Manufacturers gearing up to create or improve their e-commerce have a lot of features to consider given the wide range of different company customer types. Researching the platforms is dizzying – there are endless possibilities. It’s tempting to do detailed feature comparison prior to getting started. Oftentimes merchants are tempted to pick a platform before they identify the features that appropriately match up with their business requirements. That’s why our methodology at Wasserman Digital is to focus on developing business requirements before designing and building a new e-commerce website. We then work with our clients to phase in those requirements as the business needs them while also looking to get an MVP / Phase I launch up and live as quickly as possible.
What are the key development priorities that manufacturers should consider getting live in the first 90 days of a major e-commerce project? Here are several key features and integrations that will provide customers with the most benefits while buying and the manufacturer with the fastest ROI:
Company Customer Pricing: The Essential B2B Requirement
Manufacturers and their sales teams require the flexibility to create “customized” pricing – sometimes “on the fly” for specific quotes and orders. At a basic level company, accounts need to be associated with N tiers of pricing across the customer catalog and sales managers need to be able to authorize pricing on specific quotes that may be composed of line items at volumes that are eligible for special deals and discounts.
Apply Different Payment Options Associated with Different Accounts
Just like pricing, buyers want to be able to order online utilizing credit, purchase orders, credit cards, or other means of payment just like they have for years offline. Getting credit terms presented to customers correctly and in a valid format requires the next priority
To start, integrate products, prices, customers and orders with your e-commerce website. This is not a trivial lift, although there are numerous EAI tools that can make this easier (we have our own in RocketFlowz).
Easy Customer Access / Easy Admin For Merchant
The e-commerce platform must have the capability to provide numerous persons within a company to purchase based on their role and those roles can be managed uniquely (for example a store manager can purchase up to $3,000/ week and must ship to X location). By providing access to multiple customer buyers to a unique “buyer portal” experience, order taking increases, average order increases, efficiency increases and the buyer merchant experiences tremendous value.
5. MULTIPLE STOREFRONTS
True Multistore Capability
Manufacturers produce multiple lines of products, and they also acquire companies and brands, so it makes sense that they have the capability to add multiple storefronts while still operating off of the same backend. A merchant can always start with one but the ability to add more stores is key.
Magento CE, Adobe Commerce, and BigCommerce all deliver on these five key features and more. If you are a B2B manufacturer looking to up your e-commerce game, we strongly urge you to consider these platforms. Likewise, if you are on an older, monolithic enterprise platform, consider looking at BigCommerce and Adobe in advance of your license renewal. There could be considerable cost savings in making a switch, and given the rapid advancement of e-commerce platform technology you will likely be getting a lot more bang for your buck.
Learn more about our current “90 Days to Live” program for manufacturers right here.