What Sitecore Commerce Can Do, and Where to Go When You Need More
Nov 21, 2013 | Elizabeth Spranzani, Chief Technology Officer
Sitecore Content Management System (CMS) and Digital Marketing System (DMS) are amazing tools for attracting visitors, providing them with personalized content and driving them toward the sale. But when you get to the transaction and require sophisticated eCommerce capabilities, Sitecore may or may not have everything you need. With Sitecore's recent acquisition of commerceserver.net this may quickly change. But here's a look at what you get from Sitecore's native eCommerce functionality, and the major third-party players offering a more extensive eCommerce experience today.
Sitecore E-Commerce Services: basic eCommerce functionality.
Sitecore E-Commerce Services is not intended to be a full eCommerce offering, but a baseline set of eCommerce capabilities which a company can build out within the Sitecore architecture. Sitecore's eCommerce software enables you to store product information within the content structure, has shopping cart functionality, manages online orders, provides connectors to standard payment processors, has connectors to manage shipping and integrate commerce functions with ERP, customer databases and other back office applications. You can build a customized checkout, create forms and maintain purchase histories for targeted promotions. And you can create traffic-generating email campaigns, manage the product selection and account creation process, and even secure payment processing and shipping.
But if you need a more robust and feature rich eCommerce platform you're going to want to consider some of these third-party solutions that Sitecore recommends.
On November 20, 2013 Sitecore acquired commerceserver.net from SMITH. This move certainly changes the balance of power when it comes to selecting a commence platform to complement Sitecore CMS. While the two products won't be fully converged or integrated for some time, if you need a world-class eCommerce platform that supports multilingual and multicurrency, multi-store capabilities and can assure high availability under extreme traffic situations (e.g., hundreds of thousands of orders per day) - commerceserver.net is a good bet. commerceserver.net is known for its long history of successful integrations with Sitecore and is a really solid solution. The latest version, Commerce Server 10, provides out-of-the-box support for B2C, B2B and self-service portals that use catalogs or profiles to deliver personalized information. And commerceserver.net integrates easily with other .NET products.
If you need robust out-of-the-box eCommerce solutions for mid-market consumer brands, Active Commerce will fit the bill. Unlike some other 3rd party eCommerce solutions, Active Commerce is fully integrated with Sitecore and its SES capabilities, and provides a full eCommerce experience within Sitecore that enables companies to get to market quickly. Active Commerce adds a lot of features that the largest eCommerce platforms offer, like faceted search, product filtering and comparisons, image galleries, reviews, discounts/coupon codes, personalized content and social media integration. Also, because Active Commerce is built on top of Sitecore, it can leverage all of the DMS capabilities companies are looking for in the Sitecore platform. While the product is fairly new to the market, it has been deployed with some very strong brands and has a tremendous roadmap of enhancements coming in the near future.
Active Commerce: http://www.activeCommerce.com/
For enterprise level B2B eCommerce solutions - especially in manufacturing, distribution and retail - Insite Commerce leads the pack. Much more than just another pretty eCommerce product, Insite gives companies full integration and visibility into their customers, products, pricing, inventory and shipping information. It provides the kind of unique eCommerce functionality that B2B marketing organizations require, like customer-only portals, tiered pricing, catalog management, customer verification for sensitive product purchase, and quick order input mechanisms. Insite leverages the standard Sitecore API's and provides seamless integration between front-end and back-end processes. Most importantly, Insite integrates easily with critical business systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), payment gateways, tax calculation services and more. That's why we often recommend Insite when heavy back office/ERP integration is called for. It's a mature offering and very solid for B2B requirements.
Insite Software: http://www.insitesoft.com/
zNode Multifront is another solid mid-market solution for B2B eCommerce, but works beautifully for B2C as well. As another platform built using the Sitecore API's for its integration, zNode was built to leverage Sitecore functionality really well - especially Sitecore DMS - and offers prebuilt integrations with leading back office systems that speed deployment. Built on ASP.NET architecture, this platform has a great user interface, is fully customizable and has a comprehensive and robust feature set out of the box. What differentiates Multifront is its ability to extend functionality, provide capability for multi-tenants, easy customization to unique requirements and speed to market. More than one year of development went into integrating Multifront with Sitecore, and the result is a solution that provides a seamless experience for managing eCommerce and customer engagement.
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