b2b_choicesWhether your product is bottles of lemonade or festive bikinis for the summer; if you’re new to e-commerce it is important to have a plan when selecting your e-commerce platform.

There is no doubt that online stores are growing popularity versus offline; Nielsen confirms this with this research and offers up some of the browse to buy rates for specific goods and services. Recent emerging trends indicate that B2B customers are seeking more of the e-commerce experience as opposed to shopping offline.

B2B ecommerce has several types of customers, each with their individual requirements for how they define their success. These customer types include B2B consumers (the company plans to resell the product or service to them), wholesalers/distributors who will sell your products and services to other B2B companies and dealers who sometimes resells the company’s product for them.

Knowing your customers, here’s a few things to consider when selecting the best e-commerce platform for your online B2B store.

  1. What are your company’s objectives for the e-commerce store? It is important to know what you want to achieve when you’re building an e-commerce store. Choosing the platform with the best deployment method for your store will ensure your business needs and your brand objectives are supported.
  2. Is the Platform best for B2B e-commerce? The platform you choose should have documented successful experience meeting the demands of e-commerce online stores. Conduct your own research to see what similar online stores are using and if the platforms of their choice have sufficient experience to meet the demands of an e- commerce store such as a high traffic volume, search engine optimization and mobile friendliness. B2B stores operate best on an open source platform such as Magento. The demands of an online B2B store are much greater than that of a B2C. Magento software caters to this need with such benefits as bulk order management and inventory tracking across multiple warehouse locations.
  3. Is the platform customizable? For companies like Zoetis, it was important to have an online B2B store that provides a B2C experience for their customers. Catering to the needs of veterinary professionals in over 50 countries 24/7, they needed an e-commerce platform that provided world class customer experience, met the needs of their complex business rules, promotions and 40+ database feeds. The best option for them was to use the Magento Enterprise Edition to implement their online store.
  4. Can you integrate any existing software into your new platform? Integration is very important to the success of your online store. Large businesses that are typical users of B2B e-commerce platforms understand that integration of pre-existing software such as your CRM to your back office is critical. Building an IT environment that improves company efficiency is very important; if your existing software does not integrate with the new e-commerce platform it will impact your overall result negatively.
  5. Does the platform provide the best user experience for your customers? Today’s customers expect and demand a user experience that is second to none when they visit e-commerce stores. The platform chosen for your store should provide such experiences as one click purchasing for both software and professional training providing for an easier buyer experience. Staying up to date on how buyers utilize the internet in non B2B environments will enhance the B2B experience.

When choosing a B2B e-commerce platform choose a platform with a proven success rate of developing B2B e-commerce stores and can adapt to the changing needs of your company.

Here at Redstage, as Shopify Plus Partner and Magento Gold Partner, we believe that either of these great platforms may be the right fit for your B2B store. Give us a call anytime and we can go over the options, features and considerations for each to find the perfect platform for your business.