Today’s retailers are faced with an increasingly competitive, fast-paced and complex market environment. With omnichannel now becoming the norm, many are feeling the pressure to adapt their strategy and invest in commerce technology upgrades. Yet, the quest for enhanced speed, efficiency, and scalability has the potential to inadvertently increase IT complexity. 

To succeed in this environment, retailers must consider all aspects of their tech stack and demand flexibility and scalability when investing in commerce platforms. Here are three tips to help you navigate your next upgrade.

Analyse your TCO

Many enterprise retailers still cling to outdated commerce platforms. While 67% of enterprises plan to switch in the next three years according to an IDC survey, over 60% fear the cost of change – but their current total cost of ownership (TCO) could be the very obstacle hindering profit maximisation.

TCO refers to capturing and considering all costs associated with the purchase of a good or service, and understanding the TCO associated with a commerce upgrade is a crucial first step when deciding the most effective way forward. For software and platforms, TCO typically includes the platform purchase price, management and support costs, end-user expenses, opportunity cost of downtime, and training and productivity losses during development.

TCO also incorporates costs over time, so it’s important to exhaustively account for recurring costs, as they can have a significant impact on the overall TCO equation. With reduced platform costs and less need for development work, forward-thinking enterprises can redirect resources towards serving customers.

Ship, launch, and innovate faster

According to the IDC, around 45% of businesses use a blended web architecture with a composable front-end and full-stack backend, offering operational efficiency, cost-effectiveness, faster time to market, and improved customer experience.

A platform designed for flexibility gives enterprises the tools they need to innovate on a local or global scale. Businesses can launch a new storefront up to 41% faster on Shopify than the competitors evaluated in this study. In particular, Shopify’s enterprise offering provides go-to-market agility with a focus on performance, speed, customisation, and conversion. With endless ways to build – whether that’s full platform, headless or modular – enterprise leaders should look for a platform that can be quickly and easily adapted to suit their unique needs.

A platform that scales with your enterprise

Operational efficiency and agility are important, but enterprises need a platform powerful and scalable enough to grow with them too. This is why it’s not surprising that close to a third (31%) of enterprise leaders cited a lack of technology scalability as the most common internal challenge they are facing behind a lack of digital skills (38%), according to an IDC survey

For example, with a blended commerce model featuring a composable front-end and full-stack back-end, enterprises have the freedom to mix pre-integrated modules and optionally selected applications, maintaining simplicity while having the freedom to change or extend parts of the ecommerce experience to meet changing market trends and customer preferences. 

It is also crucial to consider how your commerce platform is able to withstand a rise in traffic. Leading industry analysts like Gartner and IDC have recognised the performance of Shopify’s enterprise offering, effortlessly managing 40,000 checkouts per minute worldwide, backed by 99.9% uptime and dedicated technical support.

In today’s fiercely competitive and fast-paced retail landscape, the choice of a commerce platform holds immense significance. Retailers should consider whether their operations warrant a completely customised solution, as well as the total cost of ownership, provider relationship, platform efficiency and impact of its technology on customers. Above all, commerce solutions should seamlessly balance flexibility and manageability, allowing for enhanced speed, efficiency and scalability, without the IT headaches.

Shaun Broughton is managing director for APAC at Shopify.