April 10, 2020

B2B commerce expert and author, Brian Beck on the criteria for evaluating a B2B commerce platform

Brian: Companies really have to carefully think about a process when they’re first selecting a B2B ecommerce platform or whether they’re replatforming. TThere’s a number of considerations they need to think through when they first start the process. Having been in this business for 20 years, I’ve made the mistake of just sort of jumping into the next greatest thing with a platform and really not taking a thoughtful process up front. So, first and foremost, it’s critical to understand your objectives, and center that on your customers needs. So you want to think about first and foremost, do you have the customers needs documented? Do you understand how they want to use the web, both in buying from you and also support and aligning with other selling channels? The web is used commonly used today as a research tool, for example, for companies that are buying from the other other sources, the sales force of the call center, other places, even in retail channels. So first and foremost, it’s important to understand the objectives and how your customers looking to use your e commerce and digital channels. Secondly, it’s very important to follow a path of careful selection and looking at the looking at the universe of available options. What I find today is that flexibility is one of the most important things in an e commerce platform selection process. And at the end of the day, where you know, where companies often land is with the, with the with the platform that will allow them to be most flexible in the fields of the future, because you can’t always know what’s coming. And one of the things I love about the digital and e commerce businesses, it’s always changing. So you will need something that’s going to give you that flexibility and taking the time upfront to really understand what are those requirements that you have today and carefully evaluating your platform options against that, with keeping that flexibility in mind, oftentimes, you know, features have become largely commodities. And having done this probably three dozen times for different companies over the last few years, helping them select a platform, I’ve learned that it’s critical to to really understand the those those features and functionalities, but then ultimately, those features and functionalities don’t make the decision. It’s more about the cultural fit the flexibility of the platform, and and really future proofing your business. So that’s why I say flexibility is really the most important factor.

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