What does it take to have a successful B2B ecommerce site today?
The right B2B ecommerce platform.
Despite the recent buzz about B2B ecommerce, the concept of online selling is nothing new to the B2B world. But things are changing. Years ago when the first generation ecommerce platforms came out they were pretty simple; they allowed businesses to capture orders and show history- but that is about it. With time things got a bit better, integrations were available but very limited and incomplete which meant more work for companies and slower processes due to data re-entry and errors. Today B2B customers demand a much more advanced user experience and companies have given them that with new and improved B2B ecommerce platforms. If your company is not utilizing the recent changes and new platforms on the market, you are missing out on a huge opportunity for success and risking being left In the dust by your competition.
So if you are ready to make the switch from your old shopping cart to an enterprise-class B2B ecommerce solution, be sure to have the following:
- A trusted B2B ecommerce partner. This is a big project and you want to make sure it is done right and with as little drama as possible. Having the right partner who understands the unique needs of a B2B is very important.
- Integration with important systems. Your B2b ecommerce platform needs to be an extension to your business, not an add-on. Talk with your vendor to make sure you will be able to integrate your ecommerce with your other important systems such as your ERP and CRM. If you ignore this important factor you could end up with unhappy customers, inefficient processes, lost revenues, and many other problems.
- Possibility for growth and changes. When choosing your B2B ecommerce platform, ensure that the system will allow for future growth and changes in your business. Many first generation ecommerce platforms only support a specific type of ecommerce site; B2C but not B2B, or B2B but with no mobile functionality. A scalable ecommerce solution will support futures changes in not only your business but in technology as well. 1o years ago when the firs ecommerce platforms came out, the need for mobility was not on anyone’s radar- now it is everything; so who knows what will happen in the next 10. Do not get locked in by your ecommerce solution, find out that that allows for the future unknowns. This will give you a huge competitive advantage today and in the years to come.
- The ability to make your content pop. A simple name, some numbers, and other specs will no longer please customers. Today your catalog needs to have images, detailed descriptions, similar item lists, and technical details for every product. In order to do this your ecommerce platform needs to give you the freedom to make your site visually appealing. Keep in mind your B2B customers are also B2C customers who shop online for different parts of their lives and they now expect B2B ordering to be just as pretty and just as easy as when they are on Ebay.
These four things are not the end-all be-all of B2B ecommerce success; but they are some of the most important factors for you to look for while you shop around for the right solution for your company.
Doing more research on B2B ecommerce platforms? this white paper helps you understand the need for an ecommerce platform designed specifically for B2B companies and why B2C platforms won’t cut it.
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