Before you choose an e-commerce platform for your store, you need to pay attention to many of its parameters. For this purpose, it is best to answer a few questions and make the final choice based on them. What to look for and what is important when deciding on a specific type of B2B platform?
1. Determine the benefits you want to achieve using the e-commerce platform
At the beginning, think about the business goals of your company. It is important, after all, that the B2B system must be complementary with them. So it should answer the various needs that you want to meet. Consider whether you want to encourage your customers to shop online to minimize service costs. Or maybe you want to make it easier for them to order products through mobile devices? Your goal may also be to facilitate the work of the sales team, improve the current customer service, increase sales, change communication with the customer or acquire new contractors. Depending on what goals you set, you will have to choose the right sales platform.
2. Choose the right B2B platform adjusted to your needs
The sales process varies depending on the nature of the business and the company's structure. It is not possible for one platform to meet the needs of all industries. Separate systems are dedicated to the B2C and B2B sectors. They differ, for example, in the way of shopping - a basket in the case of B2C sales and special, more complex solutions in B2B trade. So before you make a decision about choosing a platform, pay attention to what features it offers and for which industry it is intended. And also on whether you can adjust it exactly to your business.
3. Create a list of mandatory options
A good idea for organizing expectations in relation to the purchasing platform is to create a checklist of functionality that it should have. Thanks to this, you will reject offers that do not meet your requirements right from the beginning of your search. Also remember to pay attention to the plasticity of the platform, i.e. the ability to create additional functions in it. It will facilitate your perfect adaptation to your needs.
What are the main features to pay attention to?
- Is it possible to personalize orders - for example show product groups only to some, selected users, or can you specify their preferences, minimum order value or individual price for the customer?
- How does the product search engine work? This is very important especially in the specialist industry. It is essential that the platform has advanced search options that are comfortable and intuitive.
- Does the e-commerce platform give you the opportunity to conduct online price negotiations?
- Is the B2B system adapted to mobile devices?
- Does it offer the option of individual pricing of services after placing an order? This is particularly important in industries in which price estimation is carried out in this way - for example for trainings for a larger number of people.
- Does the platform support a multi-stage procurement process that includes the ability to invite more people to edit the order, comment on the order and share shopping lists with other users?
- Is the system friendly for both the client and the employee who serves it? At this point, it is worth paying special attention to access to information important for both sides of the transaction (information about the store, orders, complaints and customer information).
- What payment methods does the e-commerce platform offer?
- And is it possible to re-order the same order without having to search the product in the catalog again?
4. Define what integration you need
If you want to ensure the smooth operation of your company, you need to specify information channels that should work together and ensure the speed of transmission. You should pay attention to business processes and prioritization.
In the first place, think about processes that only have to be supported by technology, and not over those that only depend on it. Identify critical points, and later think whether your new platform should be integrated with the ERP system, back-office systems, with payment methods and with the CRM system.
5. Check if the B2B platform is equipped with PIM
If you have a large amount of various data and information needed to run your business, you should take care of the appropriate PIM (Product Information Management) system that will help you collect data from various areas. Thanks to it, you will take care of the order in product information, coming from separate sources, which will be available in one place. And only then distributed where it is necessary, for example for a mobile application, a pdf file, etc. It will facilitate the quick and efficient introduction of new products to its offer and updating information about the goods already available in it.
6. Choose the platform licensing form
The form of licensing is an important parameter, which will determine how you will affect the shape of the platform in the future. Choose a few software licensing options. Here is what belongs to them:
- Closed license, i.e. purchase of ready programming.
- An open license that also offers ready software
- Software that is made to order, but without access to its source code.
- Custom-made software with source software, without the right to further expand the software.
- Custom-made software, from which you can use the source and extension available in it.
- Software that is developed on request, on a ready-made pattern, with the source code and with the changed version.
- Ecommerce software available with website support (Software as a Service).
- A closed license, that is, ready software made available on a subscription basis.
7. Pay attention to UX and CX
What is extremely important for the success of e-commerce sales? To naturally take care of the positive user experience and customer experience. A look at the platform with business perspectives. The platform is to serve the most.
Remember that the customer experience is a summarize of all the experiences made when contacting your company. It contains every stage of purchase - from the first contact, after the completion of the order. It also includes all the communcation channels as well as every contact with the service point. It is important that the service is at the highest level - professional, factual and most importantly efficient, fast and effective.
8. International trade - select and type of B2B system
If you run an international business or plan to expand into foreign markets by joining the B2B platform, you have to remember about the cultural differences and translating the website into another language. You should remember, however, that the e-commerce platform is your ally in the company's expansion. Thanks to it, you have less demand for staff. You can serve customers in your own country. Quickly and efficiently introduce new products to the offer. You can also start sales faster, you do not have to open a stationary point.
The development of sales on the market thanks to the e-commerce platform is not only cheaper, but also safer than the traditional opening of business. In a short time you prepare the platform version and launch it on the new market. Thanks to this, you also get to know your customers faster and you know whether it is worth investing further in the development of the company in a given country. If it turns out not, there is nothing to lose or even try.
If this platform is B2B, then we are dealing with the above-mentioned issues, with any choice that will pay off in the future. And above all, it will meet your expectations and satisfy your present and future clients.