Choosing a B2B ecommerce platform can be a challenge. Every ecommerce vendor tells you that they can handle your B2B ecommerce site–but how do you know for sure?
To make it easier for you to select the B2B ecommerce platform that best meets your organization’s needs, I’ve compiled the top ten capabilities that you should look for in an ecommerce solution. Making sure that your ecommerce platform covers these bases will put you in the best possible position for success in ecommerce.
Here are the first five capabilities you need from a B2B ecommerce platform:
Tiered pricing capability served up based on user credentials
This is a biggie, so I’m putting it at the top of my list. Most B2B companies offer different pricing schedules depending on who is placing the order. The pricing that is offered might hinge on order volume, type of customer, or on negotiated pricing. The ability of an ecommerce platform to handle a variety of pricing schedules and serve up the right one based on user credentials is essential for B2B ecommerce success.
Customizable search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO plays a big role in how your ecommerce site ranks in search engine results. Choosing an ecommerce platform that allows you to customize URLs, meta data, and on-page SEO will ensure that your site has the best chance of ranking high—and getting the click—when potential customers search your keywords.
Site security (PCI DSS / PA-DSS)
Site security is one of the most important considerations in ecommerce – both B2B and B2C—today. Making sure that your ecommerce platform is secure and has been deemed safe by the appropriate governing body (PCI DSS or PA-DSS) is critical. Not knowing how your ecommerce platform handles sensitive information could put your organization at risk. Ask the hard questions before you choose a provider.
Comprehensive search is a critical component of any successful ecommerce site and this is especially true for B2B ecommerce. B2B ecommerce sites may sell hundreds of varieties of a particular widget. Getting the shopper to the most appropriate widget as quickly as possible increases the potential of getting the sale. Look for an ecommerce platform that provides faceted search, advanced search, “quiz” based product locators and the option to select specific product features that return results that meet that criteria.
Integration ensures that your B2B ecommerce site communicates seamlessly with your ERP, CRM, accounting, shipping and other back-end systems. Without it, someone at your organization is responsible for duplicate data entry into any of the above—or possibly all of the above—unique systems. Integration streamlines the process, makes you more effective (not to mention profitable) and eliminates the exposure to errors brought on by manual data entry. Don’t leave this step to the end—make sure your ecommerce provider can handle your enterprise-level integration by securing active references that match your organization in size and complexity.