FrankenShop 2 - 9/25/2012


What is a FrankenShop?
A FrankenShop is the term given to describe the fact that almost all Business-to-Consumer (B2C) implementations are a mash-up (aka a collection of systems integrations) in order to properly integrate with the rest of the organizations IT systems.
Why is this important?
Understanding that B2C sites fundementally are always composite applications is helpful in putting the organizations needs in context when considering their business drivers for B2C e-commerce that these drivers (or requirements) can be broken down into categories and assigned to a specific component (custom or third party) and hence understood better
What else is important to consider?
If all of the tools and components that are being evaluated will "Play nice" on the selected platform e.g. Windows and equally important how will they integrate together and is this integration likely to be easy or hard

E-Commerce basics that had better be right

  • Product: What it is that we sell, including descriptions, pricing, S+H, images, etc
  • Promotions: BOGO, % Off, etc.
  • Payments: Visa, PayPal, Cash, Gift Cards
  • Catalog: How do we organize and search our products
  • Cart: How does the cart mechanism work? Persistent? Across devices? Wish Lists? Quick Picks?
  • Check Out: The entire checkout and fulfillment process

A word about Frameworks

There are many products or suites that call themselves frameworks the reality is that there are few customers that can use these "out of the box" without some significant customization. Often these products do one or more functions really well, and others less well. It is the rare product that even has all of the business functionality in any form for a specific customer’s situation, much less that is a good fit to the requirements.

This is a reflection of our observation over the years that there is no one approach, no "one size fits all" tool for B2C ecommerce.

Organizations have found success by carefully thinking about what are the most important aspects of their user’s experience, the exact nature of the products to be sold, drivers such as COOP, merchandising spiffs, etc., required ERP integration, the existence of customer service or other order support software, and other business drivers.

The advice we have is to value business requirements first, rather than take a product first approach.

A Few B2C areas to consider

  • Catalog/Search/CrossSell/Upsell --> Like Endeca, DieselPoint, Autonomy, Siderean,...
  • Performance/Edge Cache --> Like Akami, ATT&T or Azure
  • Carting/Checkout --> DashCommerce, aspdotnetstorefront, vevocart, .netcart
  • Payment --> Many carting solutions include payment gateway integration
  • Content Management --> Umbraco, SiteFinity, SiteCore,...
  • On-Web Customer Service Chat --> LivePerson, and so on
  • Tracking/Effectiveness measurement --> Google Analytics, Mbox {Was Omniture}, ForeSee, BizRate, ...
  • Shipping Support --> UPS, FedEx, etc.
  • Tax --> Intuit, Avalra, etc.
  • Ads --> Google Ad Words, DoubleClick, ...
  • etc.

Bottom line: Get some good advice and help...

Blog ID: 2012 09-25_Blog_133