Last updated: 3 steps to choosing your B2B e-commerce vendor

3 steps to choosing your B2B e-commerce vendor


Listen to article

Download audio as MP3

Recently, we talked about the B2B digital transformation in terms of creating cross-functional teams and how to prepare for a B2B e-commerce initiative. Vendor analysis is the next critical stage of building out your e-commerce initiative, and includes the qualification and selection of your platform vendor and system integrator. The cross-functional team must assume the role of choosing and bringing on board one or more organizations that will become your development partner, platform supplier, and integration team.

This stage answers the question, “Who will be building the website?” I like to break this down into three components: People, process, and technology.

The commerce platform itself is just one piece of a larger organizational structure. The individual or sub-team responsible for the commerce system won’t have expertise in everything. The supply chain team will make critical decisions, and the finance group will be best equipped to make budget and capital decisions. Your IT team will determine how to manage all of the integrations. By bringing the right people to the table to make sure all stakeholders have given their input, everyone will feel that their needs were considered and that their voices were heard along the way.

It’s important to work with the “A Team” at the vendor. You want their best people working with you. It’s not only important to choose the right vendor, but to choose the right people within the vendor. That means people that have experience doing the things they need to for your particular business. I would interview them and look at their background, to make sure they’re a good fit for your project.

The next part of this stage is the process stage, and you really want to understand who your project manager is going to be, and how they’re going to prioritize all the changes that are coming into the project. I’m not necessarily an expert in agile versus waterfall methodology, but I can tell you that agile gives you flexibility when requirements change.

I also think you should build an MVP – a Minimum Viable Product. Don’t wait six months to make it perfect and then put it in front of a customer to get feedback on all those features and functionality you think they wanted. Do it in two months, get something in front of them, and start getting feedback early in the process, so that you can change and improve it.

The final piece of this stage is technology. It’s obviously what the vendor brings to the table. But it’s also all the pieces that go into the technology piece. Is the technology matching your business? Will it match where you’re going to be in three to five years? You have to make sure that the upgrade path matches where your business is going to be with the e-commerce platform.

Every digital moment matters.
Are you making the most of them?

1,000 business leaders dish on how to stand out from the crowd with a great CX. Get the details HERE. 

Share this article


Search by Topic beginning with