Don’t you think there is an abundance of B2B ecommerce solutions available in the market to choose from? There is. Which is why preferring one over the other feels so daunting a task.
Companies that try to figure out which platform to choose for their wholesale business usually begin with the kind of software they would like to use- a SaaS solution, a custom-built solution, an ERP add-on, or on-premise software.
However, that would be a mistake, to begin with. Why? Because you need to cover the basics first before going forward to building the best B2B ecommerce platform.
What are these basics? Things that cover your budget, selling, mobile-oriented etc. These are the ones that are far more important than what type of software you prefer for your business. Failing to cover these will slow your chances of success even before you begin.
To help you out, we present 10 such questions you must ask before starting your ecommerce journey.
1. Do I really need Business to Business ecommerce?
If it had been ecommerce for retail buyers, most of us wouldn’t have to think twice about it. But wholesale, really? We understand B2B ecommerce solutions come with its own set of challenges including influencing customers’ buying habits through branding etc. but that is no reason not to upgrade yourself as per the current wholesale trends.
You can have a search engine-friendly site to help you generate leads for offline sales. Moreover, your wholesale website can feature a complete catalogue with rich product content. Also, you can offer different levels of functionality for specific brands, categories, or customer groups.
2. Can Business to Business ecommerce handle my complex requirements and processes?
Out of all ecommerce areas, Business to Business sales represents the largest revenue numbers and growth. It’s projected that online manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors will sell $12 Trillion (as per Frost & Sullivan) by 2020, up straight from $5.5 Trillion in 2012.
Supporting this volume of sales is quite easy if you power your business with the best B2B ecommerce platform.
Selling physical and digital goods to wholesale companies requires a sophisticated framework such as a wholesale website which can easily handle the wide range deliverables, merchandising and Marketing capabilities along with customer service and other such features that are required to provide seamless commerce transactions, regardless of order scale.
3. Should I build or buy an ecommerce solution?
Determining whether to build a custom-made e-commerce platform or buy an off-the-shelf Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform is a critical decision which should never be based on a whim.
To put it simply, you should understand the long-term investment of having a B2B ecommerce solution. So, if you’ve already got the staff and resources to continue to scale your website as your business grows, then you’re set up to build a website from scratch.
But in case, you aren’t prepared for an added investment, then you will want to work with a 3rd party that can give you a better sense of what your costs will be five years down the line.
4. How do I choose a Business to Business ecommerce platform?
Choosing an ecommerce platform is not as straightforward as it seems. You will have to keep in mind these four essential features while choosing the best B2B ecommerce website.
- The growth factor- how quickly you want your wholesale business to grow?
- Running costs- it includes everything from the cost of building a wholesale website to ongoing developments to maintaining costs.
- Customer engagement- how do you want your customers to interact with your brand?
- Objectives- it includes choosing the platform that helps you deliver the service you set out to achieve.
5. Does it need to be integrated with my other systems?
The answer is yes. Integrating ecommerce with your wholesale business not only helps save a lot of time for your buyers by giving them a B2B ecommerce solution to keep track of all their orders but it also assists you in tracking down the buyers’ activities and improving your logistics a lot.
Moreover, it helps you improve the security of accounting and customer care, which will be much easier to manage. So you see how this integration allows you to gain more control over your business besides building a better rapport with the business customers.
6. Will b2b ecommerce cover our selling rules?
Of course, it will. You just need to make sure that the best B2B ecommerce website you are planning to make is tailored according to your customers. Which means when they log in, they see the products they are interested in buying, with the prices or promotions that apply to them (the hallmarks of Business to Business selling).
Because if it doesn’t, your customers will be confused and potentially abandon your portal. And even if they place an order, your customer service team has to manually adjust the order besides communicating back and forth with your buyers after the effect.
7. Is your B2B ecommerce solution easy enough for our customers to use?
Business customers who are already shopping online and on mobile devices regularly in their personal lives won’t take kindly to a clunky, difficult-to-figure-out wholesale platform.
Which is why it is important to choose an ecommerce platform that makes it easy for your business buyers to figure out how to place an order whether from a computer or a mobile device.
Just remember, poor user experience is a top reason you will suffer from low buyer adoption of Business to Business ecommerce. So, if your buyers can’t figure it out, they just won’t use it, period.
8. Does it work on mobile as well?
Of course, it does and should. There is no other alternative. The best B2B ecommerce platform should always include the option to place orders from a mobile phone since business buyers are more and more using phones for their mobile activities.
The key here is to make sure that either your wholesale website is offering a native mobile app (that can be downloaded from an app store) or is easily accessible on a mobile web browser from your buyers’ phone.
9. Will the biz to biz ecommerce site fit within our budget?
Since you are adopting Business to Business ecommerce for the first time, it is understandable that you might not have any existing budget line item.
But if you manage to find the best B2B ecommerce platform, it goes without saying that many of your cost savings will be pretty straightforward. For example, you no longer have to print or distribute paper catalogues or you can dramatically improve your order accuracy to re-ship fewer products.
The thing is, once you start availing these cost-related benefits, you can then set out to look at a subset of ecommerce solutions that make sense given the reality of your budget.
10. Will it stand the test of time?
To stand the test of time, your B2B ecommerce solution must have these important characteristics-
- It must be mobile-friendly in nature.
- It must have a modern-looking buyer interface.
- You must have access to regular updates and feature additions.
- Lastly, it must accommodate your selling rules.
When you put your head into the game, you will realize there is a lot to learn (yes, even after knowing the answers to these 10 frequently asked questions. But, luckily for you, you don’t need to wait before you know everything, that’s the beauty of a B2B ecommerce solution.
So, what are you waiting for? Seek out a platform that offers you different options such as a free demo or a 14 days free trial period before using it and you are good to go.
Storehippo has been powering a variety of enterprise ecommerce solutions across diverse industry verticals and geolocations. Looking forward to starting your own business to business ecommerce website? Explore the extensive features and the advantages you get by starting your 14-day free trial NOW!