How To Implement a B2B Digital Commerce Platform Part II: Selecting the Right Ecommerce Platform

June 21, 2021

n this three-part blog series, we take a look at the critical steps B2B organizations must take to implement a leading digital commerce platform designed to meet customer needs and drive revenue.

With so many commerce platform providers on the market, vendor selection can quickly become a complicated process. The complexity and size of your business will influence what ecommerce platform is the best fit.

Your ecommerce platform provider must be able to integrate all digital and physical customer touch-points onto one robust platform. Here are factors to consider in how certain ecommerce platform features can influence your business’s growth and profitability:

  • Fit For Your Business Size
    Some B2B ecommerce platforms are better suited to specific business sizes and their product complexities. You have the option to work with a vendor that supports SMBs, large companies, or enterprises. Alternatively, you could work with an ecommerce platform vendor that supports businesses of all sizes, leaving your company with room to grow as you inevitably drive more revenue through increased digital channels and better customer experience (ie: capacity for multiple languages and currency support for global reach).
  • ERP Integration
    Managing your ecommerce and ERP systems separately is simply not scalable or effective. Integration between the two is a must, especially when it comes to self-serve functionalities, lower inventory costs, and overall business control.
  • Business Tool Capabilities
    If you have multiple businesses, you’ll want to consolidate and centralize product information and attributes across all channels. Not only will this give you a single view of demand, inventory, and supply, but it will also help with managing relationships with different suppliers, distributors, and partners.
  • Customer Experience
    From advanced personalization and targeting to self-service and support for complex product configurations – ensure that your ecommerce platform can be tailored to your specific customers. Confirm that you can manage and use niche product content that applies buyer-centric B2B merchandising, along with excellent search and navigation.
  • Accelerators
    Check if your B2B ecommerce platform vendor offers accelerators, an opportunity for you to bring your digital business to market quicker. This pre-built storefront is typically based on industry best practices and allows for iterative customizations at any time.
  • Platform Type
    Some ecommerce platforms are hosted on-premise, meaning the software is installed on-site and you’re in complete control of managing the servers. Others are cloud-based, allowing you to access the platform from any browser with an internet connection.
  • Cost of Platform & Implementation
    When you buy an ecommerce platform, there is a large upfront investment. Beyond determining what your business can realistically afford to spend, you must also look at the return-on-investment. Don’t be deterred by large price tags; talk to your vendor about what returns you can expect to see and when after implementation. Because ecommerce platforms allow for consolidation and improved customer experience, most businesses see increases to the bottom line immediately.

As companies consider digital commerce strategies, many executives need to educate cross-functional teams in the latest B2B digital commerce trends, technologies, and best practices. It is wise to turn to B2B digital commerce experts before embarking on an overhaul of your business processes.

The benefits of working with well-versed authorities in the space who have a pulse on B2B ecommerce are manifold. These unbiased strategic consulting teams will rely on three pillars to guide your team:

  • Market Insight: They offer skilled knowledge of all B2B market-leading commerce platforms, making for efficient problem-solving. Technology is just the tool to get there.
  • B2B Experience Design: Apply insights to provide persona-driven omnichannel experiences.
  • Innovation: They are at the forefront of digital commerce, leading the way with new ideas, methods, and technologies.

Drawing on these areas of expertise, advisors will assess your business needs, conduct customer research and competitive analyses, and rely on industry best practices to design a customized roadmap for business digital transformation tailored to your unique organization. This exercise ensures that your investment goes far and that you have a thorough understanding of the dos and don’ts of digital commerce platform deployments.

Next week, in the final blog of this series, we’ll discuss how your business can prepare for implementation or migration of a commerce platform.

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Get a pulse on the effectiveness of your B2B customer experience. Zaelab offers a complimentary benchmarking service to evaluate your B2B digital experience against direct and industry competitors.

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