Choosing an e-commerce platform is no simple task. There’s a lot to consider! You have to look at your current business operations, evaluate your needs, and anticipate the future.
If you’re thinking about starting an e-commerce business, these 6 tips to select the right e-commerce platform will help you narrow down the options and make the best choice for your business.
Step 1: Find Out What Your Customers Want
You know what you’re selling, but do you really know who you’re selling it to?
Are you sure?
It may seem elementary, but especially for startups and younger businesses, it learning about your target group is a process.
It often helps to go back to your roots. Where did the idea for your product and company come from? Usually businesses begin when someone notices a need that isn’t being met or that could be met better.
Start there, and try crafting a buyer persona. Who do you imagine needs your product? Why? Then think about what motivates them — do they want to do something better or faster, are they looking for high quality, do they want a particular lifestyle? These are all questions that will help you define your target audience.
Only once you know what your customers really want and what motivates them can you can work out a solid e-commerce plan that will serve them well.
Step 2: Define Clear Goals
Start by setting attainable goals. You’d be surprised how many businesses get into trouble by setting vague, unattainable goals and leave it at that.
Start small and go from there. Define a long-term goal and a number of short-term goals to help you get there. Not only will this will keep you focused and make it easier to keep track of your progress, it will give your employees something tangible to work toward and provide opportunities to celebrate success.
Do this exercise for every relevant process and separate everything according to the needs and size of your organization.
Step 3: Draft Your Team
Once you have defined all your goals, it is time to put together a project team to realize them.
Select a small group of key people from relevant departments like sales, product, marketing, logistics and IT. Keep it relatively small and define clear roles or ownership areas for every member so decisions can be made quickly. This will also leave the relevant person responsible for implementing the various changes needed.
It is important to put this team together beforehand. This way they feel involved, can voice any concerns in time and gather internal support for the changes to be made and new tools to be used.
Now you’re ready for the next step in your journey to choosing an e-commerce solution.
Step 4: Review Your Current Processes
Next, let the project team review your current processes and tools. This might include how orders are being placed, what systems are currently in use, and where your data is stored.
In most cases, you’ll probably have an ERP system in place that handles most processes and data. Now take a look if this is still suitable for your company with your new goals in mind.
If it is, you might want to consider B2B e-commerce software solution that integrates with your ERP system, instead of adding an entirely new system to the mix. This saves a lot of time and money because implementing a new ERP system is no walk in the park.
Step 5: Define Requirements
The fifth step is all about listing your requirements. Your team should have all the intel needed to do this properly. Outline the features needed and the resources available. Divide the list into must-have and nice-to-have features.
When you are busy evaluating tools, these lists will help you focus on finding the right system for your business.
Step 6: E-Commerce Platform Selection
Now you’ve got everything in place for selecting the right e-commerce tool for your business. Whatever you do, make sure you go to a B2B specialist. As you probably know all too well, B2C companies usually operate with a different mindset, and their products are not always right for wholesale distributors and manufacturers.
Instead, go to a specialist who speaks your language, knows what you need and has implemented the tools countless times. Experience matters!
Is B2B E-commerce Right for Your Business?
Are you excited by the many possibilities B2B e-commerce provides for your organization? Discover how Sana Commerce can give your business a boost.
Contact our experts for personalized advice on starting with e-commerce.
Rather lean back and explore our system? Learn more about Sana Commerce.
27 May, 2015