SaaS players: DemandWare, NetSuite, Venda
Another emerging trend in e-commerce is the variety of vendors turning their attention exclusively to subscription-based models. Alvarez grouped his three biggest SaaS players -- DemandWare, NetSuite, and Venda -- in the "visionaries" section of Gartner's Magic Quadrant. And while he said all three companies have much in common, a few minor differences can be found among the vendors.
DemandWare's eCommerce Platform sports an easy to navigate UI for organizations looking to manage their product catalogues. IT administrators will also feature SEO functionality built into this catalogue management.
"DemandWare is making a name for itself through customizability of the consumer facing user interface," Walker said. "It's also relatively quick for implementations. It's definitely targeting larger e-commerce organizations with the product."
Alvarez said the company's site management tool will also come in handy for administrators looking to make changes to the e-commerce system without having to depend on DemandWare for support. His only word of caution was with the company's revenue share pricing approach.
"The more successful they are at running your site, the more you pay them," he said. "It's great at the beginning, but as you start to generate more sales, it might become an issue."
At NetSuite, the company's e-commerce platform strives to provide all the core e-commerce capabilities of the bigger players in a SaaS package. This includes check-out, shopping cart, product catalogue, inventory management, product comparison and UPS/Fed Ex shipping functionality.
"It's a system that manages not just the Web site, but also the accounting, order management, warehouse management, marketing and customer support aspects of a business across both online and offline channels," Baruch Goldwasser, e-commerce subject matter expert at the vendor, said.
Alvarez said that NetSuite is geared to small organizations that wouldn't have the IT capabilities to utilize some of the bigger e-commerce software platforms. Walker agreed with his Gartner counterpart that NetSuite is strongly positioned in the SMB market, but warned that the tool is largely unsuitable for larger organizations
"It's really focused on the SMB market using it for B2B selling," the Forrester analyst said. "So it's not really proven as a B2C solution for medium-to-large organizations."