMS.”

    Yes. Venda has this built in to their platform. Venda customers use it extensively in their call centres to support phone and mail order activity. It is all included in thier monthly fee.

    This has been fun!

    Bob

  8. richardyeo Says:

    Hi Bob

    See my comments / questions to your replies

    1. Demandware is true SaaS. By revenue through its platform it is probably the largest true SaaS platform. Do you mean server side functionality using server side Javascript?

    2. I already knew this about Venda but it is not the case for other eCommerce platforms.

    3. I doubt this is the case throughout their system, e.g. Bandwidth, Load Balancer, Network, Web Tier, App Tier and Database Tier.

    4. In Venda’s job adverts is claims 99.95% uptime. Demandware is 99.97% and in reality our retailers have experienced higher than this. We monitor the uptime of Tesco Clothing (powered by Venda) and we know it to be lower than this. The Tesco Clothing website experiences an error virtually every morning at approximately 4am according to our external monitoring.

    5. Is it a third party CDN or home grown as the difference will be significant?

    6. What analytics is included? I can find no reference to Omniture, Coremetrics, WebTrends, etc. on Tesco clothing website I can only find reference to Google Analytics.

    8. My understanding is this is an additional cost.

    9. We provide The Third Man which is a market leading service. If you are referring to The Third Man my understanding is this is an additional cost with Venda.

    10. That’s not the same as a staging environment to test promotions, searchandising rules, synonyms, etc which you then replicate to production. Technically we are not restricted on the number of environments.

    11. What technology is it based on? Does it support
    – JMS?
    – Custom XML over TCP/IP (in addition to over HTTP/S)?
    – SFTP?
    – Etc

    12 Sounds like it is custom developed therefore it is not market leading, i.e. recognised by Gartner etal as to be market leading

    Rich

  9. richardyeo Says:

    Somebody who has recent experience of Venda has just contacted me to say that Venda charge for

    – Growth albeit spikes in the form of bandwidth
    – Imageware
    – SOAP integration
    – Annual maintenance for integration interfaces
    – Languages/currencies, e.g. English, Euro, etc.
    – Postal code lookup license and per lookup
    – etc

  10. richardyeo Says:

    This is what the Gartner report on the Venda website says about Venda under cautions

    Cautions

    – Clients have stated that Venda’s integration with ERP solutions has been problematic, so we recommend that clients ask for references that have live integrations into their ERP systems.

    – Some clients have stated that Venda’s response times are slow, so Venda has entered into an agreement with Savis, a U.S. data center, to deal with this issue.

    – Clients have stated that, because Venda is spread across three continents (that is, North America, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region), this can create delays when issues arise. In addition, clients believe that Venda’s size, based on revenue, and its status as an emerging vendor, may be contributing to this issue.

  11. richardyeo Says:

    Looking externally at the ClothingAtTesco and TKMaxx websites I cannot see a CDN being utilised. I have examined URLs for, Images, CSS and Javascript and none appear to be being served via a CDN.

    This and Bob’s often vague, deliberately or not, and incomplete responses gives me cause to doubt the accuracy of some of his other answers.

    Being able to specify different sort orders at any level within the category hierarchy has a big impact on increasing revenues. Especially being able to sort using blended dynamic metric driven data such as, Sales Velocity, Look to Book Ratio, Conversion, SKU Coverage, Time To Out Of Stock, Days Available On Site, Return Rate, Margin, etc.

    If you are considering Venda ask them to demonstrate the points above and then contact us so you can compare with our rich scalable functionality.

  12. Bob Felicce Says:

    Richard,

    I agree with your comment about recommending readers of this blog to ask Venda to demonstrate the capabilities.

    When they do they will see why Venda is the market leader and the choice of the biggest retailers.

    Many of your assumptions about Venda’s lack of capability is plainly incorrect but, let the customers deterne that for themselves.

    Regards,

    Bob

  13. richardyeo Says:

    Bob

    I am not making assumptions. I have asked you some questions and you have not answered them completely or correctly in all cases.

    I am closing comments on this thread now.

    You may be interested in this post as it refutes your claims that “Venda are the choice of the biggest retailers”.

    https://richardyeo.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/ecommerce-saas-platform-customer-sizes/

    Rich

  14. eCommerce SaaS platform customer sizes « The diary of a CTO Says:

    […] Venda he says “Venda is the market leader and the choice of the biggest retailers”. See comments. Anybody can check these claims out for themselves. Below I have plotted Alexa traffic ranks for a […]

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