If it’s true that keeping loyal customers is less expensive than finding new ones, then providers of e-commerce software are in a good place. A survey of more than 100 software buyers from wide range of Internet sellers conducted by Capterra, a business software review site, found 89% of them satisfied with the platforms powering their Web businesses.
More than a third of retailers surveyed have been using their current platforms for the past two to five years, and cost of the software was fourth on their list of considerations after functionality, ease of use, and supplier reputation. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed say they’ve never switched software platforms. The stability of the e-com software marketplace is most likely due to the fact that Internet retailing is a relatively new phenomenon.
“For retailers with Web storefronts, it can be intimidating to switch. E-com software wasn’t really mainstream until 2007; then the recession hit, so there were a lot of stores that came online in 2009,” says Cara Wood, an e-commerce software specialist for Capterra, which follows some 300 different software categories.
The software programs also tend to be self-categorized by business size. IBM Websphere is far and away the choice of larger enterprises. It’s used by half of companies in the $750 million to $1 billion revenue range and a third of those doing more than $1 billion in sales. Shopify, which helps newbies set up and design commerce sites in a day for fees as low as $300 a year, has 32% of the business of operations doing less than $1 million in sales. The third leading supplier, Big Commerce, is heralded for site optimization and has a strong presence across companies of all sizes.
An odd non-result of Capterra’s survey is that no one mentioned using Magento, long a fixture on the e-commerce SaaS scene. “That surprised me, too,” Wood says. “Magento is an open platform and harder to use. Those surveyed were mostly using hosted platforms.”
Blogging is the most used feature of software that the survey respondents use, with 97% saying they were active bloggers. The next most popular features were social buying programs and drag-and-drop editing systems.
The least-used feature was live chat. A third of respondents said they never used it at all. “It’s shocking that 33 percent of people aren’t using that feature, because it’s known to have an incredible ROI,” Wood says. “Realistically, though, live chat requires manpower, and some Internet retail companies don’t have a lot of people.”