What's up with ecommerce these days?
January 13, 2015 11:31 AM   Subscribe

This is obviously a big question to which I don't expect simple or succinct answers. But as I'm probably going to be doing some work soon for some fairly established hi-tech types (the focus of which will be some "disruptive" ecommerce solutions) I feel compelled to ask it.

To be clear. This is not job interview stuff. I just wish to be a little better informed about the world I'm stepping into. So, assuming I'm not a complete idiot on the topic, please school me on what I need to know to be more up to date on my overall thinking as to the current state of ecommerce. Things like:

- Who are the main players?
- Who are the up and comers?
- And perhaps most important, who are the "outside-the-boxers"?

Links to stuff like comparative critiques would be much appreciated.
posted by philip-random to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Two off the top of my head on the experimental / up and comer side:
1- From some former woot guys - mediocre
2- From some former Amazon guys (that weren't woot guys since Amazon owns woot) - Jet
posted by Jacob G at 11:45 AM on January 13, 2015

Best answer: Stripe for processing, WooCommerce for stores and carts.

Nobody ever looks at these but there are a ton of very profitable WAHM malls, too.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:53 AM on January 13, 2015

Best answer: Platforms:
Magento is still the top dog
WooCommerce has gained a foothold and is growing fast
Bigcommerce is a popular and solid hosted platform
Shopify is another hot hosted cart

For payment providers:
PayPal had first-mover advantage but they have a lot of problems
Authorize.net is displacing/has displaced PayPal
Stripe is giving everyone a run for their money

Due to the giant investment needed to run a logistics network, shipping is still the same major players:
USPS (but for e-commerce you need a third-party system like Stamps.com or Endicia)

FedEx and UPS are all trying to cut costs by sub-contracting out the "last mile" to USPS or small regional carrier like OnTrac (the side effect being poorer customer service IMHO).
posted by radioamy at 12:53 PM on January 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: PayPal provides a 3rd party solution for accepting payments which allows you to accept payments without handling the customer's credit card; authorize.net historically has been in the business of providing payment gateways which allow you to transmit the card data that you took from the customer (in an encrypted way) and get a payment authorization back. Authorize also has some 3rd party solutions as well, but it's important to make that distinction.

Study up on PCI compliance issues; relatively few people seem to be all that knowledgeable about it, and while you might want to disrupt eCommerce, you need to do it in a way that's compliant, and if you are going to work for a large player, compliance issues are substantial.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:34 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Don't sleep on Amazon eCommerce solutions.
posted by jasondigitized at 1:58 PM on January 13, 2015

Are you asking about the platforms or the actual businesses? It's not clear from the questions or the answers.
posted by ch1x0r at 4:27 PM on January 14, 2015

Response by poster: Sorry, ch1x0r, missed your question.

I'm intrigued with both platforms and businesses. That is, who is doing what? The "who" and the "what".
posted by philip-random at 10:40 AM on January 15, 2015

Response by poster: marked some best answers ... but I'm still open for more
posted by philip-random at 10:45 AM on January 15, 2015

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