The Current Situation
Based on what happened in 2020, we can all agree that eCommerce is here to stay and ever-evolving. Because so many of us were staying home for the majority of the year, most turned to eCommerce for their everyday needs. Now that the year has passed you might think things would go back to the way they were before. They haven’t and they won’t. Forrester projects that by 2023, B2B eCommerce will be worth $1.8 trillion in the U.S. and represent 17% of total U.S. B2B sales.
Customers are now expecting or even demanding online storefronts for everything from books to food and all areas in between. Because of this, many businesses have come to understand that survival depends on satisfying the needs of their customers with their online stores. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, now is the time to consider launching or upgrading your digital eCommerce solution so you don’t fall behind your competitors.
How Do I Start?
Whether you’re just launching a storefront or upgrading, it’s all about planning. Let’s face it, customers are more complicated than ever, they can browse and shop anywhere from multiple devices, and both the customer and their needs change all the time. As do yours. So, we first need to look at your goals, objectives, and opportunities.
What do you want to accomplish with a new system?
Existing problems, challenges or gaps and opportunities. It’s possible to think in terms of what will be fixed or resolved with a new eCommerce service and what opportunities would be available, at the same time.
Where do you want your business to be in 5 years?
And, how does a new platform fit into that future planning. How central of a role will it play going forward?
How will you utilize your sales team after launch?
The sales team may be concerned about its role and how it will change going forward. Defining new roles, updating responsibilities and encouraging the team to consider an investment in a digital storefront as something that can help them sell more is the right approach to take.
How will you utilize customer data derived from a new solution?
Think about how you can use that data to sell more to existing customers.
What opportunities will you take advantage of after launch?
Now would be the time to address items you previously put on the back burner.
Remember that eCommerce works well for both sellers and buyers when there is a seamless integration of:
What Features Should I Include in My Initial Launch?
Okay, so we all know we can’t always get everything we want right from the start. So you’re most likely going to have to leave a few things on the table when you initially launch. However, there are a few ‘must-haves’ for any eCommerce launch or even upgrade again, whether you’re going B2B or B2C.
The Slatwall Commerce + Tekton Labs partnership has spent a lot of time figuring out what features you NEED for a successful initial launch. They include:
A mobile-friendly solution
Having a solution that works on all mobile devices is no longer a ‘nice-to-have,’ it’s a necessity.
A self-service customer portal
Yes, your customers want access to you, but only when they choose. First and foremost they want a system where they can check on their account when they want/need to.
Product catalog tools and management
Your initial launch must include an easy-to-browse product catalog with filtering, sorting, and search. Yes, for your customers, but also for your business. Make sure your system makes it easy for you to manage your product catalog so updates and changes are simple.
Shopping, ordering, and quote building
Make sure you make it easy for your customers to do all of the above. Many first-timers neglect including the ability to quote build.
Tools to ensure a great customer experience
Your customers want things quick and easy. Make sure your solution gives them both.
Pricing management and pricing levels
Often you need to treat customers differently according to their orders, etc. A good eCommerce platform will allow you to adjust costs and discounts.
Tools, reporting, and analytics
The best eCommerce platforms include a variety of tools that report the movements of your customers. A good platform should allow you to track what customers order, what they reorder, what they search for, etc. In addition, your platform should provide you access to ALL of your data, not just some of it. These analytics are priceless for your marketing team.
Okay, I’m Ready. What’s Next?
We’ve already talked about how important planning is when upgrading or launching a business-to-business or business-to-consumer eCommerce solution. So what’s next? In a recent article, ‘5 Ways to Launch B2B eCommerce Affordably,’ we talk about what to think about next.
Functionality and Feature Prioritization: Really think about what you need then prioritize the list.
Design: There’s no need to get fancy. The fewer features and elements you try to cram into your initial design, the longer it’s going to take and the more expensive it’s going to become.
Your Product Catalog: Limit it. There often isn’t a need to get every single product you have into your first launch. Like we said above, doing that can add time and cost.
Data: Take the time to figure out how much data you need to launch. It may not be as much as you think. You need to manage how you handle data. If you’re missing data that’s critical to selling or customer service, it’ll negatively impact your selling goals.
Enter Slatwall Commerce + Tekton B2B Kickstart
The partnership between Slatwall Commerce and Tekton Labs is a powerful one. Tekton’s skills and services in creating digital solutions for complex business challenges combined with Slatwall’s headless commerce platform and sales portal for both manufacturers and distributors will drive immediate sales impact to your business by:
Providing that all-important customer portal
Helping you get online quickly
Supplying you with a complete B2B or B2C Feature set
In short, everything we’ve discussed up to now.
We hate to say it, but too many eCommerce launches are plagued by poor planning and after-the-fact problem-solving. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Slatwall Commerce + Tekton team can quickly and efficiently deliver the perfect solution for your upgrade or launch. And when we say quickly? We mean in as little as two months. In addition, we support you with product data import, setup and optimization, and provide a dedicated Account Manager.
Learn more about how Tekton and Slatwall Commerce work together to provide the ideal solution for your business.