Smartstore is the leading open source DXP enterprise composable commerce platform in the ASP.NET world, offering B2B, D2C, B2C and enterprise marketplace solutions.

Since 1999, SmartStore has focused on customer-centric business models, whether it’s content creation, website building, e-commerce or personalization. With Microsoft’s state-of-the-art cloud solutions, Smartstore lets you innovate with confidence that your mission-critical processes will work reliably. On-premise, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud or edge.

Smartstore Advantages: Flexibility, the reliability of open source and the API-first approach combined with Headless and the flexible microservices of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, which consists of more than 200 components and services, enable you to overcome your current challenges and pave the way for the future.

In addition to the company’s headquarters in Dortmund, SmartStore AG is also characterized by internationally active technology and solution partners and a globally networked community.

Interview with Pavlos Tsulfaidis, CEO & Founder of SmartStore plc.

Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities.

Pavlos Tsulfaidis: Smartstore is the leading enterprise composable commerce platform that enables businesses to successfully accelerate their e-commerce advancement. The open source DXP software offers innovative, secure and reliable B2B, B2C, D2C and enterprise marketplace solutions. The headless API-first approach provides enterprises with a flexible and rapidly deployable capability while keeping complexity and operational costs low. 

While years ago, it was perceived as an added benefit, today’s customers expect a personalized experience and often turn their backs on companies that don’t offer it. An that´s where Smartstore play a large role as a leading software manufacturer in the Microsoft .NET framework.

Headquartered in Dortmund, the European capital of 2021 in Germany, the SmartStore plc has a community of tens of thousands of members worldwide and several technology and solution partners.  

E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

P.T: With the state-of-the-art on premises cloud solutions, from the Microsoft ASP.NET world, business-critical processes are easily automated and efficiently handled. Whether on-premises, hybrid cloud, multi-cloud, or edge. The microservices of the Microsoft Azure cloud platform enables to overcome current challenges and to amplify the growth of the respective commerce journey at any point.

Its framework also provides an ideal environment for plug-in development and connectivity.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

P.T: The completely rewritten and redesigned Smartstore version 5 with all extensions is going to become available.
Catapulted far into the future using the latest Microsoft .NET technologies and consistent refactoring of the program code. Compared to Smartstore 4 the performance has increased by a factor of 5 to 10 in all areas. We now own the fastest store system in the world, which brings over 1,000 improvements to our customers.

In addition to Windows, Smartstore 5 now also supports hosting on Linux. In addition to Microsoft SQL Server, the license-free open-source database MySQL is now also supported as a database server. Support for other databases such as PostgreSQL is planned.

With Smartstore 5, store operators can address customers individually as easily and comprehensively as never before. By creating a successful customer journey in Smartstore, you stand out from the crowd and improve customer loyalty: Mega Search Plus, Personalized Product Recommendation, Product Advisor. This runs through hundreds of setting options that have been newly created and further expanded for Smartstore 5.

The user interface in both the front-end and back-end has been improved and adapted to the latest design trends with Smartstore 5. And all this with further increased usability, ease of use and retention of the learned workflows.

A special highlight is the new DataGrid, a proprietary development by SmartStore exclusively for Smartstore 5. In short, this is an Excel for all commerce data in the store. Store operators can find their way through all data tables extremely easily, for example for products.

The column order can also be changed as desired, and sorting data has never been so efficient. In addition, the individually made changes of the DataGrid are saved.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

P.T: A personalized shopping experience is no longer a “nice-to-have” but a requirement. Smartstore enables the creation of a unique and personalized customer journey, with numerous options for customization and atomization of business processes.  With more than 25,000 customers worldwide, we have helped making quite a few e-commerce success stories come true. 

The latest being the gas station of the future “bk world”, which is currently running with the help of Smartstore.

While being climate positive and functioning without any staff, owners of electric cars can not only recharge their vehicle, but also themselves.

With the focus of the assortment relying on local and healthy food and drinks, it comes with free WIFI, a local gaming console and soundproof rooms in case work needs to be done on the road.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

P.T: The global ecommerce market is expected to total $5.5 trillion in 2022. That figure is estimated to grow over the next few years, showing that borderless ecommerce is becoming a profitable option for online retailers.

Two years ago, only 17.8% of sales were made from online purchases. That number is expected to reach 21% in 2022, a 17.9% increase in ecommerce market share over two years. This trend is expected to continue, reaching 24.5% by 2025, which would mean a 6.7 percentage point increase in just five years.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

P.T: In recent years, digitization has not only revolutionized e-commerce. Customer buying behavior has also evolved and changed significantly. This poses new challenges for companies amid an experience economy. More intuitive buying decisions, tailored marketing and increased automation top the list. For companies, the solution often lies deeply rooted in their own information architecture.

More content, automated processes and tailored interaction with the customer, represent a huge effort for many companies. While staff are available to handle some of the processes, this can be a huge drag on efficiency and business growth. The result: increased operating costs. However, with the right technologies and tools, much of the process can be automated and the customer’s buying experience can also be improved.

B2B ecommerce statistics also show continued growth in 2022. Seemingly every aspect of business was moved or accelerated towards a digital structure amid the pandemic, including B2B communications. Consumers want to keep buying online. The ecommerce industry has been growing fiercely every year, with retail sales made from all sorts of devices going up each year. The more it grows, the more it seems it will take over retail stores.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

P.T: The Smartstore Order Management System (SOMS) is a platform-independent, standalone offering from SmartStore plc that can be integrated with any front-end sales channel or back-end system. The platform helps companies organize customer contacts across sales and fulfilment channels by collecting information. It is the ideal order management system that makes it easier for retailers to sell by efficiently processing orders directly in stores.

It has everything a business needs to increase sales through order fulfilment to keep customers coming back.

Another special highlight is the new translation plugin, a proprietary development by SmartStore exclusively for Smartstore 5. The new translation tool translates the entire store with just one click. What is translated? Product texts and descriptions, product groups, menus, SEO metatags, CMS page builder stories, content sliders and other content. In addition, the translation is automatically stored in the store, so it is not a one-time live translation. Here the possibilities are not limited to the most common languages. Websites can be translated into far more languages than ever before.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

P.T: During the last year of the pandemic, an evolution of B2B ecommerce took place, attracting the attention of buyers, sellers, and investors from all over the world. When you look at Statista’s recent B2B ecommerce report it shows the rise of vertical and specialized marketplaces for B2B buyers and sellers. Consumer-oriented retailers and brands have increasingly been investing in third-party marketplaces. We expect this trend to continue its development until the end of the year and even beyond 2022.

Now that we can offer the world´s fastest shop system Smartstore 5 with, we want to play an even bigger role for established companies in the upper middle class.