Alan Veuve of AOE on the current state of e-commerce technology:
One can observe an incredible demand for E-Commerce solutions in the market. This has been going on for years. And one would think this would bring with it a large number of new players and intense competition. This hasn’t happened by any stretch of the imagination. If one subtracts all of the marketing speak what remains is a certain stasis. Basically, not much has changed during the past eight years. Those that are paying the bill are the companies that want to carry out E-Commerce. An urgent plea for a paradigm shift. (…)
Compared to the usage of the Internet the growth of E-Commerce is moving along far too slowly. I maintain that the reason for this is that we, as E-Commerce operators, are far to fixated on building an “online shop” to carry out E-Commerce. What is ignored is the customer experience, something we find ok only because “that is how everyone else does it” and because we don’t know any better.
There is certainly a growing need for more agile, flexible solutions. The push to mobile is only one of many drivers. Other coming drivers include TV, voice interfaces like Echo or connected devices as a whole (The Internet of Things). There is a multitude of new ways of interacting and making transactions coming. More and more of these new ways will be available simultaneously and be used seamlessly by a lot of customers. (like mobile and desktop today) But even without these drivers in mind, the need for more customer centric solutions is growing.
On the other side marketplaces from big online retailers like Amazon and Zalando, and big marketplaces/platforms like Alibaba, WeChat and Rakuten are offering richer and richer environments for small and mid-tier merchants and, lest not forget, manufacturers.
So API-driven solutions that make it easier to integrate different front ends (or integrations into existing platforms) are needed more than ever. A framework like Spryker can be one solution. Hamburg based (very young) sleekshop may be another with its API-based system. Moltin, another API-centric commerce startup form the UK, recently raised $2 million. Venturebeat:
Backed by Frontline Ventures, venture capitalist Gil Dibner’s AngelList Syndicate, Y Combinator, and Funders Club, Moltin will be using the investment to establish partnerships with global brands and to further develop its technology. The company already counts over 5,400 developers and agencies using its platform.
Moltin has stated that it’s challenging efforts by payment providers Shopify and Magento within the ecommerce space. But what’s the appeal of this startup? Company cofounder Adam Sturrock told VentureBeat: “The ecommerce technology space is still plagued with huge problems despite the number of players – which is indicative of a market that hasn’t had it’s issues truly solved yet.”
“We’ve solved that problem in a really simple way, and it means building for websites, apps, even virtual or augmented reality is simple, and practically identical, no matter which technology you choose,” he continued.
Solutions als may come from surprising players. Payment provider Stripe recently launched Relay for easy integration into apps and platforms. (“Let customers buy your products directly within other mobile apps.”)