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[00:00:00] RETISIO: Well, good morning everybody. Good afternoon or good evening, depending on where you are in the world today. This is Brett from RETISIO. On behalf of RETISIO and our technology partner VyaPay, welcome to today’s eCommerce webinar, “Is Your Homegrown e-commerce Website Putting Your Business at Risk?” We appreciate you being here with us.
In today’s session, you’ll learn more about the ways in which your website could be both risky and holding your business back. These include website crashes at the worst possible times, like peak demand, poor shopping experiences that drive potential customers away, lack of revenue growth, and progressively higher costs.
I’d like to introduce our presenters for today, our expert panelists. First up is Tony Moores, who’s Chief Technical Officer at RETISIO. Tony is a veteran digital commerce practitioner who has been developing software teaching and consulting for more than 20 years.
Tony has deep industry knowledge acquired by working closely with many brands across many verticals. Welcome, Tony.
[00:01:45] Tony Moores: Thanks so much.
[00:01:47] RETISIO: Our next eCommerce expert is Mark Rault, Director of Strategic Relationships at VyaPay. Mark is a proven leader in the payment industry and specializes in scaling emerging businesses, developing growth strategies, and driving organic and acquisitive growth in hyper competitive involving landscapes.
Mark previously has held senior roles at World Pay, First Tennessee Bank and EVO Payments. Thank you very much for being here, Mark.
[00:02:12] Mark Rault: Yes, you bet, glad to be here.
[00:02:13] RETISIO: All right, we’re gonna get started here. We have a few questions that I’m gonna ask the guys to help us kind of guide the conversation as we go and as we explore the possible ways that your site could be potentially harm your business, maybe both now and in the future.
So we’ll go ahead with the first question. Let’s start with Tony first, and then we’ll hear from Mark. Tony, in your experience, how do homegrown e-commerce websites or, or legacy platforms, or the sort, lead to higher cost for companies at the end of the day?
[00:02:55] Tony Moores: Sure thing. The cost profile kind of depends or shifts as it were basically on the the type of platform you’re using. Now we’re talking about platforms in general.
Obviously when people hear that, the first thing that jumps to mind is the pure build solution, or what I’ll call bespoke. These things range from everything to the platform your nephew built in his bedroom after hours to a first class custom app that you hired out to build or built in house, right?
And so here, of course the costs include cost of rack (server), pipe (bandwidth) and power, the development, the maintenance, handling security breaches, evolving the product, or evolving the experience. And of course, you can save a little money by doing your own stunts in some places. But at, at the end of the day, you are ultimately responsible for all aspects.
So, any place where you might not have the staff or the expertise, these bespoke or custom solutions can barely drive costs up or way up. As we walk around the circle here, another flavor of homegrown and one that’s really popular, best of breed when folks talk about things like composable systems, composable commerce is kind of akin to I might have cut the cord on, on cable, right?
Disregarding the package and going for with the individual providers one at a time typically by subscription, right? This gives you a great deal of flexibility. But there’s three major areas of cost costs for folks in composable systems. One is the cost of the front end in general right to you.
You have to orchestrate all of these different pieces into a well, a well-oiled customer experience, a well-oiled operational experience. And that, takes time and money. Another category in that area is tooling. So typically these things are very service oriented.
Service oriented, provide a high level tooling for IT types, but maybe less so for the business stakeholders, right? So if you plan on running your business on running your business large IT group, you might have to spend some dollars coming up with tooling and processes to manage it.
And then of course the third category for folks in that situation is the subscription cost, right? So typically as you, as you grow your business, get the right components and you start putting them together, just like that cord cutting scenario, you’re, you’re picking up more and more services, or you’re using them, quote, harder and harder, quote harder and harder.
If you’re not being careful about how you utilize those composable components and a shifting over to the right. another sort of area of homegrown is the website plus cart plugin and right. So there, there are folks rating their businesses on what amounts to a content management system or a website in a box, and they’re plugging in third party carts. These guys typically burden the cost burdens of rack, pipe, and power. These things are hosted and take a lot of the it costs away from you.
But that integration between the front end, the website, the cart, and, and the payment system, they have to be tight, right? So things like, you start spending a lot of money on audits and security Hardening those hardening, those hardening the thing. And then of course, the, the costs you bear when those things either don’t scale or fail.
As you move into the lower two ends, these are more legacy than homegrown. They tend to be a little homegrown ish if you are working outside of what the vendor is providing, if you have needs that are not directly aligned with the 80 20 rule that they’re shooting for.
