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 A Chat with Vikram Saxena, CEO at Headless e-Commerce Platform: BetterCommerce

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BetterCommerce is a leader in the provision of headless and composable ecommerce solutions for mid-market retailers. Our mission is to disrupt the legacy approach to delivering ecommerce, with our SaaS packaged business capabilities (PBC) of ecommerce, product information management (PIM), order management systems (OMS) and analytics, which in our platform seamlessly integrate to deliver a full-fledged commerce solution.

Our API-first approach therefore offers flexibility to ambitious, omni-channel brands that want to stop being held back by the monolithic ecommerce technology of the past.

By removing the dependencies that clog up their processes in these platforms between the front and back-end, retailers working with us enable rapid change, more effective integration with future tech like artificial intelligence and virtual or augmented reality, faster websites, radically improved customer journeys, and—very quickly–improved business performance.

In real-world terms, that means we’re empowering retailers to focus on creating new, unique shopping experiences and great CX.

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I spotted a gap in the market in 2015, when it was becoming more and more clear that most enterprise ecommerce platforms were either too expensive for most mid-market retailers or required an abundance of third-party tools and plug-ins that would have to be clumsily and expensively ‘stitched together’ to create any kind of a usable ecommerce strategy.

Another trend was how I kept seeing mid-market retailers acquiring new technology and trying to fit their business around the technology. That’s just the wrong way round! These ongoing issues clearly were adding complexity on top of complexity, sparking major issues when trying to unpack these spaghetti tech stacks and achieve what LOB managers really want–innovation and efficiency gains.

Finally, in too many cases at the companies I was in dialogue with at that time, the people who made these critical business decisions had moved on and therefore the knowledge had left the business, which were creating the conditions for a problematic ecommerce ‘perfect storm’.

All this helped us consolidate our thinking into what soon became the BetterCommerce value proposition. Central to that is a rejection of any kind of ‘rip and replace’ methodology, which many retailers are concerned about (and rightly so), but instead always promote an evolutionary, LEGO-based approach.

We also encourage our clients to start in the areas that need improvement most, which is often in the product information management arena, order processing or their customer data insights. Then we work with the team to fix things step-by-step. We also stress the need to align with existing technology investment during migration, so nothing becomes redundant and their sunk cost is protected as much as relevant to their new direction.

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

BetterCommerce evolved a great deal during the first two years of COVID. That was probably most noticeably with our brand and customising our service offering, as, while many of our existing customers and prospects were closed during the UK national lockdown, we decided to use the time to focus on our identity and better ways to convey our message to our addressable market.

We also worked very closely with our existing customers on how best to manage pandemic crises as they came along. For one major fragrance brand, for example, we rapidly turned 200 retail outlets into ‘mini-fulfilment’ locations where they would ship to local customers from their closest store, rather than a central warehouse. This really helped that firm, as it allowed it to improve delivery times and to sell stock at risk.

We also supported a client who pivoted completely from B2B to B2C—totally conscious that if that project had failed, it would no longer be in business today.

What can we hope to see from BetterCommerce in the future?

In both the short to mid-term, we’re 100% focused on our partnership programmes. There, we’re busy identifying complementary solution providers and connecting with them to support our mission of making headless commerce accessible and obtainable for mid-market retailers and brands.

In the longer term, we will accelerate our GTM (go to market) strategy for our core markets of the UK, India, Dubai, and the US. We will also continue to recruit new talent for our development, sales, branding, comms, and marketing outreach–and of course, we will continue to look at the future of mid-range retail, building the next generation of ecommerce solutions that will support retailers and brands to scale and meet all of their business objectives.

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