Now halfway through its second decade, the world of e-commerce continues to evolve, at least according to the newly expanded parameters used by research firm Gartner in its Magic Quadrant for E-Commerce. A whopping nine new companies join the field this year, a result that report author Gene Alvarez, who is also the firm's vice president of e-commerce and CRM, credits to the inclusion of companies offering software-as-a-service and the increasing “consumerization” of B2B e-commerce offerings.
“More business users want a business-to-consumer type of experience,” Alvarez says. “They see that consumers can get product reviews and visualization tools to see the product from different angles. They want the same tools for B2B.”
Companies doing the best job of providing that level of interaction -- and listed as Leaders in the Magic Quadrant -- were IBM WebSphere Commerce and ATG. IBM’s e-commerce offering -- slightly outpacing ATG in terms of its ability to execute anf the completeness of its vision -- provides a wide variety of capabilities out of the box, Alvarez says, as well as extended capabilities and Web 2.0 features. The product also offers multisite management capability that many firms are seeking.
ATG consistently appears on clients’ shortlists, according to Alvarez. The company closes deals because it has shown it can deliver an e-commerce solution with strong personalization, shopping-cart management, product catalogue, and other core operational e-commerce components.
While IBM and ATG are repeat performers, several vendors are making their first appearance in the report this year, including the following companies grouped in Gartner's Niche Players quadrant:
- Access Commerce;
- MarketLive; and
Those vendors join other Niche Players in this year's report:
- Click Commerce;
- Intershop; and
- Macrovision Solutions.
Another newcomer, GSI Commerce, landed in the Challengers segment along with these other vendors, some of which are CRM industry heavyweights:
- Digital River;
- SAP; and
- Sterling Commerce (which acquired -- and takes the place of -- Comergent Technologies).
The final three new companies this year make up the full complement of Gartner's Visionaries quadrant:
- NetSuite; and
All nine new vendors demonstrated active market participation or have garnered interest from Gartner clients through inquiries and inclusions on long- or shortlists of vendors engaged in requests for information or proposals. They also had to have more than 40 production customers for e-commerce functionality, and more than 1,000 transactions. Companies also had to have better product/service performance than a year ago, with the minimum qualification for entry shifting from "standard" performance to "high" -- a reflection, Alvarez says, of the fact that e-commerce client requirements for quality and capability (and their expectations of new functions) have risen.
There are about 100 companies serving this market, according to Alvarez -- which means there could be another new group of companies next year. However, in order to make the cut, they’ll likely have to meet a new set of criteria in terms of transactions, customers, and product functionality. Alvarez says he would soon be devising the formula for qualifying companies for next year’s report.
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