The B2B commerce landscape has shifted dramatically over the recent years and there has been a significant increase in the adoption of digital platforms. With the growing need to tailor the user experience to remain competitive, how do you prepare for the shift towards e-commerce?
Although it can seem like quite a daunting task, there are a few key considerations that will help guide you in the right direction. Understanding the importance of each of these factors and planning thoroughly will help you evaluate your options before taking the leap.
1. Choose The Right Platform For Your Business
Not all e-commerce platforms will fit every business and the technology that you choose should be driven by the nature and specific needs of your business. Despite some businesses initially focusing on the minimum viable product (MVP), which only contains features required for initial success, it’s crucial for businesses to evaluate the platform’s ongoing ability to support future growth.
Comparing key features and functionalities across different e-commerce platforms will help to identify which ones are best suited to support your business in the long run, especially when considering your plans to expand and scale. Determining the suitability of platforms also comes down to cost and flexibility, enabling your companies to adapt to changing trends and customer expectations rather than being locked into a specific strategy or vendor.
2. Think Practically About Its Role In Your Company Strategy
While a lot of brands are aware of the importance of moving sales online, too often they rush into making decisions without really being aware of how they will work or their consequences. E-commerce does not simply involve selling on Amazon or having an online store, rather it is an active process that requires a solid strategy, constant optimisation, and dedicated resources.
Prior to the decision or implementation of a new e-commerce platform, businesses should perform an assessment of their day-to-day operations as they currently stand. This will help to identify any potential opportunities for improvement and ensure the investment is a good strategic move aligned with other business decisions. The success of the implementation relies heavily on coordination and collaboration between teams, with a clear strategy and key milestones in place.
3. Realise the Importance of a Marketing Plan
Making the move to launch a new e-commerce platform is not a decision that’s made lightly, which makes it all the more vital for businesses to take a real look at the state their brand is in, the demographics of their current customer base, and the recognisability of their products. It’s important to steer clear of the false assumption that the very existence of an e-commerce platform will be enough to draw an audience.
A defined strategy needs to be put in place and clear objectives should be established. Is the priority to convert offline customers into online customers? Will it play a key role in the launch of new products? Is the main aim to acquire and drive traffic? Starting to think about the answers to these questions will help to identify your company’s priorities and set you up on the path to success. This will also help to realise the importance of connecting content and commerce to meet these goals.
The successful launch is dependent on having a thorough plan right from the beginning and having a sufficient budget for marketing. In the event that either of these are not in place or available, postponing the launch of an e-commerce platform should be considered to give yourself a better chance of success.
4. Expect and Plan for Constant Optimisation
As with everything digital in the modern age, progress and development has consistently been on the rise for online shopping. The whole industry is continually kept on its toes by the innovations being rolled out by tech giants such as Instagram and Amazon.
The constant tracking of performance is of vital importance for all businesses. This applies to testing with marketing and the overall user experience, with the main aim of optimising based upon what is learned from analysing the data.
The launch of an extensible platform such as Liferay is a good way to plan ahead for the complete lifecycle as well as the lifetime value of customers. A business needs to fully understand what it is that drives traffic and conversions, as well as the impact of user experience on customer retention. Such crucial insights can be delivered by regular A/B testing.
From the initial planning stages, it’s important to keep in mind that optimisation will be required in two major areas over time in order to stay competitive – the platform via the addition of new features, and the business with the addition of new options, products and services. Platforms that evolve with the times are the platforms that endure.
Ready to Launch an E-Commerce Platform?
With these key considerations in mind, your company will be well equipped to define its B2B e-commerce strategy and ensure it aligns with the overall company strategy. Understanding your current business needs will help to evaluate the suitability of certain B2B e-commerce platforms, but it’s also crucial to consider the unique potential of each platform to help you scale and grow in the future.