So in these cases, you’re picking up the maintenance of plugins, point to point integrations. And then of course , you’re, you’re buying into a larger solution. So limited to only those that are provided by the vendors which, which might not be the most they, they might not be the most competitively priced expansions in those sets.
So let, let me take a break there. What am I missing?
[00:08:28] Mark Rault: No, I think you hit on a lot of great points there, and I just want add to what you just shared. I think two major components here with these legacy systems that we need to think through is cost and customer experience right?
What is your customer experiencing at checkout, right? We all hear the word cart abandonment. We all, we have drive traffic to your website, experience the best shopping experience that they can choose that product, buy that product and ship that product, right? There’s a lot of moving parts there.
And in the legacy type systems, you have web, you have a, maybe you have a Word press right? Site. And so you’re paying for a hosting, you’re paying for a payment integration or a payment processor to connect, right? You have what Tony just talked about, all these controls and measures in place from web and.
And at the end of the day, how does all that translate to your customer, right? Is that client having a smooth experience within your website? Are you, is he enrolling himself in the right environment to be safe and secure for his transactions? Right? Are they, is there a redirect happening? Is that client enrolling himself in the right position so that they feel comfortable to move forward with that transaction?
Is there any card abandonment issues that you could address or alleviate right through those pain points? Am I enrolling myself? Am I purchasing the, using the right form of payment? Are you accepting all forms of payment that are relevant to your client base? Right? Credit cards are one thing, but what about Apple Pay?
What about PayPal? What about Google Pay, right? All the other things, buy now, pay later. All those components that are so relevant to today’s consumer, right? Do you have a mobile component attached to that site? So how are you interacting with your customer? I think it is so crucial as it relates to your e-commerce business?
So, Tony, back to what you said, relationships.
Tony Moores: Yep
[00:10:20] RETISIO: Okay. Awesome. Let’s move on. So what other what other types of follow out have you guys seen?
[00:10:48] Tony Moores: Yeah, I mean, in groups you’re talking about four major areas availability fallout in operational issues, feature gaps, and growth, right? Obviously the availability issues like the site outage and operational issues, whether they be payment and fraud related or supply chain related.
Not having the right inventory. Those, those are the ones fastest. So those are the, those are the ones you wanna make sure you spend the most time avoiding. But the other two classes have have like a more long tail negative effect. That’s your reputation, in the feature area as Mark alluded to earlier, are you keeping up with customers’ expectations, especially in this post Covid, highly service oriented world.
And then of course, these things that looked economical when you were running in a single channel, as you grow your business, even if you stay within the channel and just start doing things, like just start doing things like search, starting to introduce areas where you might have to bring in different clients, you might have to bring in different features.
So, growth in that aspect, but also long term growth, right? If you’re using these point to point integrations and solutions, then, as you pick up new channels, your costs, your pursuits of these integrations tend to multiply exponentially. So, we’ll talk more about some of the feature and growth issues, some of the feature and growth issues later be type down to, , age of technology and, , how often you, you rev the back end and technical debt.
We won’t get to, we won’t get to technical about it, but, but for example, right? I mean , long time ago was working with a really big retailer and , after going through a, a whole lot of testing and everything else to make sure they would scale for Black Friday. They went down, not they went down, not because their site went down, but because they were using an old bank solution for, for payment that didn’t scale. So the website was trying to take orders as fast as dickens, but yeah. The bank would be to take the money. And none of this counts if, if you’re not completing the orders.
Is that stuff still going on? You still see issues like that?
[00:13:37] Mark Rault: Yes, Tony, that’s a good example you just shared with us, and I had almost one, so similar to what you just shared, whereby the online e-commerce environment was just taking orders as fast as they could take ’em and the integration between the the WordPress and the website and the ERP system wasn’t functioning properly.
So what they thought were sales and were happening and it’s a great day and transactions just clicking right along. Now it turn out, turns out that those orders aren’t able to be fulfilled or shipped. So now you have a multitude of problems headed your way with what they call chargebacks, unhappy clients, refunds.
So that whole idea of how are you managing your business and what is it taking to facilitate your existing business. Now payments is connected no matter where you are. Right? If you started out and your buddy built your website and you started outta your back bedroom, payments has to be there.
You grow your business and you might, you might have a multichannel business, you might have a retail store with an eCommerce site and be doing inventory and invoicing out of an ERP system connected to your website. So at each of these levels, payments is such a crucial component. It has to be connected properly.
And as Tony was sharing, the relationship between payments, the right environment, the right customer relationship, they’re all tied together.
