There are today no second thoughts on the way eCommerce development has taken the entire consumer market by storm- with billions of people using the channel to generate revenues worth hundreds of billions of dollars. But few people actually realize that it is in fact just the tip of the iceberg- with a much larger B2B (Business to Business) component lying underneath. If we go by statistics, B2B eCommerce is at least 4 times that of B2C and is expected to account for a staggering $6.7 trillion market by 2020. So, if you happen to be in the business or are looking to step in, now would be a good time to take a second look at your web development strategy and make the most out of the current boom.
While most of the technical aspects for B2B web development remains the same as others, there are some innate factors that ultimately decide the fate of such businesses. And though you can hire any well-regarded web development company to take care of the design and development, following are risks that you must lookout on your own before you actually do:
1. Expertise overrated
One of the crudest mistakes that businesses make while choosing web developers for their project is that they look out only for expertise in technologies that their project demands. While that is obviously a plus, it isn’t nearly enough to meet all business requirements in future. Especially in this age of ever evolving technology and ever shifting business priorities, there is no one technology you should lean your business upon. So, while expertise must always be a preference, experience in the industry and competence in widest possible technologies is what you must also consider before finally trusting any web development agency with your business prospects.
This is more applicable to those who are just starting out or are looking to bring major overhaul to their online presence. These businesses generally find a web developer who has created a product that they would like to copy. In their opinion, it won’t only save the efforts that would otherwise go into analysis and design, but has the additional benefit of being a tried and tested product.
But in their rush to save a few bucks and efforts, they overlook a very fundamental aspect- no two businesses are exactly the same and if there are, eventually only one of them will succeed. So, unless you are willing to invest the required efforts and resources to turn your idea into a unique product, there is essentially no leverage you will have over competitors.
As mentioned in the beginning, B2B eCommerce is an immensely huge market with countless businesses competing to make their mark. And every day that you stay out of the competition, is a potential lost opportunity. Many businesses in the hope of launching a perfect B2B platform spends too much time in the development and testing phase and by the time it is ready, they realize that the market has moved on and their product has become outdated even before launch! To put it simply, there is no such thing as a perfect website and the best one are those that keep users engaged and push for maximum sales.
4. Static development cycle
Generally, web development follows a fixed procedural cycle- requirement gathering, design, development, testing and deployment. While this approach may serve well for small projects, B2B is certainly not one of them due to the sheer number of clients and much higher financial stakes. Unless the development cycle is flexible enough to incorporate the needs of both these components, there will always be a doubt over business feasibility in the long run.
Since the most valuable suggestions and feedback any business can get is from their clients, a better approach would be to start with a prototype and get feedback from all stakeholders. This will not only help you document the requirements precisely, but will also pave the way for the future course of action that is expected.
Creating a B2B platform isn’t an easy task and something that must only be done after in-depth research and with utmost commitment. Having worked with businesses of all scales and industries, we have the first-hand experience of the unique challenges and opportunities they have from web development services. And it is this industry insight coupled with technical competence that our clients bank upon to prosper their business.