6 Features to Consider When Choosing a B2B eCommerce Platform
Whether starting a new eCommerce store or looking to expand the choice of platform is immensely important. And to be fair - it can get fairly complicated. But don't worry - we'll help you out. Let's look at the 6 most important things to consider when choosing an eCommerce platform.
The article was provided by our great partners — OroCRM
The B2B eCommerce market is no longer something you can ignore. In the U.S. alone, Forrester Research projects that the online B2B market will reach $1.1 trillion by 2020 and account for 12.1 percent of all B2B sales. Led by industry giants like Boeing and Amazon, and spurred on by customers’ increasing preference to do their research and purchasing over the internet (75 percent of B2B buyers claim it is more convenient to buy from eCommerce sites than sales reps), businesses everywhere are searching for ways to shift their operations online.
In order to do this successfully, however, it is essential to choose the right eCommerce platform. For many businesses, though, this has proved to be a challenge: 20 percent of them are planning to stop using their current platform, while an additional 10 percent have already begun migrating to a new product. The development and customization costs of switching platforms can turn into an expense your business may not be able to afford.
To prevent this, we’ve come up with six essential features to consider when looking at eCommerce platforms:
1. B2B eCommerce Security
First and foremost, moving your business online means being able to ensure the security of your customers’ information. As the B2B eCommerce industry continues to grow, so will its appeal to hackers and thieves — and there is no faster way to lose your customers’ trust than by letting someone get a hold of their information. This makes it important for you to choose a platform that is secure and constantly up to date. In particular, look for one that is Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant to ensure the protection of your customers’ credit card data.
2. Smart Product Catalog Management for B2B eCommerce
Your online B2B store is only as useful as the data behind it. If you only have a handful of products, you probably don’t have much to worry about. However, if you’re like many companies and have a catalog of hundreds or even thousands of products, managing all their information can quickly become a burden that hurts your business.
This is why catalog management systems are so critical. Although they come in a variety of forms, all of them essentially make it possible to easily edit and update product information, including descriptions, specifications, prices, quantities, and more. They are also useful in making your store more flexible. For instance, you can specify how your catalog displays according to each client, adjusting it to fit their individual needs.
3. B2B eCommerce Platform: Integration With Existing Systems
Since B2B often depends on a web of complex relationships — with wholesalers, with clients, with transportation companies, and more — it is important that your eCommerce platform has the ability to work with multiple systems. Look for one that can integrate data with the business applications you already use, such as your CRM and ERP systems, product information management tools, and third-party support channels. This way, you can not only keep your store constantly updated, but also turn it into a potent tool for collecting valuable information, such as what customers are looking at, or which products are they are leaving in their carts.
4. B2B eCommmerce Localization
If you plan to have an international presence, you will have to account for the different languages and currencies that your customers use. Don’t assume that they will simply adapt to whatever is already on your store. Instead, choose an eCommerce platform that comes with localization options. These allow you to automatically change your store’s language, timezone, currency, shipping information, or even the products on display according to where your customer is coming from. You can also use localization to control which taxes your store applies. This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to built trust and succeed in the global market.
Mobile-Friendly Design for B2B eCommerce
Just a few years ago, mobile commerce wasn’t that important. These days, however, the mobile market is changing the face of online business. A flawless navigation and web page design are no longer the only factors influencing user experience. Instead, today’s consumer is often on-the-go and more likely to use their mobile device for shopping, which means your website needs to be mobile-friendly. While this doesn’t make it necessary to develop a separate mobile app, your eCommerce platform should make it possible to easily purchase goods on a smartphone or tablet.
6. B2B Reporting and Analytics
B2B companies not only need to know what their customers want, but should also have the ability to measure how well they are meeting their own goals. As such, the best eCommerce platforms not only collect data across every aspect of an online store — from first-time visitors to shopping carts and submitted orders — but also analyze this information and generate useful, insightful reports. This will allow you to continually optimize your store, as well as keep your employees informed of their performance and goals.
Owing to changing consumer expectations and the development of new technology, B2B eCommerce has turned into a thriving market within just the last few years. However, before your business can take advantage of this opportunity and move online, you need to choose an eCommerce platform that works for you. In addition to these six essential features, it is important to carefully consider any specific goals or characteristics that you would like to address. The right platform should be ultimately be able to fit all of your company’s needs.
About Oro Inc. Oro, founded in 2012 by industry leaders in open-source business application development, is the company behind the suite of products including OroCRM, OroCommerce and OroPlatform. Prior to founding Oro, the founding and senior leadership team helped lead Magento’s success and have an extensive history in e-Commerce technology. Oro’s founding team consists of Yoav Kutner, Co-Founder and former CTO of Magento, Jary Carter, former VP of Sales and Channel of Magento, and Dima Soroka, former Lead Architect for Magento. Roy Rubin, Co-Founder and former CEO of Magento, has also joined the Oro team as an advisor. Through many years of experience in commerce and CRM, Oro is committed to delivering innovative solutions that will further disrupt customer experience. For further information, visit www.orocrm.com
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