[00:15:00] RETISIO: Awesome. Well, let’s move on here. Good stuff guys. So you guys have been talking about scalability issues and those get a lot of press, especially for larger retailers when they crash on Black Friday or during cyber week. And it costs a lot of money too, per hour, as we were looking at before. But what about some of the other ops and their potential failures and associated costs?
How do homegrown our legacy e-commerce platforms, for example, prevent businesses from selling more online. Is it lack of features, lack of cool tech?, maybe we’ll start with Mark on that one.
[00:15:32] Mark Rault: Yeah. Kinda what you just said, lack of features, lack of cool tech, things that might prohibit growth or slow down your business.
And I keep going back to the most important thing here is the relationship with your customers. How are they experiencing that? How are you able to fulfill your orders? Things have changed in this e-commerce world whereby I might purchase a pair of Adidas, size 12 Adidas here at the house on my laptop.
But I’m gonna go pick those up at the curb site here in a minute at Adidas store. But I’m not gonna go in because it’s crazy mad house in. I’m gonna scoop up those shoes on the curb. So I purchased those. Here I spend $180, right? I’m happy. I’m on my way to get my shoes. And I sit on the curb and I sit on the curb, and I sit on the curb.
Those shoes never come out, and that was a problem. Right? Now you have a bad customer experience, right? Just to share with you that whole, having your systems tight, having your website integrated properly with your inventory control properly, with your payment mechanism properly, with your shipping. So now you have an unhappy customer.
Now you have a client to potentially lose and you have a refund or a chargeback might be ahead of your way. So, that technology, the proper technology and connectivity and understanding at what juncture junction in your business do you make that transition? When do you say, Okay, I’m gonna grow from my WordPress site and my Woo commerce WordPress environment, I’m gonna go to a RETISIO a, Right.
What juncture do you do that? What’s that critical component? Right. So I think things like that, that I see, and on the payment side of the equation, as far as holding back growth or clients that maybe stumble a little bit and take that leap, but then to realize quickly, oh, that didn’t include this properly.
So I think that type of business process I see slows down at times.
[00:17:22] Tony Moores: Yeah. Good, Good points. Mark. I mean, I think Covid has taught us a few things. There are a lot of platform legacy and otherwise that support buy online, pickup and store. And I say support rather than provide because supporting technologically is a little bit easier than than actually providing all of the pick, pack, ship that has to happen on the store side and what have you.
And then, of course, seeing all those folks who thought they had bought something online pickup and stores scramble to convert it to curbside pickup. And, things of that nature, right? So, once you get away from those lack of features and old technology are some of the harder things to get over.
Clearly, if If you’re fully homegrown you have no one to look to but yourself to make up the gap. The problem is there are folks who’ve adopted suites and other platforms relying on those vendors, evolving their roadmap, keeping up with the times, updating their back-ends, updating their technology, technical debt, and maybe not getting the bang for their buck out of their maintenance dollar.
We’re sitting in a world now where a lot of the e-commerce innovation has gone to the point solution. A lot of the legacy leaders in the space have been acquired by bigger companies who are, quite frankly, less interested in evolving, the best commerce product and are, , trying to sell the rest of their trust of their trying to sell the rest of their so you do have, you do have to kinda look out for the lack of features in technology that, , will allow you to keep oh, you to keep up, surprise and now standard feature requirements like those that that covid brought up.
I mean, look at it this way. Post Covid, you’re doing things like, I have a one party order goods and a different party pick them up. And then there’s some other guy who was too inpatient, grabbed my lunch from my pickup store, or worse yet, my $200 Adidas.
Right? So, there is mobile POS integrating with those pack and ship , all sorts of things. Card card, present or card not present. Pay before, pay after. , Mark, I, I’m sure you’ve, you’ve heard some, some stories post covid about the difficulties and in evolving with that, you.
[00:20:24] Mark Rault: yeah. Situation. Yeah. We’ve experienced some of that here with . But, , back to, , like you said, mobile, that’s a big thing I see as a trend. Now everything’s headed mobile. We have so many clients requesting, Hey, do you have an iOS solution or an Android? , we, we have, we have a website.
We’ve been in business X number of years, we’re doing fine, but now we’re gonna have a mobile component. I just had a client last week reach out that has a very interesting business and a trucking vertical, right? Trucking. And so he now says, Hey Mark, I support thousands of semis and, and, and truckers and shippers across the country, but I need these guys to have access to my platform in their, on their device.
