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DMV 'revisiting' its approach to regulating Tesla's public self-driving test

In light of videos showing self-driving Teslas attempting dangerous maneuvers, the California DMV is considering whether to require the company to conform to the same laws as other robot car makers.


Autonomous car developers lobby to defang safety data regulations

They collect user data for their own ends, but when it comes to allowing crash data to be used to improve safety, these companies push for less transparency.


Alarmed by Tesla's public self-driving test, state legislators demand answers from DMV

Until now, the DMV has taken a hands-off approach to Tesla's development of self-driving cars. State legislators say it's time for the agency to be more transparent.


Car crash deaths have surged during COVID-19 pandemic. Here's why

Evidence suggests the pandemic has made U.S. drivers more reckless a more likely to speed, drink or use drugs and to leave their seatbelts unbuckled.


High gas prices are hitting heavy-duty pickup owners hard. Here's what they're saying

Sales of ever-larger pickup trucks have been keeping the U.S. auto industry flush in recent years. Now gas that can top $6 per gallon is changing the math around owning one.


Column: There may be a steep privacy cost if you park at this Trader Joe's

Visitors to the Trader Joe's in Hollywood are being instructed to download a parking app to their phones. Doing so will reveal a lot about you.


Tesla's handling of braking bug in public self-driving test raises alarms

Tesla self-driving 'test' cars were slamming on brakes for no reason. So Tesla temporarily deactivated emergency auto-braking without telling drivers.


El Segundo semiconductor maker goes public in billion-dollar deal amid chip shortage

For faster charging and more efficient use of energy, Navitas thinks gallium nitride beats silicon.


Column: Hertz refused to let facts get in the way of an unwarranted late fee

An L.A. man can prove he was on a plane awaiting takeoff when Hertz says he returned his rental car. Nevertheless, Hertz imposed a late fee.


Tesla to move headquarters to Texas from Palo Alto

Disenchanted with California's political environment, Elon Musk said Tesla will relocate its corporate offices to Austin but will continue to expand in California as well.


A Tesla mystery: Why didn't auto-braking stop these crashes?

While regulators investigate a spate of Teslas steering themselves into parked vehicles, Tesla owners have been reporting faulty collision-avoidance systems.


Column: Heads up, California drivers: Your insurer may owe you even more in pandemic refunds

California's insurance commissioner says Allstate, Mercury and CSAA continue to shortchange policyholders on pandemic refunds.


Column: Consumers are receiving billions of car-warranty calls. Ignore them

You've probably received calls that your car warranty is expiring or has expired. They're almost never from dealers or manufacturers.


Meet overlanding, the love child of off-roading and #vanlife

Eager to escape claustrophobic pandemic life and take advantage of newly remote jobs, increasing numbers of Americans are taking to remote places in rugged vehicles that are also homes.


'A very big deal': Federal safety regulator takes aim at Tesla Autopilot

Recent moves by the top U.S. automotive safety watchdog could change the way Tesla markets its cars' advanced driver-assist capabilities -- or force the company to recall the software altogether.


Op-Ed: People of color are dying from traffic violence at a much higher rate. Here's why

There is an epidemic of dying while walking, and it affects people of color and poor people disproportionately


Los Angeles is about to get its first robotaxi test fleet

Driverless car technology company Motional will be putting autonomous Hyundai Ioniq 5 EVs on the road around L.A. as it looks to the city for engineering talent.


Elon Musk claims Tesla will debut a humanoid robot next year

The 'Tesla Bot' will be capable of performing various human tasks, Musk claimed. But he has a history of touting innovations that proved to be vaporware.


Why do Tesla cars keep crashing into emergency response vehicles? Federal safety agency is investigating

The top federal traffic safety regulator says Tesla's partially automated driving system, Autopilot, failed to spot parked police cars and fire trucks. It wants to know why.


The custom auto shop behind Hollywood's most iconic cars may be closing

It made the Batmobile and Tom Wolfe's Kandy-Kolored Streamline Baby. But with its North Hollywood studio on the block, Barris Kustom Industries, the soul of Southern California car culture, may be riding into the sunset.


Review: A deep new history of Tesla takes the shine off Elon Musk

The polarizing founder shows up a lot in 'Power Play,' Tim Higgins' Tesla history a but usually in the role of a dramatic foil who will be overtaken.


Nikola founder Milton charged with misleading investors

Trevor Milton, founder of electric car startup Nikola, is accused of misleading investors about products and technology, according to an indictment.


Good luck getting a state rebate on your new electric car

California's electric car rebate program is designed to steer consumers toward clean, environmentally friendly vehicles. Unfortunately for buyers, it's confusing, unpredictable and underfunded.


Traffic is terrible again. Here's how to get it closer to spring 2020 levels

Traffic has long been a headache in Southern California a but there are ways to cut down on the congestion.


Could the 'Pittsburgh left' help Argo AI win the self-driving car race?

Learning to predict local traffic quirks is a challenge for companies looking to develop safe self-driving cars. To speed the process, Argo AI is testing its robotaxis in a half-dozen cities at once.


Column: She found a used condom in her rental car. Hertz hit her with a cleaning fee

A woman told Hertz she found a used condom in a rental car. Then Hertz billed her for dog hair, even though she didn't have a dog in the vehicle.


Are self-driving cars safe? Highway regulator orders industry to cough up the data

The federal government hasn't required automakers to provide data on crashes involving cars with automated-driving systems. That's changing.


Column: He hasn't smoked in decades. But Hertz is hitting him with a $400 smoking fee

A Highland Park man, who says he hasn't smoked for 25 years, was told by Hertz to pay a $400 fee after workers claimed they smelled cigarettes.


Column: I was going to buy an all-electric car but chickened out. Here's why

What if the battery on my electric car ran dry under a Joshua tree in the middle of nowhere?


Keyword Selected: to

Keyword Selected: business

DMV 'revisiting' its approach to regulating Tesla's public self-driving test

In light of videos showing self-driving Teslas attempting dangerous maneuvers, the California DMV is considering whether to require the company to conform to the same laws as other robot car makers.


Autonomous car developers lobby to defang safety data regulations

They collect user data for their own ends, but when it comes to allowing crash data to be used to improve safety, these companies push for less transparency.


Alarmed by Tesla's public self-driving test, state legislators demand answers from DMV

Until now, the DMV has taken a hands-off approach to Tesla's development of self-driving cars. State legislators say it's time for the agency to be more transparent.


Car crash deaths have surged during COVID-19 pandemic. Here's why

Evidence suggests the pandemic has made U.S. drivers more reckless a more likely to speed, drink or use drugs and to leave their seatbelts unbuckled.


High gas prices are hitting heavy-duty pickup owners hard. Here's what they're saying

Sales of ever-larger pickup trucks have been keeping the U.S. auto industry flush in recent years. Now gas that can top $6 per gallon is changing the math around owning one.


Column: There may be a steep privacy cost if you park at this Trader Joe's

Visitors to the Trader Joe's in Hollywood are being instructed to download a parking app to their phones. Doing so will reveal a lot about you.


Tesla's handling of braking bug in public self-driving test raises alarms

Tesla self-driving 'test' cars were slamming on brakes for no reason. So Tesla temporarily deactivated emergency auto-braking without telling drivers.


El Segundo semiconductor maker goes public in billion-dollar deal amid chip shortage

For faster charging and more efficient use of energy, Navitas thinks gallium nitride beats silicon.


Column: Hertz refused to let facts get in the way of an unwarranted late fee

An L.A. man can prove he was on a plane awaiting takeoff when Hertz says he returned his rental car. Nevertheless, Hertz imposed a late fee.


Tesla to move headquarters to Texas from Palo Alto

Disenchanted with California's political environment, Elon Musk said Tesla will relocate its corporate offices to Austin but will continue to expand in California as well.


A Tesla mystery: Why didn't auto-braking stop these crashes?

While regulators investigate a spate of Teslas steering themselves into parked vehicles, Tesla owners have been reporting faulty collision-avoidance systems.


Column: Heads up, California drivers: Your insurer may owe you even more in pandemic refunds

California's insurance commissioner says Allstate, Mercury and CSAA continue to shortchange policyholders on pandemic refunds.


Column: Consumers are receiving billions of car-warranty calls. Ignore them

You've probably received calls that your car warranty is expiring or has expired. They're almost never from dealers or manufacturers.


