Disclaimer: As a native of New England I enjoy sharing my region’s slang with the world. “Wicked” is a general intensifier. It’s ultimately the better substitution for “really” or “very”; therefore this article is going to be very quick 😉.
I recently had a chat with a global B2B practitioner with a global footwear and apparel brand on replatforming initiatives, successful optimization and what trends she as a B2B ecommerce practitioner is thinking about for the rest of this year and beyond. Here’s the transcript from our Q&A session:
As a B2B commerce practitioner, what are the trends and focus areas you and your organization are thinking about? Mobile? Voice?
We are thinking about increased adoption and increased average order size, assortment selling and trying to bring the proper content and tools to life that will help our retailers work in a self-service model. We have our small value accounts – important to the brand – but not profitable if we have to call on them in person or via phone. These accounts generate under $100K in business for us each year. We are focused on inspiring them with content and searching for new ideas around this – videos (PLM information, as well as product videos), blogs, 3D and live chat. We already have had mobile and voice come up, but we are not there yet.
I assume you’ve been through an ecommerce replatforming initiative, what did you wish you knew before you started? Any tips for others setting out to replatform.
Yes, we have been in the process for over nine months now. Our new IT leadership was not comfortable with our current provider’s technology stack. From a business perspective we had spent 3+ years getting our current provider to deliver the functionality rich platform we currently have. There are still some deficits, but our adoption has been steadily climbing so the business was not eager to move forward. IT governance pushed us to find a new provider. A full search was conducted and with minimal resources and budget we quickly ruled out the larger providers (Hybris, Salesforce) to name a few. We settled on a smaller provider who on the surface and in POC appeared to provide thought leadership in the space and some very cool functionality our current provider was missing. We were also teaming with our Merchandising function to bring much more visual sell in functionality to life. We have over 4K retailers currently transacting on our current platform so MVP for new platform was to deliver all functionality we have today and then some. Soon after the Discovery phase it became clear to us that the newly selected vendor was missing the key, basic functionality our Global Brand required. My advice to others is threefold – first if something is not broken don’t try to fix it. Second, ensure a full POC with all key details before signing any contract. Finally, contracts should have clear deliverables and “out clauses” to protect the investment. We have reverted back to our original provider and are now focused on enriching our current functionality.
What does successful optimization look like for B2B companies? Beyond web, emerging touchpoints?
Successful optimization is full adoption of the tools by both sales reps and retailers. Businesses can achieve this by delivering captivating content and information and easy to use functionality. There are likely more tools to consider in the future, but for us even though we are about four years in we are still in our infancy.