When considering digital transformation initiatives, companies have plenty to consider. How will they reach their business goals? Will new technologies and platforms meet organizational strategies? What functionality must the business have to support those goals?
According to the IDC SaaS Path Survey from 2021, business leaders have been contemplating those questions. For commerce companies, two functionalities emerge as the most requested: the ability to support both B2B and B2C on a single platform and the ability to support the development of a proprietary, multi-sided digital marketplace.
Interestingly, these two ideas are closely related, connected by using an agile eCommerce platform. However, a misstep during the ecosystem phase can damage your core business. Building and installing an integrated ecosystem must be done with care, utilizing a solid foundation and, when appropriate, leveraging the skills and expertise of an experienced partner.
Supporting Both B2B and B2C on a Single Platform
The B2B commerce experience and the B2C commerce experience were vastly different until five years ago. While the B2C experience would be recognizable to the modern customer, that’s not the case for B2B. The former B2B experience wasn’t commerce-oriented due to the routing mechanism and process directed to dealers and local offices for order processing.
Currently, options for eCommerce platforms have expanded within that time frame. Thanks to microservices, APIs, and cloud technologies, newer platforms are more nimble. Advancements like MACH (Microservices, API-led, Cloud-native SaaS, and Headless) allow B2B and B2C experiences to live on the same platform and take advantage of the customization possibilities for each audience. This supports a customer-focused, personalized, and conversion-focused B2B experience that mirrors the B2C experience.
Supporting a Proprietary Multi-sided Digital Marketplace
The second most-requested digital commerce functionality is the ability to add a multi-sided marketplace on top of a commerce platform. There are excellent reasons for doing so.
When you diversify a marketplace, two things happen. First, you expand your product selection, and second, you do so to a wider audience. For instance, imagine you’re a seller at a flea market where you offer custom t-shirts.
That’s satisfactory if the customers are searching for t-shirts, but if not, they walk right past and never notice what you’re selling. If, on the other hand, you bring several colleagues who sell other products, you’ve created a more significant opportunity for sales and made it more likely to catch the attention of a broader range of customers.
Now, imagine the same flea market colleagues with whom you share a booth to launch an advertising strategy. The strategy doubles the number of customers without further effort or expense. Having a marketplace on top of your commerce solution means increased access to a broader audience — one that promotes their products on your site with their marketing dollars. The result is accelerated growth in half the time it would take without the marketplace.
Two Things You Must Consider Before Upgrading
Both are excellent ways to expand your business and stimulate growth. However, updating your commerce platform and defining a marketplace solution are important considerations and must be treated as such.
First, before changing your ecosystem to meet these goals, consider verifying your strategy. It’s crucial to delay commitment to a platform until you’ve laid out your commerce and growth strategy. We see this frequently; companies hastily make decisions on a platform via business pressures. Many of the implementations DMI initiated are re-platforms from solutions that do not align with the organization’s strategy.
Second, consider ensuring you have the right partner with broad experience in commerce and marketplaces to help you optimize your strategy. The commerce solution is an off-the-rack suit, whereas your implementation partner is the tailor. In other words, a commerce solution remains software; it’s the partner that creates an experience that exceeds customer expectations.
DMI has the expertise, passion, and technologies that an experienced partner helps with both considerations. We have deep experience with B2B and B2C commerce and marketplace solutions for some of the most recognized brands in the industry. That means we can review your strategy against others in the same sector, help define and discuss your roadmap to achieving that strategy, and then carry the project across the finish line.
Start with DMI’s Commerce Maturity Assessment. This will help both you and DMI understand where you’re at and where you need to be to reach your commerce goals. Contact us today to get started with this assessment.