More than half of e-commerce platforms won’t be fit for purpose next year, Wunderman Thompson Commerce reveals

New research by Wunderman Thompson Commerce has revealed that over half (57%) of businesses believe their current commerce platform will only support them for the next 12 months.

With online purchasing skyrocketing during lockdown, e-commerce systems were under more pressure than ever before. According to the “Headless, Microservices and The Future of Commerce Platforms” report, this increased activity has left many UK organisations concerned that their digital infrastructure demands a rapid upgrade. 

This lack of confidence has been felt acutely amongst heads of IT and CIOs, with almost two-thirds (64%) believing that their e-commerce platform should be updated in the next 12 months – a sentiment that was also echoed by nearly half (49%) of heads of digital and e-commerce.

Essential changes for critical times

Organisations are now embarking on a quest for eCommerce modernisation, with a focus on four technologies – Headless, Microservices, API-first and Cloud-native – to enable them to quickly pivot operations and evolve their digital offering in line with consumer demand.

Top of the shopping list is scalability, with 84% of respondents keen to invest in a platform that is capable of growing to support their organisation’s ambitions. Elsewhere, the same number (84%) wanted something easy to integrate, while reliability and stability (83%), and ease of customisation (81%) were also major considerations.

But with the timeframe for businesses planning to implement these new technologies averaging 7.4 months, time is running out for organisations to get their digital house in order.

Organisations also recognise they can’t do it all themselves; with 80% of respondents admitting they would want to work with an experienced technology delivery partner to better leverage their current eCommerce platform or to help them move to a more modern architecture.

Glen Burson, chief technology officer EMEA, said: “Global commerce has never seen anything quite like the COVID-19 pandemic and it is little surprise that the way businesses operate has been upended. Between lockdown restrictions, social distancing measures and consumers feeling uneasy about the prospect of visiting physical stores, the outbreak has accelerated purchasing through online channels.

“For organisations looking to retain and even boost the sales and brand awareness they had pre-COVID-19, now is the time to update their digital platforms and make sure their commerce engine and architecture is as effective and future-ready as possible. In the current environment, complacency towards the continually growing demand for digital channels poses the greatest threat to business.”

New world, new technology

But there’s hope yet – and for most businesses, it comes in the shape of Headless and Microservices. In fact, almost all (99%) organisations already have plans in place to adopt the Headless, Microservices, API-first and Cloud-native technologies needed to ensure their online channels are fit for purpose.

A further two-thirds (67%) of respondents recognise a Microservices approach as a good fit for their business now – a number that jumped to three-quarters (75%) when considering it as an approach in the future.

Not only that but nearly a third (32%) of CEOs and heads of IT agreed strongly that they should be moving to Microservices now in order to future-proof their online channels. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, organisations need to be able to pivot and make changes to their digital channels in real-time, and Microservices – alongside Headless, API-first and Cloud-native – allow organisations to do just that.

In a digital environment that’s been fast-tracked by changing demand during lockdown, it’s reassuring that four in five respondents (81%) rated their understanding of the four key e-commerce technologies as either strong (28%) or solid (53%). Furthermore, 30% of companies are already using Headless tech in their digital commerce platform.

Although the fightback is well underway, the pandemic is far from beaten. And with an expected second wave, as well as the continued use of lockdowns – both national and local – online sales will continue to grow. The key lesson organisations can take from the last four months in lockdown is that these new technologies offer them the freedom and flexibility to customise their e-commerce platform as the needs of their businesses – and the consumer – require.