full frame of a computer monitor
B2B customers want "deeper research experiences and richer purchase journeys," Forrester analysts wrote. PHOTO: Tranmautritam

Forrester has named SAP Hybris, Intershop and Insite Software as leaders in its industry report on B2B commerce suites.

All three companies were named leaders in Forrester's last report in 2015. Two other leaders from that 2015 report — IBM and Oracle — did not keep their top ranking.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester analyzed 11 providers in the Wave for B2B Commerce Suites, released last week.

Forrester named IBM, Magento, Oracle Commerce Cloud, CloudCraze and Apttus as strong performers and rated Oracle NetSuite, Episerver and Unilog as contenders.

Vendors must have, among other criteria, a minimum of $20 million in annual commerce solution product sales, at least 50 existing clients and positive sales momentum.

Quest for Deeper Experiences

Forrester analysts Andy Hoar and Anjali Yakkundi produced the report with help from colleagues Fiona Swerdlow, Sam Wolken and Sara Sjoblom. The analysts found B2B customers want "deeper research experiences and richer purchase journeys," which means vendors must deliver on back-end fulfillment and integration and front-end customer experiences.

"Distributors and branded manufacturers are upgrading and replatforming their commerce infrastructure to capture and — very importantly — retain demanding, channel-agnostic customers," Forrester authors wrote.

The report comes at a time when some say commerce is the differentiator for digital customer experiences in 2017. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning grab headlines, but commerce means conversions and money.

Commerce capabilities were a hot topic of conversation at last week's Adobe Summit in Las Vegas. Adobe integrates third-party commerce vendors.

There's speculation Adobe might follow the lead of digital experience competitor Sitecore, which acquired an ecommerce platform three years ago. In January, Sitecore released a new version of that ecommerce platform, which it acquired from commerceserver.net.

“All this stuff ultimately comes down to conversion rate optimization or an Ad click,” Constellation Research analyst and founder Ray Wang told CMSWire at the Adobe Summit. “If I don’t monetize, no one cares. The whole point is about monetization.”

Wang said Sitecore has gained traction since it announced the ecommerce updates in January.

"The commerce pieces are huge. I think we’ll see a lot of efforts by Adobe to make commerce easier. It's basically trying to capture an order and move it to someone else," he said.

Rumored Consolidation

Forrester analysts expect others to jump into the ecommerce fray. It said the market is experiencing a "renewal" among vendors spurred by an opportunity to "monetize legacy commerce infrastructure."

Forrester analysts also corroborated talk of ecommerce acquisitions. They predicted more consolidation in the commerce market and some commerce-related acquisitions by marketing technology, web CMS and CRM vendors.

They noted Oracle's $9.3 billion acquisition of NetSuite and Salesforce's $2.8 billion buy of Demandware, each coming last year.

Forrester authors also cited growing private-equity investment in ecommerce and predicted future IPOs and acquisitions. Siris Capital ($840 million, Digital River) and Permira (Magento) made acquisitions. Vista Equity Partners bought Baynote, Fiverun, Marketlive, Mozu and Shopatron and created Kibo.

CloudCraze closed on $20 million from Insight Venture Partners and Salesforce Ventures.

SAP Hybris Dominates

In its report, Forrester authors noted that ecommerce shops buy their technology through all-in-one suites, suites with best-of-breed solutions or via a headless approach.

Each strives to hit all of Forrester's four major pillars: commerce management, experience management, order management or production information management.

SAP Hybris led all but two of Forrester's 12 criteria. It trailed only Magento in "developer community" and finished behind eight competing vendors in "total cost of ownership."

SAP Hybris, the dominant player in enterprise commerce, has stability, strength in global partners and vertical focus. But it also has challenges related to constant upgrades and high costs for development resources, customers told Forrester researchers.

Forrester said Intershop has well-built features and includes a strong technical roadmap and strong partner and developer networks. But Intershop needs to grow with its story, capabilities and presence around mobile and data, Forrester added.

Insite Software earned kudos from Forrester analysts for a strong focus on B2B and a strong overall focus. But it needs to work on personalization technologies and product information management.