Meet overlanding, the love child of off-roading and #vanlife

Eager to escape claustrophobic pandemic life and take advantage of newly remote jobs, increasing numbers of Americans are taking to remote places in rugged vehicles that are also homes.


'A very big deal': Federal safety regulator takes aim at Tesla Autopilot

Recent moves by the top U.S. automotive safety watchdog could change the way Tesla markets its cars' advanced driver-assist capabilities -- or force the company to recall the software altogether.


Op-Ed: People of color are dying from traffic violence at a much higher rate. Here's why

There is an epidemic of dying while walking, and it affects people of color and poor people disproportionately


Los Angeles is about to get its first robotaxi test fleet

Driverless car technology company Motional will be putting autonomous Hyundai Ioniq 5 EVs on the road around L.A. as it looks to the city for engineering talent.


Elon Musk claims Tesla will debut a humanoid robot next year

The 'Tesla Bot' will be capable of performing various human tasks, Musk claimed. But he has a history of touting innovations that proved to be vaporware.


Why do Tesla cars keep crashing into emergency response vehicles? Federal safety agency is investigating

The top federal traffic safety regulator says Tesla's partially automated driving system, Autopilot, failed to spot parked police cars and fire trucks. It wants to know why.


The custom auto shop behind Hollywood's most iconic cars may be closing

It made the Batmobile and Tom Wolfe's Kandy-Kolored Streamline Baby. But with its North Hollywood studio on the block, Barris Kustom Industries, the soul of Southern California car culture, may be riding into the sunset.


Review: A deep new history of Tesla takes the shine off Elon Musk

The polarizing founder shows up a lot in 'Power Play,' Tim Higgins' Tesla history a but usually in the role of a dramatic foil who will be overtaken.


Nikola founder Milton charged with misleading investors

Trevor Milton, founder of electric car startup Nikola, is accused of misleading investors about products and technology, according to an indictment.


Good luck getting a state rebate on your new electric car

California's electric car rebate program is designed to steer consumers toward clean, environmentally friendly vehicles. Unfortunately for buyers, it's confusing, unpredictable and underfunded.


Traffic is terrible again. Here's how to get it closer to spring 2020 levels

Traffic has long been a headache in Southern California a but there are ways to cut down on the congestion.


Could the 'Pittsburgh left' help Argo AI win the self-driving car race?

Learning to predict local traffic quirks is a challenge for companies looking to develop safe self-driving cars. To speed the process, Argo AI is testing its robotaxis in a half-dozen cities at once.


Column: She found a used condom in her rental car. Hertz hit her with a cleaning fee

A woman told Hertz she found a used condom in a rental car. Then Hertz billed her for dog hair, even though she didn't have a dog in the vehicle.


Are self-driving cars safe? Highway regulator orders industry to cough up the data

The federal government hasn't required automakers to provide data on crashes involving cars with automated-driving systems. That's changing.


Keyword Selected: e

50 Resources And Tools To Turbocharge Your Copywriting Skills

Stop wasting time and effort writing copy that falls flat. Raise your copywriting game and boost your powers of persuasion with these rich and informative online resources.

How To Build An Amazon Product Scraper With Node.js

The wealth of data that Amazon holds can make a huge difference when youare designing a product or hunting for a bargain. But, how can a developer get that data? Simple, by using a web scraper. Hereas how to build your data extraction bot with Node.js.

Eye-Tracking In Mobile UX Research

Thanks to technology, eye-tracking has become more accessible to UX research as it allows researchers to get insights about users avisual attention. This article explores the latest trends in the eye-tracking market and how the methodology can be included in the UX researcheras toolbox.

Optimizing Next.js Applications With Nx

Nx is a build framework that facilitates optimization, efficient scaling of applications, and other features such as shared libraries and components. In this article, we will be looking at how we can effectively scale Next.js applications by using Nx.

A Deep Dive Into object-fit And background-size In CSS

In this article, we will go through how `object-fit` and `background-size` work, when we can use them, and why, along with some practical use cases and recommendations. Letas dive in.

An Introduction To Quasar Framework: Building Cross-Platform Applications

Quasar is an open-source Vue.js-based cross-platform framework that allows you, as a developer, to easily build apps for both desktop and mobile using technologies such as Cordova and Electron and writing your code once. The app weall build will store and get its data from Firebase, meaning that we will also be seeing how to use Firebase in Quasar.

How To Build A Real-Time Multi-User Game From Scratch

This article highlights the process, technical decisions and lessons learned behind building the real-time game Autowuzzler. Learn how to share game state across multiple clients in real-time with Colyseus, do physics calculations with Matter.js, store data in Supabase.io and build the front-end with SvelteKit.

Respecting Usersa Motion Preferences

The `prefers-reduced-motion` media query has excellent support in all modern browsers going back a couple of years. In this article, Michelle Barker explains why thereas no reason not to use it today to make your sites more accessible.

Building The SSG Iave Always Wanted: An 11ty, Vite And JAM Sandwich

Back in January 2020, Ben Holmes set out to do what just about every web developer does each year: rebuild his personal site. In this article, he shares his story of how he set out to build his own build pipeline from absolute ground zero and created aSlinkitya.

Building An API With Gatsby Functions

In this tutorial, Paul Scanlon explains how to build an API by using Gatsby Functions and what you need to keep in mind when deploying it to Gatsby Cloud.

Smashing Podcast Episode 42 With Jeff Smith: What Is DevOps?

In this episode, weare talking about DevOps. What is it, and is it a string to add to your web development bow? Drew McLellan talks to expert Jeff Smith to find out.

Solving CLS Issues In A Next.js-Powered E-Commerce Website (Case Study)

Cumulative Layout Shift is one of the hardest core web vital to debug. In this article, we go through different tools to investigate CLS, when to use them(and when not), and solutions to some of the CLS issues we faced in our Next.js-based e-commerce website.

A Simple But Effective Mental Health Routine For Programmers

In this article, weall look at why taking care of our work-life balance is important, how to develop a simple and effective mental health routine, and the most common and efficient techniques you can use to make your custom routine.

Tips And Tricks For Evaluating UX/UI Designers

Customers may start using your app because you offer a unique product, but user experience is what makes them stay. For that, you need excellent UX designers, and the know-how to spot them when hiring.

Smart CSS Solutions For Common UI Challenges

Writing CSS has probably never been more fun and exciting than it is today. In this post weall take a look at common problems and use cases we all have to face in our work and how to solve them with modern CSS. If youare interested, weave also just recently covered [CSS auditing tools](https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2021/03/css-auditing-tools/), [CSS generators](https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2021/03/css-generators/), [front-end boilerplates](https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2021/06/useful-frontend-boilerplates-starter-kits/) and [VS code extensions](https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2021/05/useful-vs-code-extensions-web-developers/) — you might find them useful, too.

Upcoming Live Workshops On Front-End & UX (Oct 2021–Jan 2022)

Do you like a good interface design challenge? What about accessibility testing and design systems? Or maybe Next.js and advanced CSS? With our new online workshops on front-end & design, we cover all of it. Ah, and [here's what our workshops are like](https://vimeo.com/616485526).

Useful React APIs For Building Flexible Components With TypeScript

React with JSX is a fantastic tool for making easy-to-use components. Typescript components make it an absolute pleasure for developers to integrate your components into their apps and explore your APIs. Learn about three lesser-known React APIs that can take your components to the next level, and help you build even better React Components in this article.

Bridging The Gap Between Designers And Developers

UXPin has recently launched a new feature called aMergea. This tool aims to break through the chasms of design and development, all while improving the agility and quality our teams expect. This new technology may cause some rethink on how the whole design team and engineering team collaborates.

The Autofill Dark Pattern

A adark patterna is a deceptive UX pattern that tricks users into doing things they may not really want to do. In this article, Alvaro Montoro does a little experiment to find out how much privacy is taken away from users across three different browsers.

Composable CSS Animation In Vue With AnimXYZ

Most animation libraries like GSAP and Framer Motion are built purely with JavaScript or TypeScript, unlike AnimXYZ, which is labelled athe first composable CSS animation toolkita, built mainly with SCSS While a simple library, it can be used to achieve a lot of awesome animation on the web in a short amount of time and little code.

Building A Static-First MadLib Generator With Portable Text And Netlify On-Demand Builder Functions

In this article, weall be building an interactive fiction experience in which a user can insert words that match parts of speech given by the content creator. Letas go!

