B2B digital commerce is on the upswing; in fact, Forrester predicts that the US B2B e-commerce market will reach $1.13 trillion by 2020.
Well, there are many factors fueling B2B e-commerce expansion: Outshining competition, generating higher conversions, and driving the bottom line. Perhaps the most important reason why B2B e-commerce has become the center of attention is because consumer-driven digital commerce is now an expectation.
After all, B2B buyers are also B2C buyers, and “Amazon-like” experiences have become the norm.
Because of this, most B2B businesses are moving towards modern technology that will meet buyer demands and scale business processes.
Digital commerce solutions: 4 questions you must ask
If you’re considering creating, migrating or implementing a B2B digital commerce solution, here are four questions you may want to ask.
1.) Buy or build my B2B e-commerce solution?
When your business embarks on digital transformation, you’ll need to determine if you should build your e-commerce solution in-house, or work with a vendor.
You may first lean towards building your own e-commerce platform, in order to maintain control and flexibility. If building in-house, executives must evaluate their internal talent and capacity by asking:
– Does my internal development and IT team have the expertise required to deliver against the project?
– Do they understand the scope of the project?
– Is there capacity for the project amongst existing priorities?
If your team is unable to meet these requirements, your business will have to fund the hiring, on-boarding, and technology needed to build a sustainable digital commerce solution.
Alternatively, you can work with a vendor. Vendors are experts in the e-commerce space – always one step ahead when it comes to innovation and market needs, advising your business on how to iterate, and react to demand. Moreover, your e-commerce vendor provides the software, implementation, and ongoing support you’ll need to bring a solid digital commerce platform to market.
2.) Should I hire a B2B e-commerce agency or consultant?
Buying or building an e-commerce platform is the first of many complexities involved in B2B digital transformation. A B2B digital commerce agency or consultancy can guide your organization.
These partners will assess your business needs, conduct customer research and competitive analyses, and rely on industry best practices to design a customized roadmap for business digital transformation tailored to your unique organization. A B2B e-commerce agency will ensure that your investment goes far, and that you have a thorough understanding of the do’s and don’t’s of digital commerce platform deployments.
3.) How do I select the right e-commerce platform for my business?
The complexity and size of your business will influence what e-commerce platform is the best fit. The most important factor is that your e-commerce platform provider can integrate all digital and physical customer touch-points – from online, to mobile, to point-of-sale, to call center, to social media, and print – all onto one robust platform.
4.) What do I need for implementation and/or migration?
Once you select your e-commerce platform, you’ll need to find a partner that can assist with implementation and/or migration.
For most businesses, the end goal is quick go-to-market time with an effective solution that improves customer experience. You’ll want to source an experienced partner, with the bandwidth to prioritize your project.