5 B2B eCommerce Platform Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

By
Mandy Movahhed
November 30, 2018

At Handshake, we’ve been fortunate to have learned from thousands of B2B eCommerce platform implementations. Some of our best insights come from conversations with companies who come to us after their first attempt at a B2B eCommerce platform, with a different vendor, didn’t go as planned.

Here are the 5 most common mistakes we hear from companies who have previously rolled out B2B eCommerce platforms, but wish they had done things differently.

5 B2B eCommerce Platform Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Mistake #1: Deploying a B2B eCommerce platform that buyers don’t end up using.


Poor buyer adoption is by far the most common problem we see in initial B2B eCommerce platform implementations, and it is almost always because the buyer experience is not intuitive, inferior on a mobile device, and generally does not meet buyers’ standards in 2018.

A bad user experience is very straightforward to diagnose, because if you suffer from this problem, you just don’t see your buyers placing orders online.

The fix: Make sure your B2B eCommerce platform vendor provides a buyer experience that your customers can not only figure out, but also enjoy using. Modern B2B eCommerce platforms must be intuitive, focused on B2B selling workflows, and highly functional on mobile.

Mistake #2: Deploying a B2B eCommerce website and mobile app that don’t talk to each other.


Modern manufacturers and distributors know that it’s important to give the B2B buyer a choice when they’re placing orders—and that means options on both web and mobile.

But if your website and your mobile app aren’t integrated, your buyers can’t start an order on one device and finish on the other, which is what they expect in a cross-platform world.

What’s more, pricing and promo data may not match up in both systems, which confuses your buyers and creates more work for your customer service team.

The fix: Ensure that your B2B website and B2B mobile app are completely integrated, or better yet, part of the same B2B eCommerce platform. This way, product and pricing data will match up, and all the order data will be aggregated into a common backend.

Mistake #3: Deploying a B2B eCommerce platform that doesn’t support the complexities of your business.


B2B businesses can have complex selling rules, including customer-specific pricing, order minimums, promotions, and more. Many companies choose a vendor for their B2B eCommerce platform only to find out later that the complexities they require can’t be supported.

This far down the road, their only options are to forgo their selling rules and opt for a more simple approach, or manually edit orders after they have been placed, which defeats the purpose of an automated and efficient B2B eCommerce platform.

The fix: Take the time to spec out any complex selling rules before you invest in a B2B eCommerce platform to ensure your vendor can accommodate your needs. Top B2B eCommerce vendors will be able to handle complex selling scenarios, so you shouldn't have to settle.

Mistake #4: Rolling out a B2B eCommerce platform without the buy-in of your sales reps.


If you try to launch your B2B eCommerce platform without the support of your sales reps, your implementation will undeniably be negatively impacted.

Sales reps that feel threatened by B2B eCommerce often ask their customers to continue to place orders from them online—making it impossible to determine whether your new software is working—and more importantly, won’t allow you to extract the most value from online ordering.

The fix: Ensure your sales reps are advocates of your B2B eCommerce platform by commissioning them on all B2B orders, even those placed online. Make sure they can train your customers to use your B2B eCommerce platform, and even incentivize them to get more of your buyers placing orders online.

Mistake #5: Attempting to build a custom B2B eCommerce site.


Companies that have contracted their “website guy” or a third-party agency to build a custom B2B eCommerce site almost always end up disappointed. Often, these projects do not actually launch because the complexities of selling B2B necessitate much more than a simple, transactional website that can be handled by a consultant without expertise in B2B selling.

And, for projects that do finally launch, it ends up being dramatically more expensive, cumbersome and difficult to update than originally expected.

The fix: It’s now the case that you can get a powerful B2B eCommerce platform off-the-shelf, and top vendors will allow for some tweaks and customizations to meet your business requirements. Finding a solution with this ideal mix will get you up and running quickly and is much more affordable long term.

Conclusion


Learn from others’ mistakes. There’s no reason why your company should have to lose money and opportunities because of a B2B eCommerce platform that doesn’t measure up. Take your time evaluating B2B eCommerce vendors, see their platforms in action, and don’t settle for a solution that is subpar.

Handshake helps manufacturers and distributors get their B2B eCommerce platforms right the first time (or, the second time, if you’ve already experienced these pitfalls first-hand). If you’d like our help getting up and running with B2B eCommerce, request a 10-minute call with one of our specialists today.