Freebie: COVID-19 Icon Set (56 Icons, AI, EPS, SVG, PNG)

Every once in a while, we publish [freebies](https://www.smashingmagazine.com/category/freebies/) related to different occasions and themes. We hope that with this icon set, every designer will be able to find their own use case and contribute to saving lives. Free for personal and commercial use.

A Guide To CSS Debugging

Debugging in CSS means figuring out what might be the problem when you have unexpected layout results. Weall look at a few categories bugs often fit into, see how we can evaluate the situation, and explore techniques that help prevent these bugs.

Local Testing A Serverless API (API Gateway And Lambda)

Have you ever struggled with testing cloud services locally? Specifically, have you ever struggled with locally testing an API that uses API Gateway and Lambda, with the Serverless framework, on AWS? In this article, Tom Hudson shares a quick overview of how easy it is to quickly set up your project to test locally before deploying to AWS.

How To Build An Expandable Accessible Gallery

In this article, weall be looking at how to set up a gallery that is expandable as well as accessible with a few tips and tricks along the way. Letas get started!

How To Implement Search Functionality In Your Nuxt App Using Algolia InstantSearch

Many websites have some sort of search feature because it helps users navigate through their content easily. Implementing it the right way can be tricky and might not give a good user experience. In this tutorial, we will be integrating Algolia, a popular and powerful search service for the best experience on our Nuxt site.

Keyword Selected: commerce

Top Elastic Path eCommerce Integrations

An Introduction to eCommerce Integrations

Like many other brands, your business is likely seeking to drive digital growth by providing best-in-class digital experiences for your customers. In that case, you've no doubt already heard about the benefits of Headless and Composable Commerce. While a Composable approach to eCommerce offers unparalleled flexibility and performance, the burning question "beyond the commerce platform, what else do I need?"

A vital benefit of a Composable approach is the ability to integrate best-of-breed third-party solutions for services like search, CMS, payments, etc. Choosing whom to partner with for services is essential to realizing your brand's ideal digital customer experience. This post will use our 15+ years of experience in Headless Commerce to cover the most common integrations brand's looking to innovate and grow their revenue focus on, why these partners are crucial, and a brief look at some of the offerings in each segment.

A Brief Summary of Composable Commerce

Before we dive into some of the critical eCommerce integration categories, it is helpful to briefly summarize what Composable Commerce is and its main benefits and drawbacks.

Composable Commerce is an approach that enables business and tech teams to bring their brand's unique digital vision to life by launching and continuously optimizing digital commerce experiences that leverage multiple best-of-breed vendors composed together into a complete, business-ready solution.

Rather than forcing an 'out-of-the-box' commerce platform to fit your brand's needs, a composable approach allows your team to select the partner that best suits your needs and seamlessly integrates it with your commerce platform. The best-of-breed vendors in each space offer highly specialized - and usually functionally superior- alternatives to services that a legacy all-in-one platform can deliver. In some cases, brands running one of these legacy all-in-one commerce platforms are paying double, once for the sub-par feature included in their commerce platform and again for the better performing third-party solution.

Every decision in eCommerce comes with some drawbacks. With Composable Commerce, one of the main drawbacks is the cost and risk of managing multiple vendors. If your brand's goals include vendors for several eCommerce integration categories, the individual price of each of these SaaS offerings can add up quickly. Other Composable Commerce vendors can leave issue resolution and monitoring to you, a risk some brands are unwilling to take. We recommend our Composable Commerce XAaC/ offering, the industry's only experience assurance offering that de-risks a composable architecture by providing a single source of identifying issues in your eCommerce stack. To learn more about Composable Commerce XAaC/, click here.

 

Search & Product Recommendations

Search, and product recommendations are often at the top of the feature list for brands looking to modernize their eCommerce platforms. In the past, search functionality may have been one of the boxes to check off on a long list of requirements when selecting an all-in-one commerce platform. Today, the cutting-edge brands are acutely aware of the impact a best-of-breed search capability can have on the performance of their eCommerce stores.

A best-of-breed search vendor will help achieve your brand's potential by delivering relevant suggestions to customers and keeping them in your store with lightning-quick search results. Modern search solutions allow brands to curate the most relevant results according to their customers' unique preferences. With a 'good enough' approach to search & recommendations, you leave money on the table and will continue to suffer from sub-par conversion rates, ACV, etc.

That isn't to say that a 'modern' search functionality will be the answer to all your brand's eCommerce search needs. As with other categories in a Composable Commerce approach, a particular vendor may be a better fit for your brand, depending on your needs and customer experience objectives. Check out some of our top search partners to learn more about their specific offerings.

Algolia

Google Cloud Search

Handshake

Elastic Search

Content Management Systems (CMS)

A modern Composable Commerce approach typically leverages a 'headless' commerce solution - like Elastic Path Commerce Cloud. A headless commerce solution decouples the core back-end commerce functionality from the 'front-end' experiences that customers see and use.

What is a CMS?

A Content Management System is a software solution that powers the content on your website and other browser-based digital properties and allows users to publish and manage website content without needing to build a custom website front-end in code.

Since the digital battleground for brands has focused on delivering stand-out experiences for customers, many CMS options have different strengths. They will vary on crucial differentiators like low/ no-code, content automation, templates, etc.

The benefits of a modern CMS solution include:

These CMS solutions free your merchandising and marketing teams to quickly execute game-winning strategies without having to rely on an IT team, as they did in legacy CMS offerings.

There is no 'best' CMS tool to leverage; instead, we recommend brands pick a CMS tool that matches their needs and operational goals. Here are a few of the popular CMS solutions from our Accelerators hub.

Amplience

Bloomreach

Contentful

Acquia

Read our post here for a more in-depth look at the top CMS solutions.

Payments Providers

The payments landscape has changed significantly in the recent past. Contactless payment is the most prominent current trend. Other developments include fraud detection, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), Point of Sale (POS) device integration, one-click checkout, etc. These allow brands to make the final purchase stages a seamless and pleasant experience for their customers.

Many popular payment vendors come pre-integrated with a headless commerce platform with a Composable Commerce approach. All you need to do is link an account in a few easy steps to leverage the benefits of these payments providers.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the choice of payment provider comes down to what fits your brand's needs the best. Some brands need to work with particular vendors because they are the standard in a specific geographical market. In contrast, others will leverage several payment solutions, accommodating existing partners and additional providers to ensure they offer the most convenient payment method across all of their current and future touchpoints.

The benefits of a leading payment solution include security, buyer convenience, speed to launch new touchpoints (many payments solutions have pre-build offerings to address use cases). Additionally, at enterprise levels, custom pricing leads to a lower overall total cost of ownership (TCO).

Some of our top payments partners include:

Stripe 

PayPal

Braintree

Adyen

Conclusion

In summary, the top integrations for a Composable Commerce approach are search, CMS, and payments. Each of these categories has multiple vendors, each with its strengths. There is rarely a 'best' vendor amongst them. Instead, based on your brand's needs, your final selection should be based on the best fit for your brand.

Check out the complete list of accelerators on our hub here.

For brands looking to get up-and-running quickly, we offer Pre-Composed SolutionsaC/. These are business-ready solutions, which combine Elastic Path commerce capabilities, partner integrations, and critical customizations so you can launch in a matter of weeks, not months.

Still, need help picking a best-for-me vendor in any other these categories? Please chat with us today to see how your brand can achieve and exceed your eCommerce goals.


2022 Predictions: Unified Commerce Increases Total Revenue

What a year itas been for eCommerce; amid a continued pandemic causing sea change in how, where, and when we transact business. Industry analyst Gartner publishes predictions for the upcoming year based on research and trends, and 2022 brings us to their latest findings; perhaps the most dynamic subject on the minds of analysts and organizations alike, is the future of buyer behavior.

100% Digitally Focused on the Buyeras Needs

No surprise that todayas shopper is driving the omnichannel experience; or the idea that we meet the customer where they are. Gartner offers key insights based on their extensive research and marketplace eCommerce trends.

Overwhelmingly, B2B organizations had to rethink how they do business in the last two years given the harsh realities of a global pandemic; and while these organizations answered the call out of necessity, many focused on their own internal sales goals versus the customer experience. These businesses stand to benefit from focusing on improving customer experiences, a key finding in the report highlights that reducing customer effort increases revenue.

