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Breaking news: Enterprise software does not have to suck

January 11, 2024

Commerce moves fast. Like all merchants, enterprises are trying to keep up. But there’s one big problem getting in their way: The software many of them rely on is an unwieldy monster.

To better understand what enterprises are dealing with, we partnered with the International Data Corporation (IDC) to survey 1,000 of them.

TL;DR: Most are thinking about upgrading their commerce platform, if they’re not already. But they have no patience for implementations that drag onnnnnnnn and on, and they have zero tolerance for costs that run out of control.

  • 67% are at least considering changing their commerce platform in the next three years, but nearly as many (61%) said the cost of implementing new tech will be tough
  • 94% said a timely implementation is important
  • 67% cited ease of use as one of the top things they value in a commerce platform

That’s a lot of math to say: Speed and simplicity matter.

That’s why Shopify is the retail operating system behind some of the most trusted brands on the planet. Since our inception, Shopify has powered over a half trillion dollars in global commerce. We drive revenue for millions of merchants in more than 175 countries. We’re an industry leader in digital commerce (hey, Gartner said it, not us!).

The largest, most complex businesses rely on Shopify for our speed, flexibility, and scalability.

Why flexibility matters now

For the past few years, fully composable solutions – which let you design your tech stack with unique components and modules – were viewed as the holy grail. It’s easy enough to see the curb appeal: in theory, you get massive flexibility and the ability to customize your tech exactly how you want it.

But that can also bring tons of unnecessary complexity. It no longer feels so flexible when you need to coordinate and navigate so many moving parts, especially when they come from different software vendors. This is brutal for operational flow, requiring internal tech leaders with niche expertise to design architecture and then execute it.

We’ve talked to a lot of enterprises who are several quarters into a fully customized build, and the story is always the same: they’re over budget, with no finish line in sight. When they choose to replatform to Shopify, often they still get to market faster than if they’d seen the initial project through.

The sweet spot for enterprises is optionality

When it comes to enterprise SaaS, there’s a clear winner when you look at the data. Of the enterprises we surveyed:

  • 27% are fully headless and modular, using a mix of modules and apps from different vendors
  • 29% have a full-stack platform; an all-in-one solution
  • 45% have a composable front-end and a full-stack back-end; the perfect blend

That last bullet, the blended model as we call it, is the sweet spot for most businesses. It delivers fast time to market, better customer experience, and cost effectiveness—without solely relying on in-house expertise. And cost effectiveness is a must-have: 91% of enterprises on average said low total cost of ownership is important when changing to headless, hybrid, or full-stack.

Take Everlane, for example. Their composable front-end allows them to integrate with Shop Pay, the world’s best converting accelerated checkout, while keeping their existing back-end stack. But look: what’s right for one enterprise isn’t necessarily the ideal fit for another. Shopify gives enterprises endless ways to build, whether that’s full platform, headless, or modular. 

Optionality doesn’t end with our product. Our ecosystem of trusted Shopify Partners was built to provide all the choice you could possibly need. And it's growing: We're now available on Google Cloud Marketplace, which allows enterprises to benefit from flexible billing models. And we're integrating with Manhattan, a supply chain commerce leader, to streamline order fulfillment operations for merchants.

We're also partnering with Mirakl to help retailers easily operate a marketplace while running enterprise commerce on Shopify, and with global business and technology consulting firm Slalom. These partnerships further solidify our position as a preferred technology provider for various industries.

A platform that scales with your enterprise

One last insight from our research: Enterprises need a platform powerful enough to grow with them. A lack of technology scalability was the second most common internal challenge they cited (31%), behind a lack of digital skills (38%).

That’s why more of them are putting their trust in Shopify as we expand our enterprise offering in 2024. We can talk about the recognition we’ve received and the sheer volume of global commerce that we power. But behind all that is world-class performance, with 99.9%+ uptime and dedicated technical account management. There’s no amount of checkout traffic you can generate that we can’t handle—we’ve done 40,000 checkouts per minute with ease.

"Everlane's trust in Shopify is rooted in their uptime and ability to scale," says Can Agaoglu, Director of Engineering at Everlane. "This reliability ensures our online operations are smooth and uninterrupted, which is important for maintaining our customer trust and loyalty."

Yes, enterprises are battling some hefty challenges. But your SaaS doesn’t have to suck, and your tech should leapfrog you forward, not hold you back.

Commerce moves fast. And Shopify moves faster.

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