I believe Episerver is a better choice than Magento for B2B companies looking to grow strategically.
There is no denying that Magento is a strong player in the ecommerce market. Magento has significant market share and a large community of developers. Magento Enterprise has strong ecommerce functionality. It can be customized to meet a variety of needs, and it offers a marketplace of extensions that enable you to enhance your store with functionality that has already been developed by others.
So why not choose Magento? I believe that a platform needs to meet the needs of all parties involved. So let’s look at this from a few different points of view:
For Marketers: Content marketing is known as the most popular and most effective tactic for B2B marketers. (Source: Forrester). Content builds relationships. Relationships are critical in the world of B2B ecommerce. Magento is not a Content Management System. Can you edit content in it? Sure. Is it built for marketers strategically using content to grow their business? No. To leverage content with Magento you will likely use extensions with limited content capabilities, or you will stand up another web platform next to it.
For IT: Extensions may have conflicts with one another. Extensions may not be compatible with your next upgrade. As you customize Magento for your company’s needs, you will increase the costs to maintain and upgrade it in the future. Your team will need to provide technical support for multiple platforms due to the fact that your company will need other tools to handle content, intranets and other web portals.
For End Users: The user experience will be limited by the platform. Improvements in the user experience increase technical debt, increasing the costs of maintaining the system overall. Assuming another platform is being used to handle content, users will likely see a disconnect between the content and commerce. This may evidence itself in the following ways: menu navigation changes between the commerce site and content site, marketing content doesn’t lead users into related products, search results won’t bring back products and content; or multiple logins may be needed to interact with access to company resources.
For Business Owners: Magento Enterprise’s licensing is revenue-based. While there can be a rationale for this, as a business owner myself, I don’t like it. A major selling point of ecommerce is enabling companies to leverage ecommerce for profitable growth. As you increase your revenue, I would rather not be giving that up to my ecommerce platform. In addition, maintaining customizations and managing extensions through upgrades will be labor intensive. Instead of using development dollars to innovate, you end up using development dollars to keep your platform alive.
For Marketers: Episerver was created around content management and offers powerful marketing capabilities that are intuitive to maintain. Episerver is in its third year as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management, and it is one of only 2 vendors in the top 10 (with Oracle) of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce that offer native web content management capabilities. Episerver’s best-of-breed approach supports connections with leading marketing platforms, like Marketo, Salesforce (CRM and Marketing Cloud), IBM Marketing Cloud (Silverpop), Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle Eloqua and Hubspot. In addition, Episerver’s focus on leveraging machine learning to personalize the user experience means less work for marketers with better results.
For IT: You can build every web platform your company needs on Episerver (public site, distributor site, vendor portal, etc.). With fewer systems to maintain, your job becomes easier. Episerver offers cloud and on-premise licensing options, offering you the ability to select the path that makes the most sense for you. Episerver’s API enables other company applications to be driven from the data stored in Episerver. Your developers will love the architecture of Episerver. The product is technically elegant, which is one of the reasons our developers love Episerver.
For End Users: Episerver’s personalization features (i.e. visitor groups, personalized product recommendations, and personalized search results) give users an experience that was built just for them – with minimal maintenance time for your marketing and development teams. Even better, you can design the experience that will be best for your user, not starting from what already exists on a given platform or extension, but simply considering what interface will be best for them. The technology gives freedom to user experience design.
For Business Owners: Upgrade costs are minimized through a strong technical architecture. You spend money on functionality that drives revenue instead of keeping your platform alive. Episerver is a platform that enables you to innovate and to compete strategically. You are no longer simply matching the functionality that your online competition is offering, you are offering your customers resources and tools that no one else does that cause them to return to you again and again.
Amazon is a disruptor. While this was first most noticeable in retail, it is increasingly impacting B2B markets as well. B2B has an advantage as compared to retail because the buying process is more complex. This makes it more difficult to recreate online. Difficult, but certainly not impossible. Amazon Business is competing for B2B business as well.
At the end of the day, no one can out-Amazon Amazon. If you want to compete through online commerce, you need to think about how to play the game differently. I believe that content is one of the key strategies for doing that. How do you believe you can use the web to compete in a new way? If content will play a role in your strategy, I would recommend including Episerver in your platform research.
About Lori McDonald
Lori is the President and CEO of Brilliance Business Solutions. Lori graduated from Purdue University with a BS in Computer-Electrical Engineering. Before starting Brilliance, Lori worked at NASA – Johnson Space Center on the Instrumentation and Communications Officer Space Shuttle flight control team and worked space shuttle missions as a certified DATACOMM. In 1998, Lori started Brilliance with a focus on using Microsoft based technologies to solve complex problems and enable customers to realize untapped potential. Lori is a regular contributor on Practical Ecommerce on the topic of B2B ecommerce. Last year she jointly presented the webinar, ‘Making Peace Between IT and Marketing through Better Ecommerce’ with David Bowen from Episerver.
About Brilliance Business Solutions
Brilliance has been in business since 1998 and is an Episerver Premium Partner. Based on our experience with Episerver, we built a product – Catalyst for Episerver – that enables the more efficient development of Commerce sites on Episerver. One of our Episerver clients was a finalist for Internet Retailers B2B E-commerce Player of the Year. We are a Microsoft Silver Certified Partner.
President and CEO, Brilliance Business Solutions
This guide examines the entire customer journey to show how each step along the way can be optimized for better results. Episerver’s built-in features make the process even easier.