This is not groundbreaking but validates their prediction, aBy 2025, organizations offering a unified commerce experience by frictionlessly moving customers through journeys will see at least a 20% uplift in total revenue.a

Unified Commerce Experience

Unified commerce is the engine for delivering an omnichannel experience. Having a centralized platform creates consistency across all channels and devices; from your site to your mobile app, to your social media presence, unified commerce brings each experience into a single interface.

Gartner has this to say:

  • Customers stay on a continuous loop on the buying journey when unified commerce is in practice; this leads to higher conversions and higher order values
  • Unified commerce in practice calls for cross-collaboration among teams; not siloed divisional interests

Three areas contribute to the 20% predicted lift in revenue from the unified commerce model: conversion/acquisition, average order value, and customer retention. Getting the right information in front of customers at each stage of the journey is key, and it requires collaboration among teams to gather and integrate the data from multiple points.

Bringing your commerce functions into a unified commerce solution requires a few well-executed steps with the following considerations. Consider the organizational impact of unified commerce:

The team needs to be aligned on the vision and goals in addition to roles and responsibilities clearly outlined to reduce friction. Evaluate your current technology and create a roadmap based on requirements and cost. Identify a commerce partner who assists with your transition by offering the appropriate tools and support as you scale, completely customized to your needs.

Unified commerce has its benefits; with revenue growth taking the top spot, youall also build better, trusted relationships with your customers by providing an experience they expect, return to, and talk about in the marketplace. Having a trusted partner to manage your platform also provides access to vendors and new technologies to continuously improve upon the services you offer towards a seamless, omnichannel experience.

Youall also see operational lift with better inventory visibility, and increased employee productivity as functions become automated. Youall get a sharper, more accurate view of the business that sets you up for success and growth.

Gartner suggests a transformation on how this channel approaches digital optimization by changing the way they view the customer. Instead of investing in the latest technology and hoping for the best, the shift comes in understanding the customer and meeting them where they are on the buying journey; when this occurs, the latest tech is then leveraged to support that journey for a truly customer-centric approach versus a process driven take.

Digital Commerce is No Longer a Project

What was once an IT-led initiative, digital commerce has grown in sophistication and scope. Multiple disciplines across the organization must work together to meet shared goals. No longer project-based, itas mission critical to the business with collective ownership across teams. (i.e. Marketing, Sales, IT, Customer Service etc.) Gartner points out in a 2021 Digital Commerce State of the Union survey that approximately 84% of respondents say that more than 12 different primary leaders can be responsible for eCommerce transformations.

Gartner poses a shot across the bow with a warning about siloed environments; such workspaces adversely affect innovation and delivery of the customer experience. When employees sense boundaries within an organization they are less likely to make connections across teams, such behavior leads to stifled innovation and opportunities to grow.

A Retro of Past Predictions

Gartner also takes the time at the end of this report to look back at past predictions to see what missed and hit the target.

Read a full list of Gartneras 2022 Predictions and stay tuned for more highlights from their extensive research and survey findings.


Customize or Configure: Which eCommerce Approach is Right For Your Business?

Having the right tech stack in place can be a game changer for any business - it can provide you with the agility to outmaneuver the competition, delight your consumers, and drive explosive growth in revenue. In the eCommerce space, the right type of solution for your business is one of the most important decisions you will make, and it can be a daunting task given the two main options available are so vastly different. Some prefer the traditional legacy Out-Of-The-Box option that you can configure, while others prefer the services-based option that you can build to your specific needs. We wouldnat go as far as to say one is better than the other, but there will be a better option for you based on your business requirements. Therefore, itas more important to understand how they differ and which one will be more compatible for your business. At the end of the day, the experience you provide to your consumers, and the resulting eCommerce sales you achieve, ride on choosing the best suited digital commerce technology to drive your business. In this article, weall give you a brief overview of what it means to work with an Out-Of-The-Box platform versus building with a services-based solution, key criteria for choosing one and how Elastic Path plays a role in helping you to achieve your ideal state.

 

What is a Configurable Commerce Platform?

A configurable platform typically provides brands with a bundled set of functionality to drive their online commerce business. All of these functionality were developed and deployed by a single vendor and packaged together as a single unit, for brands to leverage its pre-built/out-of-the-box functionality to get up and running quickly.

Traditional eCommerce platforms that offer out-of-the-box functionality include Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Magento, SAP Hybris, Shopify and Oracle. This means that these platforms will have an end to end solution that include features from storefronts, content management, and search to shopping carts, order management and shipping and fulfillment. For the features that are not outright available out-of-the-box, vendors have worked with third party solutions to build services that can be plugged into the platform to extend the existing functionality. For example, if you have chosen Salesforce Commerce Cloud as your choice of commerce platform, you could use a paypal or stripe plugin in order to process your payment transactions.

 

What to Expect When Working With a Configurable eCommerce Platform?

The primary and most obvious benefit of working with a configurable platform, is that you get all the features you need from a single vendor.

Therefore you can expect:

  • The platform costs will be cheaper than services based solutions.
  • There will be one centralized vendor to turn to for everything you needa whether something needs to be fixed or you simply want to make a change.
  • All features are pre-integrated with each other for easy usability.
  • Little to no technical background will be required to operate the platform.
  • Your eCommerce experience can be up and running quickly.

All of the aforementioned benefits are true if you want to deploy a basic website with simple business requirements. However, the more customizations and complex requirements your brand has to address, the more these benefits dissipate. You see, these platforms were built in the vendoras vision of how an eCommerce platform should work. As such, they provide eCommerce teams with fields and templates that allow them to customize and configure their eCommerce experiences to a certain degree within their guidelines. However, the second you try to veer from the predefined box they have outlined for you, your eCommerce teams are forced to spend more time and money configuring your platform to your unique requirements. So how do you know if this option will be right for you?

 

Is A Configurable Platform Right For My Business?

Here are a few key considerations for choosing an configurable platform:

  • You want a standard store up and running fast
  • You need a fairly straight-forward store for selling standard goods or services (e.g. t-shirts via website only)
  • You want to develop your store without the help of an agency or partner
  • You are comfortable that the aout of the boxa themes and templates sufficiently meet your requirements
  • You want to leverage simple configurations and settings such as SKU variation, multi-currency, multi-language, and tax variations by state, etc.
  • You want to leverage all eCommerce functionality via one vendor

If at least 50% of these considerations resonate with you then a configurable out-of-the-box platform may be a good fit. If you want a better idea of whether or not a configurable  platform may be right for your business, take our platform evaluation quiz and get expert advice from the Elastic Path team.

 

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How Has The eCommerce Landscape changed?

The configurable platform approach has been largely positive as brands ventured down the path of doing business online for the first time, when consumer expectations drove the requirement for mostly simple, standardized commerce experiences. However, consumer expectations for modern, engaging experiences have skyrocketed over the past several years, mostly as a result of the leading internet giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Google. These businesses raised the bar in terms of what consumers expected, forcing commerce businesses to rethink the tech stack used to power their online businesses so they could keep pace, innovate and differentiate their brand. As a result, over the past 3-4 years, a market that was previously dominated by a few, large configurable, out-of-the-box platform vendors is now fortunate to have dozens of best-in-class commerce services providing much more robust functionality for the one thing they do. This has paved the way for services based solutions.

 

What Is Meant By A Services-Based Solution?

A services-based solution leverages best-in-class services to deliver all the functionality you would have previously gotten exclusively from your out-of-the-box eCommerce platform.A typical services-based commerce stack would include best-in-class services covering all the capabilities commonly included in a traditional out-of-the-box eCommerce platform, such as order management, inventory, Salsify product information management (PIM), TaxJar for tax, shipping, fulfillment, Contentful for the content management system (CMS), and Stripe for the payment gateway, just to name a few. Modern services-based solutions include vendors such as Elastic Path, Commercetools, VTEX and Fabric. This means that while you can achieve an end to end solution with these platforms you and your team and/or hired agency will be responsible for building your unique solution.

 

What To Expect When Working With A Services-Based Solution?

The primary benefit of working with a services-based solution is the complete control and flexibility you receive to design your commerce stack with best in class services to meet your specific business requirements. Therefore, you can expect:

  • To have the best service for each eCommerce functionality.
  • To build your solution you want the first time rather than configuring an out-of-the-box platform.
  • A high degree of flexibility to customize your eCommerce experiences.
  • A higher platform cost, but a significantly lower cost to make changes to your solution.
  • To be able to work with a variety of developers to bring your unique requirements to life.

