SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK ANY VENDOR BEFORE SIGNING A SaaS E-COMMERCE CONTRACT

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1 SIX QUESTIONS TO ASK ANY VENDOR BEFORE SIGNING A SaaS E-COMMERCE CONTRACT

2 When evaluating software-as-aservice, particularly e-commerce SaaS solutions, companies often focus on comparing product features and functions. The marketplace today is flush with SaaS providers and by its very nature rapidly evolving. Like your business needs, e-commerce platforms are evolving as well. Finding a viable long term partner requires not only evaluating the bells and whistles but also asking some more strategic questions. Our hope is that by asking the right questions you can settle on a long term partner that has a vision for e-commerce consistent with your business needs.

3 #1 WILL WE GROW INTO OR OUT OF THIS PLATFORM? Chances are, the e-commerce functionality you require today will not be the same as what you need in five years. If you re successful you ll have more transactions, more products, more competitors and higher expectations from your customers. As your business grows, will your e- commerce platform be able to keep up? Many mid-sized businesses are sold a solution to address their current needs rather than one that supports their future growth. To put it another way, is your SaaS provider as aggressive with their solution strategy and roadmap for the future as you are with yours?

4 #1 WILL WE GROW INTO OR OUT OF THIS PLATFORM? CONSIDERATIONS: 1. What features does this solution have that I can grow into? 2. Do I see any areas where I might outgrow the application or the vendor? 3. Is the application easy to learn for a novice? Powerful enough for a expert?

5 #2 WHAT IS YOUR ROADMAP TO SUPPORT MY GROWTH PLAN? How often a vendor rolls out incremental functionality is an important factor to consider. By signing with a SaaS vendor, you are implicitly trusting they ll continue to provide meaningful innovations that will allow you to attract, convert and retain more buyers in the future. The ability to establish interconnectivity between commerce and other applications (marketing, service, BI, etc.) is also an important issue to consider. Gradual adoption of additional services is to be expected as your company grows. Don t let your SaaS provider make you bite off more than you can chew. But also make sure they have offerings that you can easily integrate with for technical, functional and financial growth.

6 #2 WHAT IS YOUR ROADMAP TO SUPPORT MY GROWTH PLAN? CONSIDERATIONS: 1. Are there other services this vendor can provide? 2. How often and how substantial are the upgrades this vendor is going to provide? 3. Do they have a compelling vision for e-commerce and its interconnectivity with other solutions like call center, PoS, marketing, or social applications?

7 #3 WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE EFFECT OF MY TOP LINE GROWTH? Right now you are sized for some particular volume probably your current volume plus a little wiggle room for near-term growth. What happens when you grow beyond that volume? What happens when you double it? The big concern here is that you fully understand the financial model for licensing and operating the platform. The price tag might be affordable today, but what if you dream a little bigger and then succeed? Revenue sharing or shared success models are a cost-efficient way to start, but they will lose their appeal at a certain revenue point. Consider the financial cost of success and look for flexibility in pricing models that help accommodate growth in the short and long term.

8 #3 WHAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE EFFECT OF MY TOP LINE GROWTH? CONSIDERATIONS: 1. Are you getting good value for the cost of this solution? 2. Are there alternative pricing models more suitable for my expected sales and site traffic? 3. Do I have flexibility to change pricing models as my situation changes?

9 #4 HOW DO YOU PLAN TO SUPPORT MY SITE SUCCESS AS YOUR OTHER CLIENTS GROW? It s great to know that your SaaS vendor has helped make other companies successful, but what happens when your multitenant neighbor has the next great cat video and goes viral one day? Will your site performance be protected? How? Along the same lines, the size of your solution provider s top accounts matters a great deal if they offer a pure multi-tenant architecture. Because there is no room for customization for individual customers, the vendor s road map typically skews to support their top priorities, not yours.

10 #4 HOW DO YOU PLAN TO SUPPORT MY SITE SUCCESS AS YOUR OTHER CLIENTS GROW? CONSIDERATIONS: 1. How do I compare to this vendor s other clients for this solution? 2. What percentage of this vendor s revenue for this solution comes from its top few accounts? 3. After I sign a contract, will I get the same kind of service I got during the evaluation phase? Will I have the same level of access to the product team and other expert resources?

11 #5 HOW MUCH CONTROL WILL I HAVE OVER MY BRAND EXPERIENCE? The benefits of SaaS based software are well documented. The core value proposition of any cloud based solution typically includes economies of scale, infrastructure free solution benefits, and automatic upgrades. Many companies don t fully explore the tradeoffs that give multi-tenant SaaS those benefits. How ridged will your site experience have to be to realize those benefits? Just because the default experience a vendor provides is better than what you currently have doesn t mean it will always be better than your competition. Don t sacrifice future flexibility. Unique and engaging customer experiences are the only way to differentiate your self online.

12 #5 HOW MUCH CONTROL WILL I HAVE OVER MY BRAND EXPERIENCE? CONSIDERATIONS 1. How much control to differentiate my storefront and shopping experience will I have? 2. How easy is it to extend my site? Do I need to learn a new technology? 3. Can I customize my experience without compromising my ability to take upgrades?

13 #6 WHAT IS YOUR POINT OF VIEW ON THE ISSUES IMPORTANT TO ME? A successful vendor will have enough experience and industry insight to have a clearly articulated point of view on any given issue that affects the e- commerce industry. Make a list of the top industry trends or issues that are driving your business decisions, and ask your selected e-commerce vendor for their opinion. If they don t have a point of view on the issues important to you, then their development plan probably isn t taking your issues into consideration.

14 #6 WHAT IS YOUR POINT OF VIEW ON THE ISSUES IMPORTANT TO ME? CONSIDERATIONS 1. Does the solution provider have a proven track record of success they can draw from to help you think through certain issues? 2. Is e-commerce a point of strategic value for your long term success or just necessary channel? 3. What is the process this vendor uses to create a road map?

15 START GROWING YOUR BUSINESS TODAY: REQUEST A DEMO DOWNLOAD A FREE REPORT FROM FORRESTER READ 3 KEYS TO IGNITING BUSINESS GROWTH

16 Oracle Corporation, World Headquarters Worldwide Inquiries 500 Oracle Parkway Phone: Redwood Shores, CA 94065, USA Fax: blogs.oracle.com/cx/commerce facebook.com/oracle twitter.com/oraclecommerce oracle.com This document is provided for information purposes only, and the contents hereof are subject to change without notice. This document is not warranted to be error-free, nor subject to any other warranties or conditions, whether expressed orally or implied in law, including implied warranties and conditions of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. We specifically disclaim any liability with respect to this document, and no contractual obligations are formed either directly or indirectly by this document. This document may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, for any purpose, without our prior written permission. Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners. Intel and Intel Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation. All SPARC trademarks are used under license and are trademarks or registered trademarks of SPARC International, Inc. AMD, Opteron, the AMD logo, and the AMD Opteron logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group. 0115

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