The Shifting e-Commerce Marketplace

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Any business seeking an e-commerce solution would find plenty of potential suppliers. Bridgeline Digital, Channel Intelligence, Demandware Infopia IBM, Jagged Peak, Jenzabar, NetSuite, Microsoft, Oracle, and Volusion are some of the vendors offering such solutions. While many of those companies have been in the e-commerce market for more than a decade, others—especially a few of the larger companies—are neophytes whose entry came from recent acquisitions.

In March, eBay acquired GSI Commerce for about $2.4 billion. As the auction and SMB focus of eBay and PayPal began to plateau, eBay realized that its future growth must come from other markets. In addition to e-commerce, the company has moved aggressively into mobile commerce by purchasing RedLaser, Milo, and CriticalPath.

In November 2010, Oracle acquired Art Technology Group, another leading e-commerce software provider, for about $1 billion. The acquisition was designed to fill a product line void: “Oracle’s previous e-commerce solution did not offer as much functionality as competitive solutions,” notes Sucharita Mulpuru, a vice president at Forrester.

Suppliers are trying to keep pace with or even get ahead of a quick-moving market. “One change we have noticed recently is more of a vertical and less of
a horizontal focus from vendors,” notes Gene Alvarez, a vice president at Gartner CRM Research.

One example is Jenzabar, which has been developing a suite of business applications for higher-education institutions. In January, the company acquired Allurent—and, ironically, Allurent founder Joe Chung had launched ART in 1991 before founding a second e-commerce company in 2004.
In sum, corporations can find lots of options when looking for an e-commerce solution. However, the marketplace is in the throes of turbulent times. Consequently, the vendor that they deal with today may look quite different tomorrow.

Paul Korzeniowski is a freelance writer who specializes in technology issues. He can be reached at paulkorzen@aol.com.

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