 

While all the aforementioned benefits are true, you will have to take into account that a more customized solution may take some more upfront time and cost. In addition, you will also be trading in working with just one vendor, to many vendors, that your team will have to focus on integrating together for a seamless eCommerce experience. So while you can achieve your unique vision, you often take on more of the burden of building it. So how do you know if this option will be right for you?

 

Is A Services-Based Solution Right For My Business?

Here are a few key considerations for choosing services based solution:

  • You want your eCommerce solution to your exact requirements, not configure a template.
  • You have a technical team, systems integrator or agency to help with building your solution.
  • You rely on your brand to differentiate you in market and you want to ensure that differentiation is reflected in your digital commerce.
  • You have an eCommerce strategy that includes multiple business models (e.g. B2B, B2C, and/or B2B2C), use cases, experiences, etc.
  • You want to be able to rapidly adjust your eCommerce solution to meet outpace competitors and meet market needs.
  • You want to enable omnichannel experiences with one solution.
  • You want to leverage complex configurations and settings such as price variation, account management, budget and spend limits and more.

If at least 50% of these considerations resonate with you then a services-based solution may be a good fit. If you want a better idea of whether or not a services-based solution may be right for your business, take our platform evaluation quiz and get expert advice from the Elastic Path team.

 

 

Interested in Learning About Elastic Path Commerce Cloud?

Launch and optimize innovative experiences fast, with a modern, headless, SaaS, API-first, & microservices-based commerce platform.

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Where Does Elastic Path Fall On the Platform Spectrum?

Elastic Path leverages a services-based approach to empower brands to build their Composable Commerce solutions. Composable Commerce is an approach that enables business and tech teams to bring their brandas unique digital vision to life by launching and continuously optimizing digital commerce experiences that leverage multiple best-of-breed vendors composed together into a complete, business ready solution.

Traditional services-based solutions come equipped with MACH based technology (Microservices, API-First, Cloud-Native, Headless) that grant you the flexibility to design your unique solution. But as we mentioned earlier, eCommerce teams are often left to deal with the complexities of designing and configuring the solution.

Composable Commerce from Elastic Path on the other hand leverages not just MACH, but also assets like partner integrations, a marketplace filled with jumpstart solutions if you need to get up and running quickly, as well as full support to compose and optimize your unique solution.

Therefore, when you choose to work with Elastic Path you no longer have to compromise between the speed of configurable, out-of-the-box platforms and complexity of services-based solutions. This is all made possible by 3 main components of the Elastic Path Offering:

  • The Core Commerce Solution- Elastic Path Commerce Cloud offers a Composable, omnichannel architecture which is designed with simplicity in mind so that you can deliver any use case or experience with built-in core commerce functionality, eliminating the need for messy customizations to be built and managed.
  • Business Ready Solutions- At Elastic Path we have the Composable Commerce Hub which is a modern vendor marketplace that provides business-ready solutions so that brands can move with the speed of their business demands. It brings together a robust library of Pre-Composed SolutionsaC/ and Accelerators into one central location, so brands can deliver business results in weeks, not months by eliminating the complexity of acomposinga from scratch.
  • Solution Assurance - Elastic Path offers Composable Commerce Experience Assurance aC/ which gives brands who are embracing a multi-vendor approach peace of mind. This experience assurance de-risks composable, multi-vendor commerce solutions by providing holistic integration monitoring and one central contact when issues arise. So, instead of navigating across numerous vendors as you have to do with other MACH-based solutions, Elastic Path partners with you to manage and resolve all issues.
  •  
  • We truly hope this helped you to better understand how to choose between configuring an out-of-the-box platform and building a services-based solution. As always if you have any questions or just want to learn more about how Elastic Path can help you to achieve your business goals, feel free to reach out us! 


    What is the Cost of Headless Commerce?

    When talking to brands about the benefits of Headless Commerce, one of the most frequent questions, and often the first, is "how much does it cost?"

    Spoiler: Before a commerce vendor understands a brands goals and roadmap, the answer is almost guaranteed to be ait dependsa. Understandably, brands evaluating commerce platforms are frustrated with "it depends." The truth of the matter is, there isnat a better answer until knowing more about your brandas needs and ambitions. This post will summarize what "it depends" on and how a few key areas influence the total cost:

  • Subscription license fees and how it varies  
  • The 'types' of Headless Commerce platforms available and how they impact the cost  
  • Implementation & re-platforming costs
  • The Variable Cost of Headless Commerce

    Headless Commerce vendors generally have a similar cost structure. While these vary slightly across vendors, usually, our customers don't view these as a significant factor in choosing which Headless Commerce platform is best suited to their needs.

    Generally, the subscription license cost is based on how much merchandise is sold in a store. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) based costs are now standard. They range from a fraction of a percentage point to a few percentage points (0.3% - 3%) of GMV, depending on each contract. Usage-based costing is by no means a new cost structure; other SaaS solutions have a similar system - cloud computing is a good example.

    The other alternative to volume-based pricing is based on the number of orders processed; this alternative is less common since the average order value can vary drastically from one brand to the next. At Elastic Path, typically, the costs start from 50,000 USD/ year and increase based on your transaction volume. The benefit of this pricing structure is the economies of scale, where your unit costs will be cheaper at $1 Billion in order value versus order value of $10 Million.

    The most critical piece in evaluating what eCommerce solution to buy is comparing Headless Commerce costs compared to traditional monolithic solutions. No surprises here, Headless Commerce is usually cheaper - especially in the long term- than a conventional monolithic platform like Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, or Shopify. For a more detailed look at the cost implications, please read our guide on the Total Cost of Ownership.

    Beyond the subscription license cost for your core commerce platform, the licensing of third-party subscriptions could also be significant. With modern Headless Commerce solutions following a composable approach, brands can pick which third-party technologies they need to address their commerce goals. Typically, these include connecting the core commerce engine to third-party Search, Content Management Systems (CMS), Order Management Systems (OMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, personalization, tax & payments.

    Each of these services will come with its own costs that must be evaluated with each vendor. Ultimately your total cost for third-party solutions will depend on what back-end solutions your brand needs to achieve its commerce experience goals.

    Interested in Learning More About Elastic Path Commerce Cloud?

    Launch and optimize innovative experiences fast, with a modern, headless, SaaS, API-first, & microservices-based commerce platform.

    See the Future of eCommerce

    Types of Headless Commerce & Their Costs

    Headless Commerce solutions can be broadly categorized into two main buckets. 'Retrofitted Headless' and Microservices-based Headless Commerce. In a nutshell - 'retrofitted' Headless solutions were built upon the older monolithic solutions, where the 'head' or front-end has been separated. This allows brands to create better customer experiences since they are no longer bound by only what is available out of the box from a monolithic solution. The drawback of these types of Headless Commerce solutions is that the back-end is still 'tightly-coupled,' where each component is interdependent, resulting in more costly and difficult customizations.

    In contrast, Microservices-based Headless Commerce solutions are designed so each 'service' or component that makes up a complete solution can function independently and instead 'talk' to each other through APIs. This means that the whole solution is easier to customize and add to in the future as the brand's needs or their customer's needs change.

    For a more detailed comparison between the two types, check out our headless vs retrofitted post here.

    There are a few key factors at play when it comes to the costs:

    • Microservice-based Headless Commerce allows you to pick and choose the necessary pieces for your brand. Rather than paying for every feature in a 'retrofitted' Headless solution (due to their tightly coupled back-end architecture).  
    • Future enhancements are cheaper to implement with Microservices-based Headless Commerce. This is primarily due to the lower 'effort' or developer hours needed to customize these solutions.  
    • Microservices-based Headless Commerce is designed to work with the best third-party solutions available for a particular function. Search is a great example, where the capabilities of a monolithic solution will be dwarfed by those of a third-party solution whose sole focus is on this function. Not only are they functionally superior, but a Microservices-based approach negates the need to pay for both the 'out-of-the-box' & a better third-party solution.

    Understanding what services your brand will need to achieve your eCommerce goals is crucial. Even with a Microservices-based Headless Commerce solution, these costs can sky-rocket for complex solutions that require several third-party integrations, each with its individual cost component.

