The first e-commerce initiatives were launched in the early 1990s. These included the first online bookstore and shortly after that Amazon launched, which is now a fully-fledged online store.
Since then, both technology and customer expectations have evolved significantly. Digital commerce – for a long time the most important arena for retail – is now crucial to any business-to-business success. Today, every industry invests in digital commerce. This increase in demand has led to an increase in technological capabilities and providers of digital commerce solutions. And that leads to the challenge of selecting the right solution for your business.
Today, digital commerce is crucial to any business-to-business success. In all sectors, companies are investing in digital commerce to improve customer engagement, self-service capabilities, and loyalty. The question now is how do you choose the right solution for your business and avoid the five most common pitfalls associated with this process?
A Belgian bookstore, for example, chose to look for a new platform in order to get more extensive possibilities that they did not have in their previous e-commerce tool. With the new features, they are able to expand their product range, integrate efficiently with different channels and improve the search functionality for their brands. The bookstore needed to match both online and offline orders from different brands, linking each product to a unique stock location and integrating the different systems into a seamless omnichannel experience. Faced with constraints with their previous commerce tool, they wanted to migrate to a more flexible and sustainable platform.
Another example is a distributor in the Netherlands that needed a new e-commerce platform because its current solution was outdated and no longer in line with current or future objectives. The company had to respond to the needs of both B2B and B2C customers for a better online shopping experience, personalized transactions, up-to-date customer insights, and product information.
A Dutch beverage distributor, on the other hand, wanted to retain the existing capabilities when they switched to a new platform. Among other things, all of the distributor’s external customers needed to access and use the site by placing their orders through the new platform with their own login and custom product selection visible to them. The distributor wanted a future-proof, flexible and scalable platform with robust capabilities without limitations within the long-term vision and strategy.
And finally, some loyalty programs in the Netherlands wanted to expand their reach to more partner companies and deliver more products to customers. To do this, they needed a more flexible way to integrate different systems and to be able to add functionality, now and in the future.
They needed an e-commerce platform that could handle API integration, multi-store, multi-catalog, and complex pricing. The teams selected the new platform because it met those demands and also has a modular architecture which allows for future replacement or addition of any one component (module) without affecting the rest of the system.
Additionally, with the new platform they can go headless which allowed them for decoupling of the frontend of the e-commerce experience from the backend. This unchained logic allows for more architectural flexibility, so it was easier to design the solution desired. The new site quickly makes connections with various APIs, so that customers see points balances and redeem points faster.
Because of the flexibility of the new platform, they were able to build the site with the strategy in mind to achieve their commerce vision and to develop continuously and expand the platform further. Access to new functionalities ensures that they can serve customers well now and even better in the future.
These examples show that it is important to go through a detailed and robust selection process. This starts with defining a clear go-to-market strategy, which includes a concrete plan for a company’s digital commerce. When it comes to selecting the right partner for an e-commerce project, it is important to assess the internal team and determine what capabilities a company already has. It is just as important to select a flexible platform that is able to meet changing customer requirements and business needs. It must support a wide range of business implications.
Selecting the right e-commerce platform can indeed be daunting. Virto Commerce has tried to make it easier by demonstrating those five pitfalls and how to avoid them. To help companies develop an effective selection process, we have described these most common pitfalls and how to avoid them in a white paper. This whitepaper can be downloaded from the Virto Commerce website.