eCommerce Integration Challenges faced by B2B
The challenges that many B2B companies face when integrating eCommerce with business systems
As a B2B business, integrating your eCommerce platform with your business systems can lead to many benefits. Providing better customer service, having a greater understanding of customers’ wants and needs, and marketing more efficiently are just a few of the possible perks that result from integrating eCommerce with ERP and CRM software. B2B eCommerce continues to trend toward providing a customer experience on par with B2C, however, the underlying business need for moderate to extensive customization in B2B means that these platforms require significant attention to customer experience throughout. Before being able to reap the customer experience rewards of integration, your business may face a few issues and growing pains when attempting to integrate. Below are few challenges that a business to business company faces when trying to integrate its business systems with eCommerce.
High Upfront Costs
One of the many reasons that B2B companies put off integrating their eCommerce platform with the business systems is the high upfront costs. Hiring a development company to complete the integration can cost a significant amount depending on how complex the integration needs are and how many pieces of software need to be integrated with your eCommerce. You may also need to purchase a different eCommerce platform or type of software in order to get the integration as tight as you want it, which could be another hefty expense. Finally training your I.T. department and employees that have to use to new systems all factor into the costs of integrating eCommerce and business systems.
Need for New Platforms and/or Software
As I mentioned before, your B2B business may find the need to purchase a new eCommerce platform or ERP or CRM software. Some B2B businesses chose to only invest in and develop simple eCommerce sites when they were first testing the waters of selling online. Those simple sites are usually built with eCommerce platforms that aren’t able to handle custom integrations. When this happens, it sometimes warrants the need for a more robust platform to be put in place. This can seem like another daunting challenge but keep in mind that your eCommerce platform can greatly affect how well the integration works and not upgrading can hold your business back. One of the motives for integrating is to grow the business, and many platforms are simply not capable of scaling up as needed. There is an upfront cost, but it is an investment that can have a huge ROI.
Getting Everyone On Board
One of the most difficult tasks before beginning an integration for many B2B businesses is trying to get everyone on board. Besides being opposed to the upfront costs of an integration, some top level executives and employees may be resistant to changing the business model that they have used for so long. Stakeholders need to understand that the integration is a tool to help the business grow and operate more efficiently. Everyone needs to be on the same page and understand the need, how it can be used to benefit their department, who will be in charge of it, and how much it will cost, to avoid any surprises or misunderstandings.
Once every team is on board, the next step is planning the implementation in order to maximize the benefit to customer experience. B2B companies in particular tend to require robust customization efforts. You are likely to need a customized checkout, for instance if you tend to process large payments automating the process can be cumbersome. Customer specific quote or pricing functions can require human estimations that mean a need for custom workflows. Customer accounts might need custom roles assigned to individual users so that workflows can be established for the purchasing process. While these are extreme examples, they highlight the needs that can arise in providing a great customer experience in B2B eCommerce. Even if you have a strong I.T. department, it is best to find a development company to take on such a large and complex task. Finding a seasoned web development firm that has plenty of experience handling integrations saves your B2B business a great deal of time and money in the long run.
Clarity Can Help
Clarity has worked with numerous B2B eCommerce businesses that needed to integrate their existing systems with their eCommerce platform. Our team of experts listened to their questions and concerns, helped determine exactly what kind of integrations they needed, and created a custom solution to help them achieve business efficiency and customer satisfaction. And our experienced professionals aren’t our only strength, Clarity has built highly robust technology too. Our middleware platform, Clarity Connect, can help connect virtually any business system with your eCommerce platform while our eCommerce platform, Clarity eCommerce, can be used by both B2C and B2B businesses. To find out more about Clarity or to schedule an integration consultation for your B2B company, call or click to contact us today!