    Implementation & Re-platforming Costs

    At this point, many brands have had to go through a re-platforming as they outgrew their initial solution or realized that their current system was not flexible enough to handle their increasingly complex eCommerce needs. These brands are painfully aware of how expensive a complete re-platform can be and would love to negate the need to do so again soon.

    See how you can futureproof your commerce solution.

    A significant portion of the cost of re-platforming is the implementation costs. Whether this is through a System Integrator (SI) or achieved by an in-house development team for brands equipped to do so, the majority of the resources spent in this effort are in the development. Although an SI will be more expensive when broken down into a per hour/ unit basis, it is critical to understand how it might impact your in-house development team's other priorities.

    As with all other costs, the implementation costs will vary based on a few factors:

    • A phased vs. a full-scale re-platform. The time needed to have a portion of your eCommerce solution moved to a newer solution versus a full re-platforming can vary significantly. Many brands prefer to 'strangle' pieces of their solution as they go to keep costs and performance in check.  
    • How much customization is required for your unique solution? Generally, it is easier and faster to customize a modern Microservices-based Headless solution. With a retrofitted headless solution, brands often have issues with higher-cost developer teams. Two contributing factors: the effort required to implement customization is higher. Sometimes, they need to know the old architecture of an existing solution (which can often be a scarce skill set).  
    • Do you need to start from scratch, or does a similar implementation exist that can be 'tweaked,' saving hours of development and testing time? Check out our Hub of Pre-Composed SolutionsaC/ that allows brands to launch in a matter of weeks, not months.

    For a more in-depth understanding of eCommerce re-platforming, check out our guide.

    Bringing it All Together

    In Summary, your brand's Headless Commerce costs will depend on the factors outlined above. Your total cost will depend on how you choose to:

    • Volume (GMV) based subscription license fees for your core commerce platform along with individual third-party license fees for the entire composable commerce solution.  
    • Your chosen type of Headless Commerce solution implies variance in customizations costs.  
    • Implementation costs from SIs or in-house resources vary if it is a re-platforming and how you choose to transition to a modern Headless Commerce platform.

    Ready for an estimate of Headless Commerce cost that addresses your brand's unique needs? Talk to us today to get started on your quote.


    Top Barriers to Composable Commerce and How to Overcome Them

    The Composable Commerce approach is the way forward for businesses looking to transform their eCommerce user experiences quickly, efficiently, and with reduced risk.

    By 2023, Gartner predicts that organizations whoave adopted a composable approach will outpace competition by 80% in the speed of new feature implementation.

    We recently hosted a webinar alongside our partners Algolia and Contentful, to answer top questions about Composable Commerce in practice, and provide use cases from brands who are embarking on eCommerce solutions and expanding their footprint.

    First things first, the data. A recent survey of over 400 eCommerce practitioners reveals businesses are on the right track to adoption:

    • 95% believe the composable approach is the way forward in modern commerce
    • 82% anticipate a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) with adoption by as much as 25% in savings

    These numbers indicate confidence in the approach, however there are significant questions stemming from the how-to.

    Top Barriers of Composable Commerce and How To Overcome Them

    Barrier 1: I am concerned about my team working in many different solutions

    When using a monolithic approach, itas common to have one team in charge of all aspects of commerce. With a Composable Commerce approach, we must change the expectations of how our teams work, and how they work together.

    Rather than one team own all of commerce, we see sub teams focused on a specific area of commerce. These smaller teams can work independently, and in concert with the greater commerce strategy. While the flexibility of the technology enables this, it becomes critical to spend time defining responsibilities and workflows, so teams feel empowered to embrace this new way of working.

    Historically, if product information needed to be updated, often the development team would be asked to update. But, with this approach the development team can focus on ensuring all the process flows work, the performance objectives are met and the teams that are responsible for product information can work independently and manage the information.

    While there are different interfaces in a multi-solution commerce platform, the data is open and able to be visible across the tech stack, so most teams will only be interacting with one.

    Barrier 2: My technical team doesnat have experience with this approach

    No matter your level of digital maturity, there is a solution to achieve your eCommerce goals. Other points to consider: how far along are you on the digital journey? Do you have systems in place? If you have a seasoned system integrator on board, they can guide you through and alleviate pre-launch stress.

    You may also consider pre-built functionality such as Elastic Pathas Pre-Composed SolutionsaC/ that offer the convenience of multiple integrations and vendors in a single business-ready package.

     

    Is Composable Commerce Right For You?

    It can be a difficult question to answer. Check out our comprehensive guide on the modern approach to learn more about the architecture, benefits, and if it makes sense for your business.

    Read the Guide

    Barrier 3: I need to be able to make changes

    For those businesses worried about the overall lift, composability provides the foundation to launch what you need, when you need it, and to adapt as you go. You donat need to make changes to the entire system to launch new products, new channels, or a campaign.

    Barrier 4: Iam worried about the cost

    There is no one-size-fits-all figure for implementation cost.

    Youall be looking at a few key factors when evaluating a provider and your own unique requirements such as subscriptions, third party licensing fees, business and developer tooling, if youall require an SI to assist with migrations, etc. It really does depend on your business needs and what systems and partners you currently have in place.

    Cost is a common misconception in the buying process. When purchasing a multi-vendor solution itas often thought youare paying for functionality youall never use.

    With the composable commerce approach you are paying for and leveraging the services you use. You are free to use vendors within the open ecosystem as they apply to your specific business needs and not be locked-in to vendors or solutions.

    Barrier 5: I expect a lengthy implementation

    Aside from flexibility once youave deployed, the composable commerce approach offers speed to market. Your launch can be a staged process by functions as you need them within weeks not months. Much like the discussion around cost, you leverage what you need, when you need it.

    Interested in learning more? Watch the full webinar below!


    How Implementing Unified Carts Can Enhance Your eCommerce Strategy

    In a world where consumers are easily distracted and utilize many different touch points prior to completing a purchase, it is imperative that brands ensure consumersa checkout process is as seamless as possible. According to Baynard Institute, shoppers are already quickly abandoning their carts for a variety of reasons such as, atoo complicated/ long checkout processa, and athe site wanted me to create an account.a

    Now if we couple this with an ever growing population of distracted shoppers across many devices, brands stand to lose shoppers faster than they gained them. One such way that brands have begun to combat this issue is by investing more into their unified shopping experiences like unified carts. In the post, weall discuss what unified carts are, how they can enhance your customer experiences and how Elastic Path helps you to achieve it.

     

    What is a Unified Cart ?

    When we speak of unified carts, we are referring to a cart checkout process that allows customers to seamlessly add, remove, modify or purchase items, across as many touch points available to them, from both the brand, and even their subsequent sub-brands.

    For example, letas take a look at the GAP. When you enter their website, GAP has 3 other subsequent brands available for their customers to also shop from. Rather than creating silos that make it hard for their customers to complete their purchase, they have begun to enhance their unified commerce experiences, by allowing customers to populate a universal cart across all 4 brands and also allow their customers to complete their purchase on their device of choice. Creating a cohesive checkout experience is an integral part of the puzzle as a retailer; and if done correctly, you will quickly reap the benefits.

     

    What are the benefits of implementing a unified cart checkout process?

    Increased Conversion Rate

    By offering one centralized checkout process, brands eliminate the need for shoppers to jump from site to site, create individual carts, and start over every time they switch to a new device. Therefore, by making their checkout process less complicated, it will also help to reduce cart abandonment and increase conversion rates.

     

    Personalized Shopping Experiences

    With a more streamlined checkout process, brands will gain a better ability to follow and track their customers across all of their devices with more targeted and tailored to their interest.

     

    Single Data Channel

    With a unified cart, brands can create a single data channel that provides access to on-demand customer-centric data about where, when, why and how their customers shop. With this timely data, brands now have the opportunity to become more strategic in their marketing and invest in it more efficiently to match their customers.

     

    Optimal media mix

    Similarly to the aforementioned benefit, this data can also be used to inform brands about the optimal channel mix, offers, promotions, and recommendations that best serve the customers for a more unique experience that keeps them engaged.

     

    Revenue Growth

    By addressing and monitoring customer preferences and adjusting your eCommerce strategy to embrace a unified commerce experience, brands stand to increase their average order value, which in turn helps to propel revenue growth.

     

     

    Want to See How Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is Future Proof?

    Launch and optimize innovative experiences fast, with a modern, headless, SaaS, API-first, & microservices-based commerce platform.

