Running an ecommerce business has become as challenging as driving a sports car on a winding hill. You need to change gears to maintain momentum and anticipate what’s coming ahead of you around the curve. In fact, post-pandemic, we have entered a new era of commerce, where brands need to be technologically mature to meet rising customer expectations.
Over the last decade, small and medium businesses have had to depend on marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra to sell their products where they had to cough up huge commissions making the entire process an expensive affair. To build their own brand websites, businesses had to depend upon the enterprise platforms like SAP Hybris, Salesforce Commerce and in the process spend millions of dollars on implementing / running it and 18-24 months to get to the market. And if they had to build and maintain their own ecommerce platform, it was a totally different ballgame! They would have to make use of various third-party tools and plugins and such a piecemeal approach would just add to the complexities of running the business.
In 2015, when Vikram Saxena, Founder, BetterCommerce found out the many challenges that current ecommerce solutions posed for mid-market retailers, he decided to leverage his enterprise software experience to build an omnichannel and unified commerce platform that would bestow the power of large-scale enterprises to mid-size retailers. This laid the foundation of BetterCommerce, an end-to-end digital commerce platform with an API-first approach.
“Our modules: PIM, ecommerce, CMS, OMS, Analytics and Engage cover a wide array of ecommerce use cases that growing retailers want to plug at various stages of the journey. With BetterCommerce, we want to offer solutions to their ground level problems rather than offering fancily packaged features in a software, and hence, we offer much more out-of-the-box lowering the overall TCO and time to market for aspiring retailers,” explains Vikram.
The platform is headless, which allows users to make limitless customizations at the front-end / customer touchpoints without making any changes to the backend. This empowers retailers to achieve unified shopping experiences across all customer touchpoints and puts them in control of their customer experience.
It is designed to scale as required without compromising on speed. The BetterCommerce storefront is optimized for Google Web Vitals and performance to match global standards. It provides a modular approach allowing retailers and brands to solve their specific commerce challenges in their journey at their own pace. This means a retailer can just use the PIM to solve product information management use cases and integrate the solution with their current stack and evolve their solution stack as the business grows.
What’s more, BetterCommerce can be used to achieve true omnichannel experiences using one end-to-end platform across multiple customer touchpoints, which currently is achieved using disparate point technologies.
Headless commerce for the Indian market
The global market has evolved when it comes to technology adoption. Headless commerce has already become passé and composable commerce is the new buzz around high street and other markets. However, in India, headless itself as a concept is new. Indian companies rely very heavily on older technologies for growing commerce companies such as Shopify or WooCommerce and have found a way to build custom solutions around it.
One of the reasons for the advancement of technologies in the western world is due to the D2C adoption. The revenue distribution of a brand through its online brand stores is mostly more than the revenue generated from marketplaces like Amazon, etc. However, in India, 80-95 percent of the digital revenue is still contributed by marketplaces for most brands. Hence, there is less focus on technology adoption. However, the change has already begun, and as the D2C ecosystem evolves and becomes more mature, it would bring the focus on delivering superior customer experience, which will also push direct sales further. This, in turn, will motivate businesses to invest more in technology to deliver a seamless experience for their end-consumers.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about demand and supply. The customer would expect brands to be present across all touchpoints with a consistent offer or message that helps them to connect to a brand story. For brands, it is high time that they invest more in technology rather than just marketing to break the revenue ceiling and achieve higher brand loyalty and market share,” Vikram believes.
Scale and reach
BetterCommerce, a UK-registered entity, has customers ranging from £5M to £100M GMV. The platform has been able to serve most of the digital commerce strategy as a technology partner for its clients. After investing 3-4 years in product development and then 2-3 years of operations in the UK, Vikram decided to launch the product in India.
“We have been able to achieve 28 percent YoY growth and have reached $1M ARR as of 2022,” he claims. In fact, the startup has signed up its first customer in India and they are expected to go live very soon. BetterCommerce has also been recognized as a representative vendor in the Gartner 2022 Market Guide for Product Information Solutions.
BetterCommerce has an operational centre in Noida with operations spreading across Mumbai and very soon in Bengaluru to target mid-size retailers generating INR 30 crore and above revenue through digital channels. “We are confident that in the next three years, more brands will move their focus from the marketplace to a more balanced and connected commerce approach to breaking the revenue ceilings. The new generation of ecommerce in India will witness use cases like omnichannel through one platform, endless aisle, cross-border sales and much more,” he forecasts.
The startup aims to simplify and accelerate technology adoption for growing retailers and bring enterprise technology to mid-market retailers without the need for an enterprise budget. With projections to grow 5X in the next two years, BetterCommerce aims to launch into newer markets and create a sustainable and value-based partner ecosystem that is aligned with mid-market retailers.