How Many Software Applications Does an eCommerce Businesses Use?

I’m in the middle of preparing a talk for a couple of up-coming events.  The basis of this talk is exploring which back-end systems are required in an eCommerce business, and more importantly when are they required.

When I create a talk / presentation, I take the approach of gathering as much information on the subject as possible and throwing it into an Evernote notebook.  I then proceed to organize and structure this information so that I have a solid base of data to work with.

One of the first things I did when starting to assemble said information was to create a list of all of the various components of a mid-to-large sized eCommerce business that might have specialized software applications for them.

So, to answer the question in the title of this post, here is my list of software application categories for a mid-to-large sized eCommerce business. Many of these categories can be blown out into several sub-categories or specializations. The goal with this list isn’t to be comprehensive, but rather a point of guidance for businesses wondering what is potentially needed.

In other words, this list is probably not complete, so don’t bust my chops if I missed a category that your software app falls into!

The List

1. eCommerce Platforms
2. Content Management Systems (CMS)
3. Content Delivery (i.e. CDNs)
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
5. Customer Reviews & Forums
6. Customer Service
7. Email Marketing
8. Fulfillment
9. Live Chat
10. Marketplace Management
13. Mobile Commerce
14. Order Management
15. Payment Security
16. Payment Systems
17. Personalization
18. Rich Media
19. Affiliate Marketing
20. Search Engine Marketing
21. Security Certification
22. Shipping Carriers / Integrations
23. Shopping Comparison Engines
24. Site Search
25. Social Media Marketing
26. Web Analytics
27. Hosting / Infrastructure
28. Performance Management & Optimization
29. Business Intelligence / Data Mining

I look at this list and I find it a little intimidating.  That’s a lot of “stuff” to think about if you’re a young eCommerce business.  Of course there are several systems in the market that solve varying combinations of these problems.  I don’t want to delve into the one-system or integrated systems debate in this post.  I couldn’t do it justice and I think the answer depends on the business.

As I polish up my talk I’ll post more of my thoughts on the priority order in which I think a new eCommerce business will need to implement this list of software applications.

**UPDATE**: Matt’s slides from Dx3

The First Kilometre: Building a Back-End That Sets You Up For Success from demacmedia