Responses to some Tweets from people following debate

Somebody following the debate over the last couple of days has tweeted

“I should be able to chose what CDN, Monitoring, Analytics, and whatever else package I like”.

The short answer is you can choose whatever products you want with the eCommera CoreCommerce platform if you want to.

The benefits of going with the market leading products we have selected though are
1. Mature productised integrations which are highly configurable
2. Agreements based on scale which we are able to pass on to our retailers

“yep, completely, from scratch. it’s good. I can change as I wish upon the needs of my customers.”

I suppose you buy kit cars rather than buying a car like everybody else. Kit cars cost more to insure (akin to maintaining and enhancing a bespoke website), you have to take it back to the person who built it for maintenance, don’t have all the advances of modern cars, probably aren’t as reliable and safe and probably don’t last as long.

“Glad I still don’t use an ecommerce platform (no matter how tempting) – looks like it stifles creativity, and I’d become quickly frustrated”

You might be on other platforms but not on ours. Our platform is actually a development environment where you can write your own code, extend existing objects, etc. We actually develop our product in that development environment.

“comments are closed, it does smack of sticking your fingers in your ears and going nur nur nur I can’t hear you”.

Not true. Bob was using my blog as a plug for the company he is associated with and wasn’t completely or correctly answering my questions. The internet is full of enough mistruths without granting him the benefit of doing it on my blog.

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5 Responses to “Responses to some Tweets from people following debate”

  1. Matt Curry Says:

    Hi Richard,

    I am the phantom tweeter! (well, not that phantom )

    Anyway, to give a (small) rebuttal to some of the points, I’ll give you a little insight to what I do.

    I run an ecommerce site with 2, very unique, differences to standard businesses.

    1) My average website visitor is 73
    2) The business is a franchise, and franchisees are (within reason) able to set their own pricing, which will vary by postcode.

    You can read more about what I do here http://econsultancy.com/blog/5031-q-a-matthew-curry-on-selling-to-older-folks-online

    Because no single ecommerce vendor was able to provide an off the shelf solution to point 2, we had to build the platform ourselves.

    However, because of this unique position, I would argue that I’m a rare case where I know exactly how the platform works, how all the pieces are configured and linked. I can choose whatever is the best on the market for a particular piece of tech – I’m not constrained by what is considered “the easiest” by an external agency.

    I strongly disagree with your second point (kit cars) that this makes the site less reliable or safe. In fact because I oversee every single point, there’s no gap in my knowledge of the site’s functionality, even down to what information is stored in what tables, how the payment processor works, what’s held in a CDN and what’s not. I’m not in a position to just shrug my shoulders and go “oh I’m sure that agency X has this all in hand”, I’m sure that in eCommera’s case you do, but it also means I can challenge what’s possible because of that knowledge.

    In terms of modernity, there are elements where we really are on the cutting edge. Not just in terms of site design (the number of sites who have shamelessly copied our floating basket and the “add” mechanism, for instance) but also in terms of a behavioural analytics. We’re currently in the process of moving the site over to .Net MVC, and I’m quite excited about the possibilities that will come with that.

    Of course, this means that we have to do testing and bughunting and the like, rather than the vendor. But I think that’s a good tradeoff for the sheer level of flexibility I have. As I said in my tweet, my customers are very different, and with that comes a level of usability that requires an above-average rate of development. Not just functionality (and indeed, we’re very aware of the concept of featuritus http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2005/06/featuritis_vs_t.html) but simple changes to process to help the user make each cognitive step.

    I guess I am rather anti-platform, because everywhere I look there seems to be an attitude of “stick in X and ignore it”. Not just Demandware sites, Venda, Magento ,ATG, ElasticPath and everything else. To pick an eCommera example, there’s things that the Space NK site is screaming out for (browse by brand currently being a separate option rather than in-product page, for example) – Surely when I look at an Anthony Logistics moisturizer, I should be able to then click through to the entire AL range? ) or the bizarro-world (I think it’s Scene7) image implementation on the House of Fraser site that occasionally obscures navigation. These are things that, in my world, I would be shot for. For other examples, I recently reviewed a couple of Magento sites Pod1 created, and found there were weird areas where the Magento “defaults” had been used, and in doing so, broke the experience for a user.