    See the Future of eCommerce

    How Can I Get Started with Unified Carts?

    Deploying a unified cart may not be as simple as it sounds. Most legacy eCommerce platforms are most times rigid and tightly coupled, which makes it difficult to leverage your product, catalog, and price data across multiple channels and stores. Therefore, most times, brands have to end up creating multiple individual instances leaving customers with a disjointed experience.

    At Elastic Path, customers can leverage the API-First, Headless, Microservices solution that allows them to unify the data and create multiple instances across channels with just one solution. As such, it becomes easy to create a unified cart that spans across their eCommerce strategy. Take a look at the demonstration below to see how the brand BelleVie is able to deploy their unified cart.

     

     

    If you're interested in seeing more or have any questions, feel free to reach out us! 


    Inside Elastic Path: A Look at 2021

    2021 was a year of tremendous growth for our organization. A few highlights include launching new product offerings, celebrating triple digit revenue growth for our modern SaaS ecommerce offering, hiring 46 people, releasing 140+ product updates, recognizing 31 individuals with promotions, onboarding 40+ new partners, launching new wellness initiatives, and so much more.

    2021 was also another year of navigating COVID in the workplace and in our homes. We re-opened our offices globally and closed our offices. We held in-person gatherings and continued virtual events. We learned alongside each other on what itas like to work fully remote and what itas like to work in a hybrid environment.

    Through our learnings, we identified there will be people who would like to remain virtual for the foreseeable future, and there were people who would like to have a hybrid experience. 2021 was the year we launched programs to support both of these scenarios with our Work Mode Stipend program.

    And we formed a cross functional committee focused on asynchronous work to develop best practices to support collaboration in this new way of working.

    I started this post by highlighting key growth metrics, and while I could write a blog post on each one, I am going to focus on our people.

    Our people are at the center of everything we do, and without them, none of the other growth metrics would have been attainable.

    2021 Elastic Path Employee Experience

    With the launch of our Wellness Employee Resource Group (ERG), we saw monthly employee newsletters, new programming to support our people and their families, and a company-wide Wellness Day. Our Wellness ERG brought in an external speaker to talk about mental health, coordinated a company-wide Movember fundraising event, and got us moving during our first company-wide steps challenge.

    We were proud to launch a new parental leave program supporting primary and secondary caregivers paid time off to bond with their new child/children. All eligible employees (both primary and secondary caregivers) now receive 6 weeks fully paid leave, with the primary birthing parent receiving an additional 6 weeks fully paid.

    Supporting our peopleas professional development has always been a focal point of our employee experience. In 2021, we invested over $30k in professional development activities for our people including online courses, professional coaching, and certifications.

    Every employee has a Role Charter, and while the Role Charter itself was not new in 2021, we did add a specific callout for professional development to encourage all of our people to take advantage of this benefit. Role Charters are designed to showcase each personas role and key areas of responsibility in context of team and organizational goals.

    We could not be more proud of the 31 individuals who were promoted this year. Creating an environment for our peopleas careers to flourish is critical to the success of our business.

    In addition to the professional development program for all employees, we launched a People Leadership Training Program to all people managers. This program covered topics ranging from psychological safety to continuous feedback to conducting effective one-on-one meetings.

     

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    Communication is critical to any organization, but especially a high growth organization such as ours.

    While we continued programs to deliver information to our people, such as our monthly all hands meeting, we also spent more time listening. We launched pulse surveys throughout the year to check in with our team and we launched a listening tour with our CEO, Jamus Driscoll.

    Jamus opened his virtual door and met with small groups to hear what was on their mind with a specific focus on our vision for the company. Listening is a crucial, and often overlooked, element of communication, and as we look ahead, I am eager to continue to evolve how we listen at a macro level.

    So as I end this ode to 2021, I would like to thank each and every person in the Elastic Path ecosystem a across our amazing global team of employees, partners, and customers. We were able to accomplish big goals, pivot when COVID changed our plans, and continued to drive an even better employee experience.

    Hereas to an even bigger 2022, together.


    99 eCommerce Acronyms

    If you've ever found yourself scratching your head at a 3-letter acronym in an ecommerce related article or document, this post is for you. We've compiled 99 of the most common 3 letter acronyms you'll find in online business, from a wide range of functions including IT, marketing, web development, SEO, web analytics, web design and logistics. Roll over any acronym to see its title, or click its link to see a full definition. Or quiz yourself, and see how many of these acronyms you know off the top of your head!

    3PL3rd Party Logistics AOVAverage Order Value APIApplication Programming Interface B2BBusiness-to-Business B2CBusiness-to-Consumer B2EBusiness-to-Employee BOMBill of Materials BPABusiness Process Automation BPMBusiness Process Management CDNContent Delivery Network CMSContent Management System CODCash on Delivery CPACost Per Action CPCCost Per Click CPICost Per Impression CPMCost Per Mille CRMCustomer Relationship Management CROConversion Rate Optimization CSCCard Security Code CSEComparison Shopping Engine CSRCustomer Service Representative CSSCascading Style Sheets CTRClick Through Rate CVCCard Verification Code CVVCard Verification Value DFOData Feed Optimization DIMDimensional Weight DNSDomain Name System DOMDocument Object Model DTPDays to Purchase EAIEnterprise Application Integration EDIElectronic Data Interchange ERPEnterprise Resource Planning FAK Freight All Kinds FAQFrequently Asked Questions FTPFile Transfer Protocol FUDFear, Uncertainty and Doubt HCIHuman Computer Interaction ISPInternet Service Providers KPIKey Performance Indicator LPOLanding Page Optimization LSALatent Symantic Analysis LSILatent Symantic Indexing LTLLess Than Truckload LTVLifetime Value MMSMultimedia Messaging Service MP3MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3 MVTMultivariate Testing NLPNatural Language Processing OOSOut of Stock OPMOutsourced Program Management ORMOnline Reputation Management PCIPayment Card Industry PHPHypertext Preprocessor PIMProduct Information Management POSPoint of Sale Terminal PPCPay Per Click QSAQualified Security Assessor RDFResource Description Framework REPRobots Exclusion Protocol RFIRequest for Information RFPRequest for Proposal RFQRequest for Quotation RFTRequest for Tender RIARich Internet Application ROIReturn on Investment RSSRich Site Summary SASStatistical Analysis System SEMSearch Engine Marketing SEOSearch Engine Optimization SKUStock-keeping Unit SLAService Level Agreement SLR SMOSocial Media Optimization SMSShort Message Service SOAService Oriented Architecture SOWStatement of Work SSIServer Side Includes SSLSecure Sockets Layer TCOTotal Cost of Ownership TLDTop Level Domain TLSTransport Layer Security TOSTerms of Service TPLThird-Party Logistics UCEUnsolicited Commercial Email UGCUser Generated Content USPUnique Selling Proposition UVPUnique Value Proposition VARValue Added Reseller VATValue Added Tax VTPVisits to Purchase VTRView-Through Rate WAIWeb Accessibility Initiative WAOWeb Analytics Optimization WAPWireless Application Protocol WMLWireless Markup Language WMSWarehouse Management System W3CWorld Wide Web Consortium XMLExtensible Markup Language

    The Future of Voice Recognition

    This post originally published in 2019 has been updated for accuracy and relevance.

    Voice recognition devices are a growing trend especially when used in a shopping capacity. Researcha-shows that 32% use voice-activated search daily instead of typing, and that 43% shop online with voice-activated devices.a-

    It makes sense the likes of Amazon, Google and Apple would stay ahead of the curve with voice-enabled devices as the public moves more towards voice search on the internet.

    Such technological advancements are essentially the driving force behinda-changing consumer behavior. Whatas more, as they begin to advance, people are increasingly becoming reliant on voice recognition devices that soon it will be inconceivable to imagine life without them. Theyare already a staple in many households across the globe.a-

    Voice recognition assistants are capable of more than just answering your queries for Google. Thanks toa-technical due diligencea-investment, software engineers and developers can continue growing the technology. More applications are being made specifically to be compatible with smart devices, such as smart household appliances.

    They can now help humans with tasks around the home such as controlling the heating, turning lights on and off, and using entertainment systems.a-

    Top Advantages of Voice Enabled Tech

    Perhaps the biggest advantage of voice enabled device usage is time. Itas much faster to talk than type, so everyday tasks like setting up meetings or reminders, and placing orders becomes more efficient.

