The rapid growth of the B2B market has prompted many people to enter it themselves. The requirements for setting up a B2B eCommerce store keep going down, and it’s now a completely viable option for a large number of entrepreneurs. If you’re interested in setting up your own B2B eCommerce store, you couldn’t have picked a better time. There are lots of opportunities for that on the market right now, and you basically just have to pick the tools you want to work with.
Figure Out Your Goals
You should start by identifying your main goals and performance indicators. You should have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish and how you’re going to get there. Keep in mind that simply picking your B2B eCommerce solution isn’t something that’s a valid end goal. It’s a means to accomplishing one. But in the end, you should be looking into accomplishing something like optimizing your current operations, lowering your expenses, expanding your market presence into new areas, or boosting your portfolio. No matter what goals you’re planning to chase, you’re going to need to measure your progress in some objective way.
Once you’ve got your goals identified, you should link them to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), so that you can accurately measure how well you’re doing compared to your original plans.
Know Your MVP Requirements
Then, you should figure out what your requirements for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) website are. Typically, this will be a basic implementation of your store that doesn’t cover all fronts you’re ultimately interested in. It should offer some basic features that allow you to test the waters and figure out how well you can integrate yourself into this market.
You should be aiming for an approach that’s separated in phases here, because this will allow you to gauge the importance of each feature you’re using more accurately. Only when you’ve collected a lot of data should you continue with setting up the store’s more advanced features.
- Basic Functionality
Obviously, you should verify that all basic features of the platform work well before you launch your store. This includes things like product catalogs, vendor accounts, bulk orders, personalization, and more. Make sure that there is no friction in using any of the fundamental features of your store.
It should be possible to easily integrate with a number of different services, allowing you to expand your operations on multiple fronts and provide all departments of your organization with the full benefits of the platform. Figure out what integrations you’re going to need, and focus on those.
Another feature you can’t afford to ignore, security is going to play a crucial role in your operations from the very beginning. Good B2B eCommerce platforms come with advanced security features that can make it easy to know that you’re covered on all fronts.
- Performance Tracking
The easier it is to understand the experience of your customers, the better. You will want to build a complete picture of what people are doing when they visit your store, and where you might have some potential room for improvement. There are many ways to collect detailed usage information these days, and it’s a good idea to take advantage of as many of them as you can.
Provide the Necessary Assets
Now that you know your MVP requirements, you should think about the resources you’ll need to implement those. This includes things like funding, employees, and all other assets that are going to come into play here. Make sure that you spend as much time as you can analyzing your human asset requirements, because those are going to be particularly important. You should also plan for the launch phase of the product, which will require some additional assets to be allocated.
Marketing and Promotion
Always integrate your existing customers into the decision process as much as possible. They can give you some valuable insights into how you can improve your purchasing process, and how you can make everything as smooth and seamless as possible for them. This is the stage where you should plan for marketing and promotion as well. Figure out what traffic sources you’re going to utilize during this stage, and focus on strategies that you know deliver fast results without too much effort. Do your best to improve your SEO and use proven strategies to establish your digital presence.
All of the feedback you’re getting during this phase won’t matter much if you don’t actually put it to use. So make sure that you update the site as often as you can, integrating new suggestions brought up by your user base, and experimenting with features to potentially improve the overall flow. You should also analyze the conditions of the current market and figure out how you can enter it as smoothly as possible.
You’re not done yet. Launching your store is a challenging ordeal by itself, but it’s not the end of your journey. You still have a lot of work ahead of you, and you will need to do your best to support your current and new customers as your site continues to grow. You should do everything in your power to guarantee full functionality when you hit the market, but leave some room for expansion as well. There will be lots of opportunities to improve on your existing design, and you should take advantage of them one by one.
As long as you’ve taken the time to define your KPIs properly, you should know what road to follow and you should have a good idea of your performance. Measuring how well you’re doing will boil down to basically just comparing the data you’re producing to the metrics you’re trying to hit.