Choosing a B2B eCommerce solution for your manufacturing operation is a difficult but important decision. Then add the choice of selecting an implementation partner for such a solution and it is very easy to be overwhelmed. There are many keys that one should consider before making this costly decision—here are six that we think every business should consider.
B2B eCommerce is a relatively new field, and it comes with many hazards. Any business looking for a partner should make sure that their proposed eCommerce solution can deal with a complex business environment like yours—that it doesn’t assume redundant transactions but can integrate and interact seamlessly with your ERP system.
Equally important is that it can showcase dynamic catalogs so that your customer can easily identify needed parts. Additionally, the B2B eCommerce platform should be able to not just create the transaction, but actively promote your parts, and give customer-specific pricing. It should support multiple physical sites and delivery locations and provide warehouse inventory levels. And last but certainly not least, it should generate reports easily, so that you can get a picture of your business climate at any given point.
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2. Accessibility and Communication.
Implementing a new manufacturing eCommerce solution is never a simple process. It requires a lot of diligence and care from your implementation partner. Make sure the provider you’re considering selecting is consistently available for questions. Before you begin, make sure both parties are in agreement about how available they will be once the site is up and running. Confirm their commitment to customer service is on par with or above their commitment to the eCommerce solution—you can also for references from past clients to evaluate their experiences.
3. User Experience.
Today’s customers are becoming more and more discerning when it comes shopping experience; a low-budget feel often leads consumers to believe that the product they are researching is of lesser quality than the competition. Your B2B eCommerce website should be easy to use for customers of any tech-savvy level; it should be intuitive and streamlined. Each component of the site should be visually appealing and make the customer take notice of your capacity for detail-management. Lastly, the site should have advanced search capabilities—make sure each facet of the design is easy and beautiful.
PRO TIP: Remember the modern B2B customer is not stationary and does not sit at a workstation to purchase their materials. More and more business is done on the fly—from tablets or mobile devices. Make sure that your B2B eCommerce platform is fully responsive and has the capability sell your products across any device at any time.
4. Integrated Solution.
Make sure your eCommerce software solution will be integrated into your existing business systems, instead of your systems and processes being expected to change to accommodate. Whether you utilize a robust ERP solution like SAP S4 Hana or product lifecycle management tool your eCommerce solution should be able to display needed information to your existing and potential customer shopping online.
One of the most nuanced parts of launching a new eCommerce website is making sure it represents your business and the intricacies that your business handles for customers. A B2B eCommerce solution should be adjustable and personalized for various types of customers—including different content based on their past buying habits. You’ll also want to check with your implementation provider to ensure your selected solution can deal with the scale, size, and scope of your industry.
Where most out-of-the-box eCommerce solutions fall flat is their ability to address the unexpected. As a team, GenAlpha has a long history of serving manufacturers, so we understand that every manufacturing business is unique and will pose different business requirements. Whether you need specific pop-up messaging capabilities to address customer account issues upon login or a one-off user experience for a “Contact Us” form your implementation partner and eCommerce solution should be able to address your requirements.
These are all important to keep in mind as you talk to different B2B eCommerce partners. If you have any questions about any of these considerations or any others you think are important, please get in touch with us.