By now, you may have come to the conclusion that you can profit greatly from the exploding business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce site marketing trend. Whether you’re just starting out with a new online store or wish to update one that has been up and running for years, there are several things to consider when deciding upon the best ecommerce b2b platform. The choice you make could actually determine how well you succeed.
BE CLEAR ABOUT THE OBJECTIVES FOR YOUR E-COMMERCE STORE
Because of the expanding e-commercial marketplace, there has been a similar increase in the scope of the choices you have in the future of e-commerce platforms on which to run it. Although it might go without saying, a micro-merchant only planning to sell 10 products will have vastly different requirements than would a merchant with hundreds of product choices. By the same token, some B2B e-commerce merchants are committed to the prospect of growing their operations as much as possible while others would prefer to stay small and serve a niche market about which they are passionate. There are no right or wrong answers when deciding upon your objectives, but the clearer they are, the better you will be able to pick a platform that is neither too small and stifling nor too large, expensive and unnecessarily feature-rich for your needs.
FIND A PLATFORM THAT WORKS WELL FOR B2B E-COMMERCE
In order to take as much guesswork out of the e-commerce platform-choosing process, do some sleuthing. Find out what your competitors are using, and invest some energy into reading objective reviews and customer testimonials. In the end, you want a B2B e-commerce solution that will excel at business-related transactions. Look for mobile-friendly solutions that feature search engine optimization and can deal with high volumes of sales as well as bulk ordering and inventory tracking across multiple warehouse locations.
DETERMINE IF YOU NEED YOUR B2B E-COMMERCE PLATFORM TO BE CUSTOMIZABLE
Some B2B sellers can simply open their store using a predetermined e-commerce template because they do not have unique needs that must be met, but that is not the case for everyone. Do you have customers with unique niche needs who require 24/7 support? Does your particular line of work have unique rules or protocols that must be followed? Do you want to offer special promotions that a cookie-cutter platform could not handle? In situations like these, you are an ideal candidate for a B2B e-commerce solution that is fully customizable. Just be ready to spend the time to do this, or be prepared to hire someone who can.
INTEGRATE YOUR PLATFORM WITH EXISTING SOFTWARE
If you already have an online store, you have set up a back office in which many of your daily tasks such as customer relationship management (CRM) and inventory and sales tracking are automated. Because this is the backbone of your business, it is critical that you find an e-commerce platform that integrates with the back-office systems that you already have put in place.
CHOOSE A PLATFORM THAT PUTS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FIRST
Just as is the case with individual buyers, B2B customers want a purchasing experience that is clear, fast and seamless. To that end, your e-commerce platform should provide one-click purchasing and enable the customer to independently make their purchases. That being said, still be committed to providing prompt, first-class customer service when questions or concerns arise.
Selecting your e-commerce platform will set the stage for your entire B2B operation. Therefore, give this process the energy and diligence it deserves. The decisions you make at this stage will have a profound effect on your ultimate success.