B2B platforms functioning in every online activity are becoming the industry standard. Transferring the burden of transactions and cooperation only to the network is probably the natural course of things and the future of the whole business. Just as B2C stores are growing in sales, also cooperation between companies can take place on the digital platform.
The reason why such solutions are becoming more and more popular are, among others, financing methods. It is possible to obtain financing from EU funds. Software leasing and technology credit are other methods. The implementation of the new platform no longer has to be associated with a financially ruinous enterprise. And for some companies this type of solution may even be the reason for the decision to start e-commerce and implement a B2B platform.
The doubt that companies have before implementing is often the fear of failure. Changing the platform is a complicated operation that requires many actions. However, if it is done by professionals, the risk of failure is much smaller. A company with experience will be able to convince undecided clients with its own portfolio full of successful implementations. They will also be better oriented in ways that will guarantee profits from the introduction of the platform. Both financial and operational efficiency of the enterprise.
How will the implementation of a B2B platform accelerate the work of your business?
The most important element accelerating profits from e-commerce activities is the automation of business processes. It involves, among others, shortening the time of taking the order. Instead of a live person collecting the order, what takes longer and carries the risk of creeping in, the system created specifically for this purpose is responsible for the order.
In addition, there are other advantages. The existing order status in digital form changes automatically. You can also provide the option of viewing its status to a contractor. This is an interesting function that will be appreciated by other entrepreneurs who have deadlines and who like to keep their finger on the pulse.
What’s more, thanks to automation, the possibility of instant booking of payments and constant control of cash flows opens up. Thanks to this, transactions can be carried out much faster, without the onerous expectation of payment confirmations than in the case of traditional transactions. Accelerated booking of payments also ensures faster update of inventory. Instead of checking supply on demand, the system can display it on an ongoing basis for any customer with the appropriate permissions. This removes the additional obligation from the shoulders of the seller.
What else does the B2B system offer? Provides transparency that is welcome by other entrepreneurs. It not only improves the brand image, but also raises trust and a sense of secure cooperation in contractors. A company with nothing to hide means that it is not ashamed of its working model, and is also proud enough of it to be able to show it to others.
The implementation of the B2B platform allows a number of options. From the perspective of the business-to-business sector, e.g. customer segmentation is particularly important. Thanks to it, you are able to adjust your product range or price strategy to a specific customer group. By entering a sales plan suitable for specific groups, you can maximize revenue, e.g. by setting a minimum quantity of products to buy. Planning promotional and loyalty mechanisms is also a good idea to increase sales results and keep customers with you.
How to plan the implementation of the B2B platform?
There are 7 steps to successful B2B platform implementation. Dividing the implementation into stages makes it easier to watch each step and effectively reach the goal. If the implementation is carried out systematically and meticulously, the stress associated with this undertaking will definitely decrease.
Like all projects, this one must also start with an idea. It is best if the idea comes out of the department or from a person directly associated with the company, and even with the sale itself. You can be sure that this is not just a whim, but a real technological need, justified by internal processes that need improvements. The concept, and later the project, should be dealt with by one person or one team. Then no information and decisions will be lost in the communication chain. All people involved should be associated with the functions to which the implementation of the B2B system will relate, regardless of department. The initial contractor may also be present at the initial arrangements – as a consultant with real industry experience. Because at such an early stage an outline of the technical concept is created.
Preliminary analysis is probably the most important stage before starting the activity. The success of the entire project depends on it. If previously the implementation contractor did not participate in it, now his presence is necessary. Consultation with an expert will allow you to direct the project to the right track. The cooperation is aimed at simultaneously accepting the ideas and requirements of the company being implemented, but also at reaching compromises and technical approval. In this way you will save money on reducing the risk of failure and making changes at later stages. Both parties – the client and the contractor, will also agree on the principles of cooperation and its terms to remove any inaccuracies from the implementation.
Specific arrangements should be made at this stage of the online platform implementation. On their basis, documents are constructed that determine subsequent changes and actions. The exact way the platform works, i.e. its functions, should be specified. Among these guidelines should be a model of system modules – in an attempt to determine its initial appearance. In addition, it is necessary to specify integration specifications and the stage that will determine the success of operations in the field of launching all internal systems (ERP, WMS) on the new B2B platform. To cover all levels, you need to obtain not only the requirements from the technical department, but also business process diagrams. Mock-ups and flow & drip analysis are also welcome. It refers to the forecast of when the implementation will return to the company and start to generate profits.
When choosing a contracting company, its portfolio and professionalism should be taken into account. Reviewing previous implementations and references is a very important step when choosing the right business partner. It is best if the contractor has already implemented companies of a similar size and the same profile of activity. However, you cannot forget about the quality of cooperation and the way of communication, on which the most depends throughout the whole process.
This stage is a showcase for the contractor. You will help the most if you take care of the proper organisation of cooperation so that the implementation company receives relevant feedback on their work. The organisation of regular meetings and joint resolution of encountered problems, as well as a review of previous achievements are very important solutions at the implementation stage.
This is the moment when the system is ready and submitted for checking. The main thing for it is to undergo tests at the contractor. After all, specialists know best what elements can cause problems and what to expect from specific solutions. After completing the task, the appropriate team can also submit reports confirming positive test results.
The most perfect solution are tests performed with several trusted clients with whom you maintain good relations. Thanks to them, you can receive honest feedback on the functioning of the system. Even if it turns out that something is wrong during the tests, it will not affect the customers’ opinion about the brand. And it can even make the customer feel appreciated and important, because you pay attention to his opinion.
Official system start
After initial tests of the producer and later the recipient, the system should be ready. All changes have been made and problems solved. Customers participating in the tests are satisfied. So it’s time to start production, which is the official start of the system.
In this hot period for the company, during the first moments of operation after the implementation of the B2B system, impeccable external promotion of the company is important. You need to get as much out of this transformation as possible.
The second element to take care of is proper internal communication. Nobody can better understand the disadvantages and shortcomings than employees who will use the platform every day. They should be changed and training should be done on the new system. All this so that from the first moments of work, function in the highest efficiency.
Using the system
Using the system is its most important attempt. Only its functioning in the long run can determine the success of the entire implementation of the B2B platform. It is therefore worth collecting the opinions of customers and employees, and plan corrections and changes in advance. Let contractors learn your system before you start adding new functionalities. Don’t discourage them by the complexity of the platform. Analyse the system operation from several perspectives. First, your customers. It is for them that a new platform has been implemented, so it is mainly you who want to satisfy them. Keep in mind also the employees who will deal with the system the most. Also remember about suppliers and partners to facilitate their work in the operation and maintenance of the system.