Enterprise E-Commerce Platforms, what b2b e-commerce platforms need
The MUST HAVE eCommerce Platform Attributes for Enterprise Businesses
An Advanced Online eCommerce Catalog System
The first thing you need to make sure your eCommerce platform of choice contains is support for an advanced eCommerce catalog.
Here's some key features to look out for in ascertaining whether or not your eCommerce catalog system is state-of-the-art:
- Product SKUs: Enterprise companies have product stock keeping units (or SKUs) that range from thousands to millions. An advanced eCommerce catalog will have native support for a large number of SKUs. Additionaly, the online catalog system should be able to dynamically pull data for efficient, real-time analyzation. This is especially important given the immediate nature of eCommerce purchases and the need to know the availability of a particular product variant.
- Product Categories: these are important for two reasons. First is the user experience. A eCommerce website visitor may become frustrated and confused with too few, broad product categories that do not help the consumer quickly find the product for which they're looking. Second, well organized eCommerce website catalogs with logical product categories are scored higher for ranking in search engine results. Make sure your eCommerce platform offers a large number of categories for products in your catalog and that these categories are easy to add, edit, and replace.
- Product Tags: eCommerce product tags have a variety of benefits for your website. They make products easier to find, can help increase average order size, serve to reduce shopping cart abandonment, and enhance website SEO. Your eCommerce catalog should allow for a large number of tags, as a enterprise businesses carry many products with several variants which all require a few tags.
- Number of Products Allowed: Clearly the ability to list your products in your online store is obvious. However, some catalogs do not support online ordering (not that you'd miss this either). The only thing to really look out for here is the total number of products allowed. Some eCommerce platforms have price ranges depending on the number of products you want to offer online.
- Customer Specific Pricing: Given the nature of typical B2B relationships, which vary from contract to contract, this is potentially the most important feature for which to look. The premise is relatively simple: whenever a recognized customer visits the site or logs into their buyer profile, the eCommerce catalog dynamically pulls the information and other relevant data from the database in order to display pricing in line with the negotiated contract. In practice, this is a difficult implementation, which is why many platforms will not offer this feature natively. If developed after-market, this feature can be quite costly.
Native eCommerce Marketing and Analytics Features
This is another key feature for enterprise eCommerce website platforms which is often overlooked. eCommerce marketing and analytics features
allow your marketing teams to collect strategic data and business intelligence from your online store without the technical acumen that requires most companies to hire expensive, niche professionals. These features are crucial to success and, if the platform is top of line, will be easy for your teams to use:
- Built-In Blogging Software: Any online marketer will tell you that having a blog is absolutely essential for eCommerce and online success. Blogs help you build your brand, connect with customers, stay relelvant, fresh and engaging, and help you create SEO value for your business.
- Marketing Dashboard: For increased efficiency for your marketing team, it is highly recommended that your eCommerce marketing team have the ability to access all relevant information from one easy to use platform interface. This allows your team to simultaneously identify and fix or exploit problems and opportunities on your eCommerce website.
- Live Social Feeds: Live social feeds are very useful in communicating with customers and showcasing that ability to level with clients throughout the site. Psychologically speaking, live social feeds on an eCommerce website give customers the impression that the site is constantly monitored. This gives them the impression that if they have a problem, there is always someone there to support them. Live social feeds send off security, trust, and comfort signals and thereby increase willingness to buy.
- Social Buttons for eCommerce Products: Social buttons help make customers a vocal supporter of your products and services. Social buttons are essential if you plan to use social tools in any part of your marketing strategy.
- Responsive Online Store Design: If your website isn't responsive, stop reading this and act to make your website mobile friendly now. There is no getting around this one. You MUST have responsive or mobile friendly eCommerce design or you WILL lose sales. Period. You can click on the section article for more details, but a brief rundown of reasons would be: mobile makes up over half of internet traffic, people read emails (and follow email links to your store) on mobile devices, users like to switch between devices (saving items to a shopping cart as they browse on any device).
- Mobile Application Ready: You may not need an App right now, but you should get an eCommerce platform with app ready APIs in case you opt for one in the future. A platform without APP ready RESTful APIs can be a headache and make app development even more prohibitively expensive than it already is. 84% of mobile web traffic comes from apps (read: people like to browse the internet on mobile devices via apps). even enterprise eCommerce websites and business need to keep a close eye on this trend.
Cutting Edge Logistics Integrations
Enterprise companies are at their best when running at maximum efficiency. For enterprise eCommerce companies to achieve this, they need advanced, streamlined logistics integrations
- eCommerce Shipping Integrations: Shipping integrations are essential to running a tight online commerce ship. They can also drive customer happiness through self serve options, complete eCommerce site integration, seamless fulfillment process, and order status transparency, and extended functionality.
- International eCommerce: In the age of the world wide web there is no reason you shouldn't compete on a global stage. Rest assured that foreign companies are doing the same. An platform ready for international eCommerce will have multilingual displays, currency exchange calculations, and customs, duties and tax calculation integrations.
I hope you found this rundown of enterprise eCommerce platform necessities helpful. Please comment and let me know if you feel I left anything out!
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