Why Best-of-Breed isn’t Always the Best. A Strategy Guide for Merchants
eCommerce is always evolving, and we meet a constantly growing number of merchants who are contemplating a move from monolithic vendors to a more flexible and scalable composable eCommerce stack. The idea of having a "best-of-breed" approach—picking the best vendor for each component—often tempts decision-makers. However, this might not be the most effective way to utilize the potential of a composable eCommerce stack.
The Misconception: Best-of-Breed Isn’t Always the Best
The phrase "best-of-breed" implies that you are choosing the most outstanding vendor for each specific function or component. While this might sound like an optimal approach, it ignores the intrinsic value of a composable architecture: customization.
In a composable setup, technology serves as a tool to help your business overcome challenges and accomplish objectives. Therefore, the focus should be on how well the technology fits into your overarching strategy rather than simply how well it performs in isolation.
Setting Your Strategy and Vision
Before you begin comparing vendors or technologies, it’s crucial to set your strategy and vision for the future. This involves asking a set of questions that can guide your choice of technology and partners.
1. Are we set for growth in the coming years, and what type?
- Understanding your growth model can help you identify what kind of scalability you'll need.
2. What is our level of technical maturity?
- Your current technical expertise, in terms of both end-users and custom development expertise, will inform whether you should opt for a plug-and-play solution or something more customizable.
3. What should we do ourselves vs. what should we buy?
- Recognize your core competencies and decide which operations could be outsourced or purchased.
4. What is working well today?
- Knowing your strengths can help you understand which areas don't require immediate attention. Or may serve as foundational building blocks to your future stack.
5. What is not working well today?
- Identifying bottlenecks or inefficiencies can help you prioritize what to tackle first when moving to a new system.
6. Where do I get the most bang for the buck?
- Smart investment in areas with high return potential can set the stage for early victories. For example, by focusing on a system that simplifies integration and maximizes efficiency, significant cost savings can be achieved early on.
By answering these questions, you'll establish a set of guiding principles tailored to your business. These principles act as a roadmap that can be used to measure the suitability of different vendors and technologies.
Vendor Evaluation Based on Guiding Principles
Once you have your guiding principles in hand, evaluate vendors not just on the capabilities of their solutions but on how well they align with your business goals. Look for vendors who can serve as partners in achieving your vision rather than just service providers.
Moving to a composable eCommerce stack should be a strategic decision grounded in a comprehensive understanding of your business needs and long-term objectives. By focusing on your unique requirements rather than just looking for the best-of-breed solutions, you’ll be better positioned to create an eCommerce stack that not only performs well but also propels your business toward your vision.
By setting your guiding principles and aligning them with your vendor selection, you're not merely buying technology; you're investing in the future success of your business.