If you’ve made the decision to embrace ecommerce, smart move. Digital commerce can significantly improve sales, loyalty, and revenue as B2B buyers continue to demand seamless B2C-like buying experiences online. In fact, one study found that 83% of B2B buyers will pay more to purchase with businesses that offer a robust commerce experience.
Know your customers, business, and technology
Before making key technology decisions, you’ll need to explore and evaluate specific areas of your business. Your customer requirements, business process ownership structure, and ability to embrace agile software will influence your ecommerce implementation plans.
Gain a clear understanding of your customers’ needs
First, identify the business engagement needs for key segments of customers. This will require conversations with leaders of each business unit. Determine what their customers’ biggest pain points are, and how they think their customers would best benefit from digital. From there, prioritize needs across business units.
Do department leaders want low-frequency customers to order more? Or do they want to reduce the cost of service for enterprise customers? Which of these needs are more important for increasing digital sales immediately? With insights into the customers who will participate in the eCommerce experience, you can make the right platform decisions and prioritize features to include in your minimum viable product (MVP).
Determine who owns key business processes
It’s also important to understand who owns key business processes. Look into who owns processes such as information security requirements, regulatory data considerations, digital system integrations, and more. You’ll want to understand the inner workings of each of those key areas to effectively advise about ecommerce technology for your business.
Most often, a variety of stakeholders are involved in each business process, creating a situation in which you have competing priorities or an unclear vision about what your company’s current infrastructure can support. But with a better grasp on the individuals that own each process, you can improve your ability to develop a plan for rolling out the new system.
Adopt and embrace agile software
Your company is probably already engaged in agile software development. To pave the way for ecommerce, continue to embrace and aggressively adopt agile software development methodology. Advocate for architecture strategies and technologies that allow for an MVP approach to your project.
With an MVP approach, you’ll launch your digital system quickly with the bare minimum features that address your customers’ most pressing needs immediately. From there, you can collect feedback and release new iterations over time. An MVP approach helps you ensure that you’re meeting customers’ needs before getting too far into the project. Complete system overhauls, on the other hand, typically take too long to launch and risk completely missing the mark when it comes to your customers’ needs.
The MVP approach is not possible without agile ecommerce software. Coupled with the information you’ve uncovered in steps one and two, the right software will help you deliver the system that’s best for your customers and ultimately your business.
B2B buyers want easier, more convenient options to browse, research, and purchase products. Businesses that provide advanced ecommerce sites will gain a leg up as the B2B sector evolves. As a CIO, it’s important that you do the work upfront to make sure the ecommerce technologies you invest in will generate the most ROI for your business.
Learn more about how Salesforce B2B Commerce can help you embrace digital today.