And they need to be able to make a payment on that device. Not only access the data or my website to confirm loads or shipping or timelines or destination points, but now, now we’re gonna add a payment mechanism to my trucking software, my logistic software. So very interesting component, but I’m really seeing mobile, as you kind of touched on there, Tony.
Really take off in this whole e-commerce environment. It’s evolving into a very nec, a very necessary piece of the omnichannel world, right? You’ve got in-store transactions, you’ve got e-commerce transactions, and they have mobile. So things are moving.
[00:21:37] Tony Moores: Cool.
[00:21:39] RETISIO: Thanks. Awesome. Yeah. Let’s move along here.
We’re coming running close onto to on time, so we’ll try to go through these last slides quicker than we normally would. So now that we understand some of the risks behind legacy and homegrown platforms, et cetera, when is re-platforming the solution for a company that’s still relied on that sort of technology. And how should folks go about picking their next one?
Mark, I’ll let you start.
[00:22:02] Mark Rault: Well, yeah, I think it’s based, again, keep going back to your business, understanding your business model, what’s your next step? And in those, in those steps, payments has to be a really critical decision on how you’re taking payments. What payments you gonna accept? Are you gonna be involving yourself in subscription billing?
Are you gonna be shipping authorized the transaction, ship it, then capture it. So there’s so many moving parts to the e-commerce payment piece of it. As far as risk, right? You just have to know where you’re going with your business model and then again connect the right payment partner that understands your model, understands what you’re gonna be doing with your business.
So just having an understanding I think is so crucial. Cause I see so many companies that do make a step or make a move and then have, have, have a stutter step and have a pause and go, Oh, wait a minute. Hold on a second. We didn’t factor in that our new shipping company, Ship Station, we didn’t have integrated right.
And we took $2,000 worth of orders last night, and they’re not going out for five days. While all those transactions are gonna bounce back to you. So they’re coming back to you. All, all those thousands of dollars are now back in your face and your product didn’t go out. You have to refund all of those and hope you keep those clients.
So just little instances like that can really help or hurt you.
[00:23:16] Tony Moores: Yeah, I couldn’t agree, mean. Gotcha. , the, the, there, there are no. Bad e-commerce platforms, but there are plenty of e-commerce platforms that might be bad for your organization. I don’t think that any of these platforms are more risky than any others by default.
I mean, clearly if you look at those different classes you’ve got , if you’re an organization that doesn’t have a strong IT component, then both the composable and the bespoke route are extraordinarily risky. On the other, on the other hand, if your business is busting out of the seams and you’re one of those shop in a box kinda situations, it might be the scale that makes that makes it most risky.
So the thing here is to understand your business, understand your business’s growth potential. Understand the, the talent you have as it applies to your ability to execute.
[00:24:28] RETISIO: Got it. Okay. Sounds good. Let’s move it along here. Last, I think this is the last question, and then we’ll take some, some questions as we have time.
For those in the crowd who use tools like a Shopify, which a lot of very large revenue companies still do, by the way what advice do you have for them and do you see this common solution as a problem or hindrance towards the overall growth of the company? Tony we’ll start with you.
[00:24:51] Tony Moores: Thanks, Brett. I mean, look, Shopify really was a lifesaver again, post Covid where there was an opportunity for a lot of people to start creating their own businesses and small businesses that weren’t online. Getting online quickly. Right. So if it’s serving your purpose, then my advice is, by all means, stick with it.
And the same is true for industry solutions, right? If you’re, you are a grocer, for example there are a couple of platforms out there that are like Shop in the Box for grocery or shop in the box for multilevel marketing.
But these things typically they do what they’re designed to do for a very specific purpose. If you’re trying to, if you find you’re trying to grow your business and operate outside of that model, then it’s time to look at something else. And if you’re up against the scale boundary but it’s time to look at something else.
Another issue with some of these kinds of solutions is because they’re very streamlined, leaving that path is also drive by a plugin extension. Right. And while there’s nothing wrong with plugins in general, the, the idea is a lot of these plugins are sourced from customers who have some more problems from the open source community and they’re designed to solve problems for them.
Well, Shopify or whomever, they’re continuing to rev their solution. Oftentimes these plugins don’t rev with the solution or supporting them are no longer supporting them. So, specific to folks who find themselves in that situation, my advice would be try to stay out of plugin purgatory.
If you’re using a handful of well functioning plugins to bring your eCommerce website to where you need it to be, that’s great. But when you start talking about dozens or 20 or 30 of these plugins, these things can be very brittle. And then you’re more, and then you’re more at risk for some of all outs that we were talking about earlier.