    What are the most popular activities while using such devices? Top three include:

    • Researching products
    • Adding items to cart
    • Tracking a package

    Beyond boosting productivity, other advantages include increased accessibility to your business or services from those who have physical disabilities where typing is a barrier. It also promotes hands-free working, where notes can easily be dictated and shared instead of typed or written out.

    Security breaches and cyberattacks are on the rise as we shift more sensitive information accessibility online. Voice enabled tech protects user identities with an authentication layer particularly useful in the banking and medical sectors.

    Looking to Voice Enable Your Commerce Experiences?

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    Important Notes On Voice Recognition

    The voice recognition market was valued at USD 10.70 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 27.155 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 16.8% over the forecast period 2021 - 2026. Virtual assistants are driving this growth in retail, banking, and automotive sectors, as well as personal home use.

    According to Google, 20% of queries on Googleas mobile app and Android devices are voice searches, and the number is expected to grow exponentially. Googleas voice assistant is now available on more than 400 million devices. As we continue to navigate contactless human interaction during COVID-19, voice enabled tech plays an integral role in those advancements.

    Where do we see the most adoption? Given the high population density of the Asia-Pacific region, both China and India are seeing the largest growth rates, especially using voice enabled functions in mobile banking.

    The future of voice recognition is looking bright. Given its current global usage both in the home and on the move, it seems as though this technology will only get bigger over the next few years.


    Futureproof eCommerce: What Does it Mean & Why it Matters

    With every year, new trend reports aim to predict the future for the years to come. Within the world of eCommerce, we've seen drastic shifts in customer behavior and expectations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, these proved to accelerate the future predictions rather than depart from expectations. While some brands were able to adapt quickly, many struggled to keep up and eCommerce managers were left wondering first, how to catch up and second, how to ensure their brands wouldnat fall behind in the future. This post will walk through the importance of 'futureproofing' your eCommerce solution and why you prioritize it now versus in the future.

    What is Futureproofing?

    Simply put, futureproofing is ensuring your eCommerce solution will continue to deliver value for your brand into the future. That's not to say that a single solution will last forever. Instead, it ensures that your eCommerce solution will continue to keep up with your needs as they change. For example, the ability to easily support new experiences like mobile-self checkout or, seamless integrate new technology.

    For a breakdown of crucial commerce trends, check out our Gartner's Predicts report post.

    Why Legacy Monolithic Solution Is Vulnerable

    Monolithic eCommerce software (or, legacy all-in-one solutions) by design provide interlinked functionality from a single package. Because each commerce function is 'tightly-coupled,' a monolith solution requires extensive work to customize or add new functionality. To learn more about monolithic solutions and how they compare to more modern headless solutions, check out our post here. 

    Most monolithic solutions have long release cycles; they will need several months to add a feature like curbside pick-up or mobile self-checkout, two experiences that gained massive importance during the pandemic. Adding new experiences to a monolith is constrained by the very nature of its architecture. Since each component is 'tightly-coupled,' they are not designed to work with new features easily. Any customizations or additions mean that long hours of implementation and testing are required to ensure a new experience works with the entirety of the rest of the existing monolith. Due to these long release cycles and the lack of control over them, brands running a monolithic eCommerce solution had no possibility of quickly spinning up these experiences, losing customers to competitors that were on future proofed solutions that allowed the rapid addition of these new experiences.

    Gartner sums it up well, "Monolithic digital commerce applications cannot support the agility and flexibility needed to support fast-moving digital business. Organizations will need to move toward composable commerce to keep up with the pace of change in customer demand."

     

    Want to See How Elastic Path Commerce Cloud is Future Proof?

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    What is Composable Commerce? Is it the Solution?

    In a nutshell, Composable Commerce is an approach to digital commerce that enables your brand to create a 'best-for-me' solution comprised of third-party vendors and core commerce capabilities that fit your brand's unique needs. It offers a variety of benefits over a traditional monolithic solution, including and not limited to:

    • Speed to market
    • Speed to optimize/ change as needed
    • Flexibility to tailor a solution with third-party features to fit your brand
    • Unmatched scalability with could-native architecture
    • Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
    • Business-centric solution to manage multiple customer touchpoints across several channels (B2B, B2C, B2B2C, etc.).
    • Microservices based features are designed to function independently, making them easy to add, remove, or swap as the market and your brandas goals evolve

    To learn more about Composable Commerce, check out our guide here.

    A Composable Commerce approach is well equipped to seamlessly add functionality on the fly as your business goals and customer habits evolve. Take mobile touchpoints as an example; with Millennials making up a large percentage of buyers in today's market, it is as vital as ever to have a state-of-the-art mobile commerce experience to fit their expectations. Failing to add a mobile-self checkout or having an app or mobile site that is slow to load can lead to lost conversions and, ultimately, revenue. See our post to learn more about page load speeds and how they impact your bottom line.

    A composable approach isn't only about keeping up with the Joneses. It also ensures that you have the flexibility to test and innovate with third-party solutions for a particular functionality to ensure that you create a solution that works best for your brand's needs. For example, experimenting with adding a voice-enabled chat bot or AR showrooms to test if they improve your conversion rates. Compared with the underwhelming, restricted 'what you see is what you get' reality of a monolith solution, a composable approach allows continuous improvement and innovation. Free from coming up with workarounds to a monolithic solution, your eCommerce team can focus on quickly delivering customer experiences that help your brand stand out amongst the competition.

    What About 5 Years Into The Future?

    If youave been in digital commerce for a while, youare probably experienced in wholescale re-platforming. At this point, you are likely wondering if there is a way to escape the never-ending cycle of re-platforming. It is a costly journey that your brand may have undertaken multiple times already. The reality is, with a SaaS-based, Composable Commerce solution, a full-scale re-platforming is not a concern in the next 5 years.

    While no solution will last forever, with a Composable Commerce solution, your brand will be in the best possible position to evolve with the rapidly changing world of eCommerce. You will never have to wait for a new 'release' of a monolithic solution to provide a consistent multi-experience offering to your customers.

    Ready for the future? Talk to us today to see how Elastic Path can help your brand solve your eCommerce needs today & tomorrow.


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    Eye-Tracking In Mobile UX Research

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    An Introduction To Quasar Framework: Building Cross-Platform Applications

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    How To Build A Real-Time Multi-User Game From Scratch

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    Respecting Usersa Motion Preferences

    The `prefers-reduced-motion` media query has excellent support in all modern browsers going back a couple of years. In this article, Michelle Barker explains why thereas no reason not to use it today to make your sites more accessible.

    Building The SSG Iave Always Wanted: An 11ty, Vite And JAM Sandwich

    Back in January 2020, Ben Holmes set out to do what just about every web developer does each year: rebuild his personal site. In this article, he shares his story of how he set out to build his own build pipeline from absolute ground zero and created aSlinkitya.

    Building An API With Gatsby Functions

    In this tutorial, Paul Scanlon explains how to build an API by using Gatsby Functions and what you need to keep in mind when deploying it to Gatsby Cloud.

    Smashing Podcast Episode 42 With Jeff Smith: What Is DevOps?

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    Solving CLS Issues In A Next.js-Powered E-Commerce Website (Case Study)

    Cumulative Layout Shift is one of the hardest core web vital to debug. In this article, we go through different tools to investigate CLS, when to use them(and when not), and solutions to some of the CLS issues we faced in our Next.js-based e-commerce website.

    A Simple But Effective Mental Health Routine For Programmers

    In this article, weall look at why taking care of our work-life balance is important, how to develop a simple and effective mental health routine, and the most common and efficient techniques you can use to make your custom routine.

    Tips And Tricks For Evaluating UX/UI Designers

    Customers may start using your app because you offer a unique product, but user experience is what makes them stay. For that, you need excellent UX designers, and the know-how to spot them when hiring.

    Smart CSS Solutions For Common UI Challenges

    Writing CSS has probably never been more fun and exciting than it is today. In this post weall take a look at common problems and use cases we all have to face in our work and how to solve them with modern CSS. If youare interested, weave also just recently covered [CSS auditing tools](https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2021/03/css-auditing-tools/), [CSS generators](https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2021/03/css-generators/), [front-end boilerplates](https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2021/06/useful-frontend-boilerplates-starter-kits/) and [VS code extensions](https://www.smashingmagazine.com/2021/05/useful-vs-code-extensions-web-developers/) — you might find them useful, too.

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