Omnichannel commerce, headless CMS, NoSQL databases, edge computing, big data, you name it: The commerce technology stack is changing. And the ability to move information from one system or platform to another is, perhaps, the essential feature mid-sized or enterprise businesses should look for in software providers.
This may be particularly true for brick-and-click retailers and multichannel companies. Often these businesses need to sell products online, from a physical location or through an outside sales team.
In each of these scenarios — ecommerce, brick-and-mortar, outside sales — both the business and its customers need access to product information, inventory levels, price updates, order history, account information, and more.
This need for shared data is complicated by offline needs. For example, if a shopper is browsing an ecommerce app on a train, she needs to be able to keep shopping, even completing a transaction, if the train goes through a tunnel and her phone loses its data connection.
For some time, monolithic ecommerce platforms and whole-business software suites have been leading choices for mid-market and enterprise businesses. In part, solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, NetSuite, Salesforce, and even Magento are popular because they combine so many software tools.
These sorts of solutions are helpful for many businesses. Specifically, if a company sells only online or, just in physical stores, these solutions work well. They may also work well when a business uses several of the built-in software modules, such as Microsoft Dynamics’ finance, retail, and marketing modules.
However, given new software options and the aforementioned changing technology stacks, some business may require best-of-breed solutions, connecting otherwise unrelated software tools and technologies. This is possible only when information flows easily between these tools.
Integrating large software suites can take months or years. But emerging tools can accelerate the process.
Couchbase, a NoSQL database provider, specializes in edge computing or the idea of storing information close to its users. Its architecture is lightweight and easy to work with.
Take, for example, an omnichannel retailer in the northwest United States that sells in physical stores, online, and through outside sales teams. The company is rebuilding its point-of-sale system using Couchbase.
In stores, it will place a Couchbase server on each register, so the full catalog of more than 130,000 products is available locally. Transactions are also stored locally and passed up to a store-specific Couchbase instance in real-time. That database updates the company’s cloud databases on Amazon Web Services every few minutes.
This arrangement is not new. The chain was doing this with another database, but what is new is the ease at which it is done and the speeds.
Moving the full catalog takes a few milliseconds.
If for some…