The pandemic made it immediately and poignantly clear that every company in every industry needs a robust omnichannel commerce strategy and set of capabilities. But your specific needs depend greatly on your industry, business model, e-commerce history, and priorities.

  • Consumers want full-journey, omnichannel experiences. This requires a common strategy and toolkit; increasingly, a real-time customer data platform acts as the glue that ties it all together.
  • Enterprises with mature commerce presences need to rapidly spin up new capabilities and scale. This usually means replatforming in the cloud or moving to a headless architecture.
  • Manufacturers are establishing direct-to-consumer (DTC) and subscription businesses. This might mean unique products and often a leap into new platforms and business models.
  • Marketplaces change your commerce strategy and reset your commerce opportunity. You might need to sell through Amazon or Alibaba or stand up your own marketplace. Or both.
  • Consumer demand for social commerce and new embedded selling channels is pushing new marketing and commerce strategies.

Every company needs help. We examined 35 providers and evaluated 14 of the most important commerce service providers — Accenture, Capgemini, Cognizant, Deloitte, Dentsu, EPAM, HCL Technologies, IBM, Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tech Mahindra, Valtech, Wipro, and WPP. The results are available to Forrester clients in “The Forrester Wave™: Commerce Services, Q1 2021.”

As part of the evaluation, we spoke with three customer references for each provider. These conversations highlighted a diverse set of commerce projects, but surprisingly revealed that a lot of capabilities are seldom used — so it’s buyer beware. Consider the following when picking a commerce services provider:

  • Do they offer a full set of services? This includes commerce strategy and implementation.
  • Do they have expertise in your industry and region? If you’re new to omnichannel B2B or DTC, do they have experience there?
  • Do they offer the expertise in your commerce platform? We evaluated providers’ work with traditional platforms, including Acquia, Adobe, Optimizely (Episerver), HCL, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, and Sitecore.
  • Can they stand up a marketplace strategy and implementation on Mirakl or VTEX?
  • Can they guide your move to a componentized MACH stack using BigCommerce, Commercetools, or Elastic Path? Or test new ideas on Shopify?
  • Can they help with other services you need? Customer experience? Customer data? Marketing or BOPUS (buy online, pick up in store)? Social selling? In Asia Pacific? How about Amazon strategy and execution? Building your own marketplace? Back-end integration or payment gateways? Commerce full services?

No matter where you are in your commerce transformation journey, service providers — often more than one — play a critical role. Consider your technology and services choices together to make sure that your technology strategy is robust and that your commerce services provider has the right expertise and capabilities to help. Let us know how we can help.