Is eCommerce a Commodity

Is eCommerce a Commodity?

Is eCommerce a Commodity

Justin, you are crazy – that is a sacrilegious thing to say!  I hear you, but think about it – isn’t some of what some consider to be e-commerce a commodity.  In a recent post from Rachel Rodenborg over at Insite Software, she states:

There’s a great debate in the world of B2B e-commerce and that’s about whether an e-commerce shopping cart is the same as an e-commerce tool set or e-commerce platform.

Are they the same thing?

Simply, the answer is no.


Not sure if the debate is that rampant, however, the tool set and the shopping cart are definitely two separate things.  A shopping cart is only one of many elements inside the framework of a B2B e-commerce site.  And the reality is that there are literally thousands of shopping carts on the market.  I looked at WordPress (this platform) and found literally pages of e-commerce plugins.  By e-commerce, they meant the shopping cart – but they are not the same thing.  The shopping cart itself has become a commodity as a result, but most of the larger platforms have differentiated themselves outside of the shopping cart – from customer experience to personalization to product content.  And not to just differentiate themselves, but to actually address needs in the market that extend further than the simple cart.  In fact – while the transaction is important in some cases, I argued here that you can take advantage of a B2B e-commerce Experience without having a shopping cart at all.

The thing I love about B2B is that every customer is wildly different.  That’s why above the features and even above my framework – e-commerce is an extension of your sales process.  The sales process is an extension of your relationship with your customer.  Therefore, design your use cases, your tools, and your decision to include the traditional “shopping cart” around how you and your customer can use the site to continue to build your relationship.  When you start looking at it in that light, the features and components needed to build that vision get a lot clearer.

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