[00:27:30] Tony Moores: If you’re creating risk for yourself through this plugin purgatory you should probably start consulting with partners and folks who’ve been down this road before.
And, if you’re expanding your business, again, not just to pick on on Shopify, but most of these things, they provide order management with whatever fulfillment options they have. They provide payment. So you’re stuck with any of those. Mark, you could tell us a little bit more about expanding to different channels and having mo multiple payments for different channels from these vendors.
[00:28:13] Mark Rault:. Yeah, sure can. Thanks Tony. I like your terminology there. Plugin purgatory. Right? I like that. I hear from a lot of our clients that make that transition off of a big commerce or a Shopify over to via what, what we hear a lot that scale, boundary or integration needs, right? Service levels. I hear a lot about funds being held and issues where they don’t have a lot of control points to say, Hey, I had a, a funds that were supposed to be in my account.
I’m not sure why they. I was depending on those funds for a payroll event this Friday and they’re not there and you call 1-800-SHOPIFY or 1 800 Big Commerce. And sometimes it’s hard to get through and have a difficult time with service level. So that whole shop in a box and Shopify, Big Commerce and others definitely fill a need, right?
And there’s nothing wrong with those companies, by all means. But as you grow the business or you have different integration needs, or you maybe you’re servicing a vertical that’s requiring an integration specific to that vertical. And that’s where we see a lot of the boundaries coming in where you want a NetSuite or an Oracle to Shopify.
Need to make that happen where you’re gonna need to grow your business and maybe you wanna take payments in another environment out of Shopify. So the whole thing of timeline or revenue. What’s your cost of operating, right? There’s fees per transaction, and sometimes those fees in a Shopify or Big Commerce are all inclusive environment can, can creep up on you without you knowing about it.
So things like that that’ll be crucial to your business as it relates to success and timelines and money and the flow of revenue and the flow of your product. You have to take into consideration. But, as, as Tony said, Shopify and Big Commerce, great groups, they’ve done a great job of building their business, fulfilling a need.
But those are some of the things that I see as clients are moving over that I get to interact with coming off those platforms. Great.
[00:30:32] RETISIO: Sounds good guys. We’re running outta Tom here, so we’re gonna move through some questions really quickly. Let’s see. There’s one from the crowd here. Are, and maybe Tony, you can answer this really briefly.
Are there still legacy systems that are not cloud based? And they say that that’s a big opportunity if there are.
[00:30:49] Tony Moores: Not a whole lot, but, but they’re out there. There are plenty of folks out there who are who are running legacy pre-acquisition leaders leaders the cloud or who are have, or who have clarified themselves which is not something I would attempt unless I had a strong IT component.
There’s a couple of modern ones out there that can be run on premise or in a cloud if you’re choosing Roti is one of them. There, there are a few others out there that’s out there. But it really to whether or not you have you have the bandwidth and the talent in house to capitalize on any savings in doing your own stunts in that area.
[00:31:30] RETISIO: Awesome. This one is for Mark. Maybe you can answer this one really quick. Mark, and I’ve, I’ve wondered about this myself many times I keep hearing about a token and tokenization in the payments business. What is a token? Yeah,
[00:31:41] Mark Rault: that’s a good question. So tokenization is the process of turning a, an actual credit card or an account number into a random string of, of characters called a token, right?
Create takes that account number and creates. A random string of digits and numbers. That’s called a token. Now, that token has real, has no meaningful value if there’s ever a breach, right? So they’ve taken that card number, turned it into a token, and then moved forward to that token. Now that token can serve as a reference.
It does serve as a reference to the original card number, so it’s tied back to that card number. And then that token can be used or stored if you, if you need it for future billing. So it’s a, it’s a great security measure. Tokenization came around seven or eight years ago and really helped combat a lot of the fraud we’re seeing in the online transaction environment.
So it’s a great security tool just about all processors. Now, if you’re in any e-commerce environment today, they’re tokenizing your transactions. If not, you need to get there as quick as you can.
[00:32:40] RETISIO: Awesome. Well, thank Thanks guys. Tony and Mark, that was great content and we appreciate that. Everybody, thanks for joining us.
On behalf of RETISIO and VyaPay, we appreciate you being here. Again, thanks to Tony and Mark. Also be on the lookout for future webinars from both RETISIO and VyaPay. And until next time, take care.
Learn how a large electronics and appliances retailer improved sales conversions by 500%.
Our blog is a great place to get the latest news and stay informed on eCommerce tech and trends.