In general, many businesses first jump in or expect results from B2B eCommerce without fully understanding how different B2B is from direct to consumer (D2C) selling. With B2B eCommerce growing at an accelerated pace, a clear and sophisticated B2B integration strategy is key to creating great shopping experiences.
Torrey Lepenskie takes you through the 5 things B2B eCommerce Merchants should know about integrating B2B processes.
1. Know Your Strategic Goals
For B2B Merchants in eCommerce, the way their data flows between their eCommerce platform and other applications and systems changes and is different than DTC brands. Creating strategic goals that take into account B2B’s unique aspects is first and foremost key to being successful in the B2B space.
2. Choose Your eCommerce Platform Wisely
Have you chosen an eCommerce platform that supports B2B businesses? Does that platform support all your back-end systems, warehouses, and applications with robust APIs? If you don’t know the answer to those questions, make sure to take your time and research the functionality and flexibility of each platform. Make sure the platform fits your needs, rather than changing your business to fit a pre-defined box of features.
Torrey takes you through the 5 things B2B eCommerce Merchants should know about integrating B2B processes.
3. Are My Legacy Systems Holding Me Back?
Merchants who are growing more sophisticated often hold on to technology that, may have served them well in the past, is now hindering their growth potential.
It can take a long time for an organization to upgrade an ERP or shift operations to a new system but if that old system has weak APIs and is preventing you from integrating or interfacing with new applications like your chosen eCommerce platform, it’s a sign that the time has come to move on past old legacy systems.
4. I Am Using The Cutting Edge of APIs
Similar to leaving old legacy systems behind, your new applications, platforms, and systems should be equipt with the most modern APIs and file types. This ensures when you begin to integrate systems together and automate workflows, effective communication between systems can now be done with efficiency and agility.
5. I Have Mapped Out My Data Across My Organization
Knowing where your customer data comes from and mapping out where that data needs to move to and live in all other applications gives you a 360-degree perspective of how essential that data is, who touches it, where it needs to be, and how it needs to move between applications.
Your data is the lifeblood of your business and in the B2B space, there are often added layers of complexity and specific business rules that need to be taken into consideration. Taking the time and doing this data exercise will inform you eCommerce integration strategy, giving you a clearer picture of how integration can help you achieve your business goals.
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With 26+ years of integration experience, VL OMNI can help you develop a strategic plan that takes into consideration what your existing technical infrastructure can handle and invest in technology that has the capability to give you strategic results.