    For disclosure, the honourable Mr Jindal did once interview me for an ecommerce position at HoF, but it was for a techie, rather than UX role.

    I don’t have hands-on experience of Demandware, so if it really is a giant IDE, then that’s great. There’s times when I come in on a Monday morning an say things like “We need to better support customers who’s cards are declined” for instance (see my econsultancy post http://econsultancy.com/blog/5060-how-do-you-handle-payment-card-declines) , and that week ( sometimes, even that day ) we can have a monitor in place and several devs in progress to improve it. I worry that if I went platform, then this level of flexibility wouldn’t be afforded to me.

    As for the last point, yes, it was a bit childish, I apologise. I would have liked to comment on that post, as either Mr Venda would have shot himself in the foot, or the Godwin would have applied. Either way, I’m sorry I missed the opportunity.

    Matt

  2. Ciaran Says:

    You have your car analogy all wrong. Tying into a proprietary system is more like buying a car that can only be maintained/repaired by one company. If that company goes bust, they double their prices, or the relationship goes sour then you’re out of luck.

  3. richardyeo Says:

    2) The business is a franchise, and franchisees are (within reason) able to set their own pricing, which will vary by postcode.

    On our platform a retailer may have many websites. Each website can have different design, products, pricing, promotions, etc.

    To pick an eCommera example, there’s things that the Space NK site…

    They are not an eCommera CoreCommerce customer. They are a customer of another part of the eCommera business.

    the bizarro-world (I think it’s Scene7) image implementation on the House of Fraser site that occasionally obscures navigation.

    The implementation of zoom, and any functionality for that matter, on our platform is a retailer choice. See http://www.usc.co.uk who requested a different zoom implementation.

    I don’t have hands-on experience of Demandware, so if it really is a giant IDE, then that’s great.

    Developers use Eclipse to do their development. Developers write code visually and in serverside Javascript. The API is eCommerce focused. It is a very productive development environment. There is also a very extensive Business Manager to configure and operate the site(s).

    There’s times when I come in on a Monday morning an say things like “We need to better support customers who’s cards are declined” for instance (see my econsultancy post http://econsultancy.com/blog/5060-how-do-you-handle-payment-card-declines) , and that week ( sometimes, even that day ) we can have a monitor in place and several devs in progress to improve it. I worry that if I went platform, then this level of flexibility wouldn’t be afforded to me.

    We can offer retailers this level of flexibility.

  4. Matt Curry Says:

    Hi Richard, thanks for the quick response.

    For the first point, multiple sites wasn’t what we were looking for – whilst it would have been much easier, it wouldn’t provide a single point of entry, and would be a git from an SEO point of view (you’d have to sprinkle canonical tags like fairy dust)
    Does Demandware support the same need (variable pricing/variable products by region) from within a single site? You can’t have much call for it, surely?

    What’s odder, is that you say some stuff is the retailer’s choice, and they went ahead with it? I would be of the opinion of calling up the client and saying “no, this is very very wrong and will bugger up your navigation and is barely usable” and hoping they see sense.

    I’m always fighting to make sure my agencies aren’t “factories”, blindly going with whatever edict I issue that day. I’m the first to put my hand up to admit I’m not always right, and I enjoy arguments with my agencies, because I know that they have much more experience, and we both have my customer’s best interest at heart.

  5. Zlatin Zlatev Says:

    Hi Matt,
    It is possible to have single entry point for multiple “logical” sites in Demandware. All these “logical” sites are managed from within single entry point for the Business Manager. So think about multiple sites, as multiple logical units within the same site, that can have their own catalog, pricebook(s), inventory, promotions, etc.

    Moreover you can have as many pricebooks for a site as you want. You may also have some source-codes (this is implemented as url parameter) that are linked to specific pricebook (can be used for example when you want to make some promotion in a magazine or something).

    As for HoF image zoom – we always discuss the functionality and possible drawbacks of it with our clients (retailers). Also we do suggest them different approaches for solving a problem. Sometimes clients just want what they say they want.

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