Omnichannel might mean the death of the ecommerce“platform.”

  • Customer-centric ecommerce brands like Bonobos opening their “guideshops”, which don’t have any inventory, or Warby Parker using data from their online shoppers to decide where to open their brick and mortar stores.
  • REI giving all their associates mobile devices so that they can guide in-store review searches and price comparisons
  • Zumiez letting you place online orders from a retail store, get online orders delivered same-day to a retail store, and accepting online returns in-store
  • Amazon opening their proof-of-concept markets and buying Whole Foods
  • Shopping cart (just a payments interface added to your website)
  • Ecommerce “solution” (everything you need to run your online store)
  • Ecommerce “platforms” (everything you need to run your store + the hub for integrations with marketing automation, etc. tools to grow your business)
  • But the ecommerce platform may no longer make sense as the business hub if it needs to include all the functionality necessary for in-store and other channels (can’t be good at everything)
  • We may see a move back to a lighter-weight ecommerce flow, optimized for omnichannel data, that integrates with other solutions

We’ve already seen the democratization of tools and production: soon we’ll see the democratization of data.



Ro Bhatia is the COO at; a subscription billing and e-commerce platform. He has also held leadership roles at Yahoo, eBay, Homedepot.

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