A decade ago, creating an eCommerce site required millions of dollars and many months of hard work to build a custom software.
Fortunately, due to the progressive growth we have seen in B2B eCommerce, creating an eCommerce channel for your B2B company has become much easier and simpler. Plenty of eCommerce platforms today are now offering B2B specific features.
However, you may see thousands of eCommerce platforms who’re offering similar B2B features which makes it difficult to identify which one is the right choice.
We totally get how confusing and tough this choice can be. We bet even software developers often struggle while differentiate the products they have made with other existing products.
You must be now thinking how to choose the right B2B eCommerce platform for your B2B eCommerce site.
To help you in this, in this article we’ll walk you through some factors that every B2B marketer needs to consider before choosing a B2B eCommerce platform.
Primary B2B eCommerce feature every B2B eCommerce store needs
Before you start hunting for a B2B eCommerce platform, first sit down with your team and list down what are your business objectives, selling and buying process, and then make a list of all those features that are essential for you.
Once you have that list ready in your hand, cross-check the features which you require. Make sure to consider buyers’ needs and all the processes thoroughly.
Now think of all those solutions which you require to accommodate your buyers’ needs and those selling and buying processes.
For example let’s say, if you have buyers who frequently place bulk orders, then you need to come up with a solution that will make this whole process simple and easy on your B2B eCommerce store.
You need to look for a solution that provides frictionless customer experience. You need to seamlessly streamline your buyer’s journey.
Since the nature of your business is totally different from your neighbours, you’ll find it pretty challenging to find a B2B solution that offers a comprehensive list of unique B2B features.
You need to identify this yourself which feature will work for you. The features list you have made before starting your B2B eCommerce store will keep on changing once your business starts to expand and grow.
This is because every customer has a different set of demands and requirements. To fulfill them you need a flexible solution that can be tweaked accordingly.
Therefore it’s essential that the eCommerce platform you choose not only offers the features you require but it must be extensible and flexible to accommodate the new features which you will eventually add as your business will start to grow.
Factor you need to consider before choosing a B2B eCommerce platform
1) Ease of Use
Creating a custom eCommerce store doesn’t mean that you take the site online and forget about it completely. Don’t even think about doing that. To properly digitize your brand, you and your teammates need to completely embrace the platform and use it properly.
For this purpose, your eCommerce platform must be easy to use, intuitive and match the teammates’ capabilities, expertise, and tech knowledge.
If you go to the market you’ll find two types of eCommerce platforms,
- On-premise technologies
- SaaS solution provider
On-premise technologies like WooCommerce and Magento are powerful, flexible, and customizable eCommerce platforms that give you full control over your eCommerce site. To start your eCommerce store on these platforms you need a team of developers and site managers to look after your site and maintain it’s security.
SaaS solution providers like Shopify Plus and BigCommerce are commonly known as straightforward wholesale solutions. From managing your eCommerce site’s infrastructure to looking after it’s security , they manage everything so you don’t have to look after it yourself.
Unfortunately, when you choose a SaaS eCommerce solution, you don’t get complete control over your site and you cannot extend its functionality.
Though these SaaS eCommerce solutions have flexible APIs but still you’ll find many hurdles in your way when you try to customize your site or try to add new functionalities.
Hence, when you’re choosing an eCommerce platform you need to consider your teammates expertise and capabilities. Choosing a on-premise solution will give you full control over your eCommerce store and flexibility.
However, be ready to bear the cost and hassle of hiring a team of web management professionals. On the other end of spectrum, SaaS eCommerce solutions provide hassle-free and intuitive solutions but they come with certain limitations.
2) Extensibility and Functionality
To accommodate and fulfill your buyer’s needs and demands to need to add more features to your eCommerce store.
Your eCommerce must be capable of working very well with other existing systems like ERP, CRM, PIM etc.
For this reason, make sure to choose an eCommerce platform that is highly extensible and flexible so when you need to add new advanced features on your eCommerce store you can do it without any hassle and it must be able to easily integrate with other existing systems.
Ensure your eCommerce platform provides proper documentation, flexible APIs, and a massive community of experts for support.
When we talk about extensibility and flexibility nothing is better than WooCommerce and Magento. These open-source eCommerce platforms offer you full power over your eCommerce store.
You can customize and extend the functionality of your site by just tweaking a few codes of lines. When talking about WooCommerce, it offers a masterpiece platform that offers B2B specific features out-of-the-box called B2BWoo.
It’s extensibility and flexibility makes it a right choice for B2B marketers who’re looking for a stable, secure and B2B specific platform.
How can we forget about pricing? It’s one of the most important factors that can influence your decision. You never want to invest in something that can break your budget or push you to bankruptcy.
It’s essential to sum up the total amount that you’ll be needing to build a proper eCommerce store. The total cost of an eCommerce store can depend on various factors including,
Subscription plan charges of the chosen eCommerce platform
- Price of custom development
- Price of maintaining and using the store
- Before jumping on this digital bandwagon, calculate the cost while taking all the above factors into consideration.
4) Customer Support
Another significant factor that you need to count on before choosing an eCommerce platform is support from developers. Since we all know nobody is pro at everything and there comes a time when you’ll be needing assistance or expert’s advice.
The eCommerce platform you choose must offer customer support through different digital mediums. Be it online forums, via email or call, live chat, video tutorials or detailed documents. The support team of your eCommerce platform must be capable enough to provide you proper assistance.
In case you don’t get satisfied by customer representatives’ advice or assistance, your eCommerce platform must give you the opportunity to talk to experts like developers without any hassle.
With plenty of eCommerce channels saturating the marketplace, it becomes quite challenging to choose the right option. Before you take the final decision please take our advice into consideration.
Follow our guideline properly and choose the right eCommerce platform that matches your business needs.