5 essentials for choosing the right B2B order portal

Why should you use a B2B order portal?

Look through any recent B2B blog and you will read about the rapid growth of the B2B ecommerce market, the consumerization of the B2B world, and how to accommodate the changing buying habits of millennial B2B buyers, who are eager to replicate their B2C personal experience in the B2B world.

Your business needs to get online.

What must you consider when selecting the right B2B order portal

1. Choose a portal that your customers will be happy with

When it comes to a great online experience, consumers primarily have two things in mind: speed – and ease.

According to research from SUMO Heavy, a Digital Commerce Strategy consulting firm, the most important aspect of a great e-commerce website is its usability and functionality. In addition, Forrester research states that 45% of US consumers will abandon an online transaction if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly.

So fast response times and a simple purchasing process are the stand-out elements of an ideal customer experience.

To provide this, your B2B order portal must be intuitive, easy-to-use, feature-rich, self-service with excellent online support to ensure your customers queries are dealt with immediately.

2. Make sure your B2B order portal is customizable

Most e-commerce platforms have standard features. But your business isn’t standard.

Once you have defined what your unique requirements are, make sure you choose a flexible portal that allows you to customize those features to suit your specific workflows and processes.

3. Integration is essential

It’s crucial for the success of your B2B order portal that you consider integration with your existing ERP software and accounting solution.

Analyze and understand your integration needs and choose a platform that allows quick and easy integration to improve your business efficiency. Integration allows you to benefit from the systems in which you’ve already invested, without having to rethink your whole IT strategy.

4. Evaluate and prioritize the most important features

The following features are essential for a B2B order portal:

Self-service – Make sure your buyers can easily and quickly find all information related to a purchase themselves, including shipping information, quote approvals and more.

Customer specific pricing – B2B buyers have different pricing and offers according to their purchasing patterns and history. Your B2B order portal needs an option to detail the specific terms for each customer. Your customers must get the exact same price online as they would when ordering by phone or email.

Payment options – Payment options must be tailored to B2B purchasing patterns.

On premise vs. the cloud – A cloud-based solution is hosted and maintained by the cloud service provider and offer competitive pricing, as their costs are spread among many clients.

5. Price = Build vs. out-of-the-box

You should consider the pros and cons of building your own portal as opposed to buying an out-of-the-box solution.

If you’re considering the build option, you need to include the cost of your staff time specifying all the necessary functions and workflows that will be required. As well as the long lead time to develop and the cost of coding. Add to that the cost of maintaining and updating and we’re talking extremely large numbers.

The out-of-the-box solutions are becoming increasingly sophisticated with workflows and rule engines that make it easy for you to customize to match your business model and all this at a fraction of the price of building.

If you don’t already have a B2B order portal what are you waiting for? If you don’t act now you could miss the boat and see your competitors racing ahead.

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