As part of its B2B Disruptors Report, DC360 interviewed Human Element Technical Solution Architect, Paul Briscoe, about the best approach to building a B2B eCommerce site. Click here to get the full report.
Unattractive, static and difficult-to-use B2B sites aren’t cutting it anymore. When shopping for work, B2B buyers expect a B2C-like experience — complete with the same functionality that’s available on consumer sites. To discuss the best approach to implementing a customer-focused B2B eCommerce site, Digital Commerce 360 B2B spoke with Paul Briscoe, technical solution architect at Human Element.
What are some misconceptions around launching a new B2B eCommerce site?
B2B companies just getting started with eCommerce expect an amazing website out of the box without realizing all it takes to get there. With the complexities around B2B commerce, customizations to the core platform are often necessary to integrate systems and deliver the experience users expect. All of that requires an investment of money, resources and time.
How can B2B companies find their right mix of digital technology and strategies?
They should look for examples in their industries by networking with competitors to see what’s working for them and what’s not. They should identify what they like most in their industry and other industries. It’s important to understand what their customers need and stick to delivering that experience.
It helps B2B companies to work with a technology partner who can ask them the right questions. They should come to the table with a wish list and let their technology partner prioritize what’s important. And they shouldn’t try to tackle too many initiatives at once.
Human Element, for example, listens and guides B2B companies to the simplest solution that fits their business and budget. We also ensure that they understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
How can B2B companies be sure they choose technology that’s right for their business without overspending?
It’s important to choose the right platform. Different platforms offer different levels of functionality and features depending on the business type and sales volume. They should find a balance between the services and features they’re going to use — the more they add, the more they’ll spend on maintenance. A good technology partner will have a handle on what’s going on in the industry and be able to recommend a platform that’s a good fit and has staying power.
Setting realistic goals can keep companies from overspending on their B2B eCommerce site. In general, there seems to be an underestimation of the time, resources and effort required to complete an eCommerce project. As a business owner, they will need to engage with the website on an ongoing basis. There’s no option to “set it and forget it.”
What strategies do the most successful B2B eCommerce companies have in place?
Successful companies have a dedicated team managing their website. Websites today are more complex than ever. Software is dynamic and requires constant oversight. They need to have a team in place that can monitor SEO, customer and order data, platform upgrades, and security.
It’s also important to get educated before embarking on an eCommerce project. Companies should come with expectations but be willing to compromise. To keep the project manageable, they should stick to their core business and iterate on the technologies over time.
Want to learn more? Schedule a no-obligation, complimentary consultation with our eCommerce expert. We’ll talk to you about where you are in your eCommerce journey and you’ll come away with recommendations for the next steps.