B2B eCommerce sales are growing explosively, and most experts attribute that growth to companies that are borrowing design and user-experience tips from B2C playbooks and creating better user experiences for their customers. Every business buyer is also a consumer who often appreciates the conveniences and personalized design features that retail websites offer. However, there are real functional differences in how business platforms operate, so comparing the two marketing strategies is similar to comparing a car to an RV. Both types of transportation can get people to the store, but their underlying purposes, functionality and capabilities couldn't be more different.
This guide to building a B2B eCommerce platform explores those issues to educate company decision-makers about the benefits, risks and details of designing a world-class business platform. It's appropriate to note here that the guide often refers to business-to-business websites and operating software as "B2B eCommerce platforms" instead of websites, software and eCommerce stores or websites. That's because building a platform has many requirements that regular B2C commerce doesn't. For example, installing a software product -- regardless of features or advanced capabilities -- always has areas where customizations and configurability are needed. Each B2B platform has unique needs, sales processes, third-party integrations, enhanced shipping and handling requirements and other variables. No out-of-the-box software will adapt to every business, and only a few of the most basic operations can work within those limitations without changing their business processes to accommodate the software.
B2B eCommerce & Integrations understands these issues and developed this guide to expose planners to some of the intricacies involved in building, designing and launching a thriving B2B eCommerce solution. The company’s years of combined experience in developing B2B platforms and customizations have revealed deep insights into functionality, core features, custom features, front-end applications, back-office systems, the design process, deployment architecture, how to build a development team and how to select an operating platform.