For most brands today, growth is a positive thing — at least it should be. But more often than not, rapidly scaling companies find they are faced with new complexities as they grow. Whether scaling on WooCommerce, or a different ecommerce platform, it isn't uncommon for businesses to encounter challenges they never expected to navigate when they were just starting out, or achieving their first growth milestones.
At Bold we champion enterprise growth, and take pride in partnering with like-minded brands who also help enterprise brands solve the complexities of scaling. At a recent event we brought together digital leaders from Vertex, Crowd Favorite, and Bold with the goal of sharing specialized knowledge, and addressing the challenges involved in sustainable enterprise growth.
Clockwise: Shannon Kelly, Channel Marketing Manager, Vertex Inc.; Yvan Boisjoli, CEO, Co-Founder, Bold Commerce; Mike Sanchez, CRO, Bold Commerce; Karim Marucchi, CEO, Crowd Favorite.
One theme that continually surfaced was the idea of solving the complexities of scaling businesses using a best-in-breed approach. Whether you call it modular or composable commerce, it refers to the strategy of hand picking the most elite, specialized microservices for your tech stack, rather than relying on one platform for everything.
Here are some key takeaways for enterprise brands embracing a best-in-breed approach to expansion:
1. There's no one-size-fits-all solution for scaling brands
Every brand is different. From storage and logistics, to location and fulfillment, the complexities that arise from years of building and scaling a business play into the unique challenges and complexities they will face. There is no single platform that is going to solve every situation for every brand.
The key for scaling brands is to understand the complexities of their business and then speak to the right professional or partner who can unravel them and find the right solution. Businesses that are willing to embrace change, try new approaches, and find the right partner for each problem are finding opportunities to streamline their business and be more successful.
“The idea that you can build a one-size-fits-all platform that will solve every situation for every brand… there’s no way you can do that.” – Yvan Boisjoli, CEO, Bold Commerce
2. Choose the right expert for the each problem
One of the challenges facing scaling enterprise brands is trying to forecast an expanded customer base. This involves trying to come up with features and functionality for an expanded audience that doesn’t exist yet. Though it might be tempting to scale with a one-size-fits-all platform, the key to navigating this uncertainty lies in choosing the right partners.
Even the best ecommerce platforms on the planet are not experts in every business problem you might face; your platform should be focused on your businesses growth, not managing your tax concerns. The key for brands is to find a best-in-breed roster of experts for each particular business problem that work well together. Many brands are finding success in this modular or composable approach to commerce.
“We work with some of the best ecommerce platforms on the planet, but those platforms don’t focus on tax, they shouldn’t be expected to focus on tax.” – Shannon Kelly, Channel Marketing Manager, Vertex Inc.
3. Avoid a costly replatforming by gradually going best-in-breed
Legacy ecommerce platforms were designed for yesterday’s needs. For a business that has scaled on a particular platform over the past decade, the idea of dropping everything and finding a modern platform that solves today’s problems is daunting. And understandably so. Traditionally, replatforming could take several years, cost a lot of company resources, and be seen as a bit of a shot in the dark in terms of hoping a major investment will be the right choice.
The best-in-breed approach takes the anxiety out of replatforming by allowing brands to gradually rebuild their tech stack by picking individual pieces to address specific needs. In fact, if you’re the Chief Technologist at an enterprise company, this curated approach can be a game changer as integrations and updates can be up and running in months rather than years, and for a fraction of the cost. Best-in-breed is all about picking the right solution to solve a specific problem, rather than overhauling an entire system all at once.
“Replatforming shouldn’t be an every 10 years I’m going to upgrade it, it should be every year or two I’m upgrading a piece of my business.” – Yvan Boisjoli, CEO, Bold Commerce
4. Combine open source and SAAS for the best of both worlds
Platforms like open-source commerce king, WooCommerce, were originally built for a small-to- medium-business market. They were not built for large, scaling enterprises. However, organizations like Crowd Favorite, Bold Commerce, and Vertex Inc. have emerged to provide customizability and scalability for WooCommerce brands, some of which are doing sales volumes that rival even the biggest companies on monolithic platforms.
Marucchi, CEO of Crowd Favorite, encourages brands to combine open source and SAAS to achieve the best of both worlds: open source for its flexibility, customizability, nimbleness, and SAAS for powerful integrations that allow a platform like WooCommerce to scale quickly by leaving the heavy lifting to the expert in each field. For example, by bringing in a Vertex integration for taxes, Crowd Favorite for creating powerful digital experiences, and Bold for subscriptions, checkout, and pricing, suddenly a WooCommerce brand has some serious room for growth in the enterprise space.
This approach lets you solve for today’s business problems, without requiring a costly and disruptive replatforming process.
“Think of your open source or CMS as a hub that spokes out to best-in-breed SAAS systems that are experts in everything you need — you can have both.” – Karim Marucchi, CEO, Crowd Favorite.
5. Consider adding a subscription
The subscription industry is booming. According to a report by the Subscription Trade Association (SUBTA), 75% of DTC retailers will offer subscriptions by 2023.
Access key findings and insights from over 800 winning subscription brands.
Boisjoli, Bold, thinks the technology has evolved to the point where most brands today should be at least thinking about the subscription model. As brands are challenged with winning over loyal customers in today’s competitive landscape, there are opportunities within the subscription model to build long-term relationships with customers.
The brands that are winning at subscriptions are going beyond the initial purchase, or even the initial subscription purchase. They are approaching commerce with a membership mindset, finding new ways to continuously add value to their customers’ lives.
The good news for scaling WooCommerce brands — integrating subscriptions into WooCommerce has never been easier.
Find out what these industry leading beauty brands are doing to increase subscription loyalty.
“The content in commerce is all about creating that relationship with your buyers. The best brands out there are doing it in multiple ways, and are less about one time buys, more about winning those customers for life.” – Mike Sanchez, CRO, Bold Commerce.
Before we wrap, here are some final thoughts from our contributors on how to pick your best-in-breed roster of technology partners to help scale your brand:
“Find a roster of great partners who are going to collaborate and help you drive success in your business, that care about your business as much as their solution and lean on those people to make sure you have a best-in-breed ecommerce platform that’s doing everything you need in order to scale.” – Shannon Kelly, Channel Marketing Manager, Vertex Inc.
“Choose technology partners that are as excited about your success as you are theirs. The best relationships we have at Bold are the ones where we push brands and they push us.” – Yvan Boisjoli, CEO, Bold Commerce
“Don’t try to build technology that’s already built, focus on going out and building relationships.” – Mike Sanchez, CFO, Bold Commerce
“Talk to everyone about the partners they're going to bring in. Find out what problems they have solved in the past, what the experience was like working with them, who was responsible for what — you’ll quickly find out which partners are actually really excited to be there.” – Karim Marucchi, CEO, Crowd Favorite.
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Special thanks to our friends at Bold Commerce for their insights on this topic.