21st-century customer expectations have reached a new peak. eCommerce platforms are now required, more than ever, to be agile and effective enough to ensure that businesses can keep up with those demands.
As businesses expand, their criteria of needs do too. While small businesses tend to focus on choosing a platform that allows them to drive sales at the lowest cost, larger businesses are prone to assess a different set of factors like scalability, security, etc. They require a more powerful, robust, versatile engine that allows them to consolidate their functions into a unified framework.
Enterprise-level platforms designed to serve this niche purpose do not boast of many contenders. Therefore, we’re going to discuss two undoubtedly top contenders – HCL WebSphere Commerce (formerly IBM), and SAP Hybris, both named leaders in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce Report.
Read on for a concise comparison of the two, to determine which solution might suit your business objectives and goals the best.
HCL WebSphere Commerce
Formerly owned and developed by IBM, WebSphere Commerce was acquired by HCL Technologies.
An omnichannel eCommerce platform, WebSphere enables enterprises to conduct B2B as well as B2C selling across various channels. On a larger scale, the service is available in two editions – WebSphere Commerce Enterprise, and WebSphere Commerce Professional. There is also a cloud-deployed version that can be availed. WebSphere offers businesses multi-faceted functionality including site search, content management, inventory management, merchandising tools, customer management, starter stores as well as social commerce.
- User-friendly and flexible
- Ability to optimize content for devices, and well as formats like web, mobile, and tablets
- Boasts of event-driven functions – eg: can take the requisite action in the event of an abandoned cart
- It can integrate seamlessly with social media
Limitations: The cost of ownership associated with WebSphere Commerce can get pretty high. It also provides a limited range of storefronts, which will mean that you will be required to spend additional money on customizing and developing your own. It also requires a dedicated IT team for upkeep and management, which can be a red flag for some businesses.
Best suited for: Large enterprises running multiple sites, and mid-sized businesses looking to implement personalized, omnichannel commerce.
The other major runner in the space of comprehensive eCommerce platforms is Hybris. This platform is equipped with an array of site, language, and currency features. Just like WebSphere, it also has variety in the versions of deployment. While it is suitable for both B2B and B2C businesses, its ability for complex data management makes it a common choice for B2B players. The Hybris framework has always been suited for optimal customization and can be tailored to meet your business needs. With powerful search, data management, web content management, product management, drag and drop CMS capabilities, and advanced merchandising – it’s a robust and multi-faceted platform.
- Built-in multi-site capabilities
- Highly scalable
- Centralized content and product management features
- Built-in SEO optimization tools
- Customizable user interface
- Multiple deployment options
- Includes pre-built integrations
- Supports multi-channel commerce
Limitations: One of the most significant drawbacks of Hybris is the limited support for global expansion, owing to its proprietary nature. Time to market is also longer, as one has to go through extensive licensing and implementation procedures, and the cost of ownership is quite high.
Best suited for: Large businesses
Thus, while each platform is powerful and feature-packed, it’s important to come to a decision based on selecting features that are more relevant and in sync with your industry, business plans, and budget. By assessing and ranking your functional requirements, checking for future-integration scope, and focusing on key capabilities – like payment options, marketing tools, data handling, content management software, promotional content management, and design and user interface – you can determine which platforms serve your present and future needs.