The ecommerce landscape and range of choices of platform now available on the market is now significant.

Manufacturers and wholesalers when facing the decision to invest in a brand-new ecommerce portal, shift platforms or upgrade their ecommerce presence are confronted with a huge amount of choice.

So, what exactly are the key questions B2B should be asking to ensure they land the right decision for their business now and in the future?

Using our experience as a Magento Enterprise partner, and our many years of creating high performing B2B websites since 2009 along with information from the Forrester Wave™ B2B Commerce Suites 2017 publication, we look at a few of the considerations companies need to take and the typical businesses choosing Magento on which to build their B2B Trade Portal.

For many businesses nowadays, ecommerce has become a critical part of their sales mix. A channel to grow sales from their existing customer base and acquire new trade customers.   With the digital landscape evolving rapidly, many distributors and manufacturers are investing more heavily than ever before in upgrading and re-platforming their ecommerce infrastructure to accelerate growth from their digital channel and keep up with the ever-growing demands of their trade customers.

There is now the expectation that ecommerce platforms will cater to the known B2B basics such as displaying ecommerce catalogue, trade portal for logged in trade customers, quantity break pricing, customer pricing tiers, shopping baskets offering payment on account, range of delivery options.

However, businesses and shoppers demands go way beyond these basic commodities online.  Ecommerce platforms should now be able to offer deeper analytics, seamless B2C like UX journeys, rich customer service experiences, capable of technical and complex integrations for back office fulfilment and order processing and offer innovative multi-channel customer experiences.

Whether you are a B2B starting out selling online to your trade customers for the first time or an experienced online B2B company looking to continue extending your operation online, we are seeing increased demand for more sophisticated B2B commerce technology that caters to the following.

B2B want more personalisation

Via website and mobile, websites that can detect locations and show individual depot stock are on the rise.  Serving up tailored promotional activity to specific buyer segments is great for driving incremental sales.  Plus, so much more.  Ecommerce platforms that can cater to trade customers with personalised buying experiences through either management of customer data or through the front-end experience should be considered, certainly for the long-term future potential for your online business.

To be able to sell across the Full Spectrum.

Trade customers want convenience and choice. They want to liaise with the sales rep as needed for more complex purchases, but then use the website for top-up orders. They want a website available 24/7 to browse the catalogue and check stock levels They want choice in the way they interact with the business maybe via social media, online chat, telesales, email marketing and by phone.

Faster time to market

B2Bs don’t want to wait months and months for their new or upgraded ecommerce platform. Demand is rising for cloud based platforms, that are modern and can be implemented in a modular way.  PaaS (platform-as-a-service) where the ecommerce provider manages the solution in a single tenant cloud or SaaS (software-as-a-service) implementations where the ecommerce provider manages the solution in a multi-tenant environment are becoming increasingly common.

All in one.

Many B2Bs don’t want to be dealing with multiple agencies anymore. They are looking for one ecommerce suite that can deal with ecommerce management, marketing, experience management, order management, analytics and integration and ideally one partner who can capably support the implementation of both ecommerce and integration, including ongoing support for hosting, security and maintenance.

Forrester has placed Magento as a leader and a strong performer in its latest B2B Commerce Suites Research mentioning that Magento is the preferred product for companies looking for affordable alternatives to traditional enterprise ecommerce solutions.

The release of Magento 2 also available in the cloud offers increased scalability over Magento 1 and certainly enables Magento to compete more assertively in the both the enterprise level B2B and B2C spaces.  Whilst there have been challenges with the launch of Magento 2, Magento 1 users are now making the migration to Magento 2, which offers a step change in performance capability and the huge variety of extensions to use via its marketplace, that extend Magento 2’s functionality capabilities across a huge range of features is a real advantage for many companies.

Whilst many businesses express concern about the investment required to move from Magento 1 to Magento 2, Magento is a comprehensive, scalable, customisable and affordable ecommerce platform on which B2Bs can confidently scale their business online as it evolves and grows.

Discover B2Bs who have chosen Magento Commerce to power their ecommerce operation.