When beginning an ecommerce project, there are many questions that you should consider before entering this extremely challenging task. After 10 years of near impossible ecommerce website launching, many B2B companies are wondering where they are going wrong- keep reading to find a possible solution to you ecommerce problem areas.

1.      Do you have a Long Term Ecommerce Plan?

While most B2B companies complete Critical Independent Assessments within their project- they fail to create a long term plan for their ecommerce platform. Part of your long term plan should include scheduled upgrades which allow new features to successfully function. You should also consider the role you play as a primary sales channel in a large software establishment.

2.      Do you have a future budget plan?

As most of us will admit, we may make rash decisions when influenced by immediate reward, however, in B2B ecommerce, you need to think about the future. You may find yourself unprepared when you realise how much it costs financially to run a B2B ecommerce platform; it doesn’t stop at the website- that is only the beginning. Keeping the website updated and fresh is one of the many money set-backs that you will have to deal with when considering total cost of ownership. Planning ahead will not only save you money but it will also save you valuable time. Start now to be ahead of the pack with your future budget plan.

3.      How will you brand your B2B Portal?

When considering a B2B portal, the mistake that most companies make is neglecting the design and usability of the portal and putting all their time and money into their private website. If you want your portal to be successful it needs to engage with your marketing group and coincide with your brand. This will increase success of your ecommerce platform along with your short term budget.

4.      Who is part of your Product Team?

When choosing your product team, you will need to include; executive sponsor, internal project manager, marketing/agency resources and development/software resources. This team should include users from outside the organisation who have the ability to test and review products. At first, this may seem challenging but worth the hassle in the long run.

5.      What are your plans for Integration? 

It is essential that you integrate your ecommerce site with your enterprise resource planning [ERP] and back-end business systems to ensure the success of your B2B ecommerce platform. The link between these systems is crucial because you don’t want to have to manage multiple databases, inconsistent prices and high labour costs – you may find yourself spending more money than you thought at this stage of your B2B ecommerce but it will prove worth it in the long run.

6.      Does your Ecommerce vendor have experience in Integration?

The worst thing you could do as a business is hire an inexperienced perform for a vital role in your B2B platform. Remember the saying; ‘Actions speak louder than words’- make sure your employee can prove he is the right man (or woman) for the job by showing previous experience in live, integrated sites that are proving a success.

7.      What is your ultimate goal for you Ecommerce site?

You need to make sure that you have a plan for your B2B ecommerce platform and its estimated success. You may also need to consider the type of measurement you use to calculate success e.g. Adoption rate or the amount of non-edi orders that are processed through your portal. Always make sure you have a goal worth reaching otherwise you may not take this gruelling task of setting up a B2B ecommerce seriously.

With the recession still upon us, saving money where you can may prove essential for your company’s success. Having a B2B portal will not only improve your sales but put you in first place ahead of every other company in the race. Are you ready for B2B ecommerce?