With the e-commerce market surging, many B2B companies are scrambling to get in on the action. As a result, even those who have an established online presence are feeling the pressure to improve their websites and stay ahead of the new competition. In fact, Forrester research predicts spending on e-commerce software to nearly double by 2019, reaching more than $2 billion before the decade comes to a close.
To make sure your company's investment pays off, follow these four steps as you shop for your next e-commerce solution:
1. Determine what your business needs: B2B e-commerce providers offer a seemingly never-ending stream of products and services. To help narrow the field down to only the solutions that will help your business achieve its goals, make a list of the things your company absolutely needs to get out of its investment in e-commerce software. Like taking a list to the grocery store, this will keep you from getting overwhelmed by services you don't need and help you stick to those that will directly improve your KPIs.
2. Evaluate your IT resources: Before you can commit to what might appear to be the perfect e-commerce solution for your business, make sure you're not biting off more than you can chew. If you have a substantial IT department with time to take on a new project, you might be able to build and host your own, custom solution. However, smaller businesses with more constraints on their IT resources might do better partnering with a SaaS vendor. Take a look at not only the amount of work it will take to implement the solution, but also how much maintenance the software will require over its lifespan.
3. Calculate system costs (beyond implementation): According to Forrester research, online retailers and Web sellers end up spending as much as five times more for services and maintenance related to their e-commerce solution than they did for the software itself. This is especially important when considering B2B payment solutions, as even small differences in processing fees per transaction can add up in a hurry. Make sure you choose a payment processor that is committed to helping you achieve the lowest possible interchange rates on every transaction.
4. Ensure any new software is compatible with your existing technology: Most B2B wholesalers build e-commerce solutions that end up looking like a patchwork quilt, with as many as a dozen solutions combining to bring login authentication, product recommendation, business card credit processing and more to a single site. Before you can add another service to the mix, make sure it does not interfere with the other software running on your site. One way to make sure an addition won't throw off your existing functionality is to test the software in a sandbox environment. By choosing a solution that allows you to test its API settings in a risk-free sandbox, you can avoid costly errors in your production environment.
Contact Vantage B2B today to learn more about our business e-commerce checkout solutions.