Level Up Your E-Commerce Project Plan: 5 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

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This year, you've probably read a lot about the importance of a B2B e-commerce solution for your company. But in addition to higher sales and more customers, there are other measurable goals you can achieve with a well-designed e-commerce store. The key to success is to have a sound e-commerce project plan. Perhaps surprisingly, the best first step to building your B2B e-commerce project is to be aware of what not to do. Why? Because some very common mistakes can derail your project before it even gets off the ground.   Step by step infographic on how to start your own B2B e-commerce project   Forewarned is forearmed, so let’s identify some of those mistakes. (If this is your first venture into e-commerce, you may also benefit from first reading our Beginner's Handbook: Launching an Online Sales and Revenue Channel).

Mistake #1: Underestimating content demand

Your e-commerce site is more than a new sales channel; it is also a new way for your customers to become familiar with your business and your products. Your customers can’t “kick the tires” of the products on your web store, so they are relying on you to describe them with as much detail as possible. Use images and informative text. Make it easy to navigate your online catalog. Include information about your company, your purchasing process, and your shipping and return policies. A lot of content is required before the launch of your web store. If you don’t provide enough of the right kind of information, prospective buyers may not give you a second look. To optimize your web store for search engines, your categories and product groups should also be equipped with text content and metadata. So be sure to assign a qualified employee to handle writing content as a first step in your e-commerce project plan. That employee will need good writing skills, a thorough knowledge of your product, and an understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimization.) Tip: If your web store is directly integrated with your ERP system, the product descriptions and images stored in your ERP can be automatically displayed in your web store — saving you time and effort.  

Mistake #2: Focusing on your organization rather than on your customers

You may have a clear idea of how you would like your e-commerce site to look and feel, but is that what your customers want, need, and expect. Instead of concentrating solely on the functioning of your web store, try to think like a customer. Remember that customers are mainly concerned with information and ease of use. Individual product and service offerings, customer-specific conditions, quick searchability of spare or additional parts and related items, delivery times, and return or replacement policies are some of the functions that B2B web store customers will expect to find. Tip: These functions can be implemented quickly with direct ERP integration. Your web store can then directly access this data, logistics information, and calculations from your ERP.    

Mistake #3: Failure to involve stakeholders in the planning stages

All stakeholders should be on board with your B2B e-commerce project plan right from the beginning. This will eliminate misunderstandings, resistance, and delays. Who should be involved? Your ERP partner, management, and those employees who will be using or affected by the e-commerce project (e.g., sales, marketing, product, logistics, etc.) Tip: Read our blog post and learn How to Build a Successful E-Commerce Team within your organization. If you have questions, ask your e-commerce provider — they’re likely an expert in e-commerce projects.

Mistake #4: Asking for too many features and customizations

“If we’re going to open a web store, then let’s build in lots of functions and fully customize it to our brand!” Sounds reasonable. But sometimes testing, waiting, and evaluating is the better solution. Many companies aren’t even aware of all the functions that are included in their e-commerce solution.  Make full use of your standard, OOTB options before you spend the time and money customizing. Listen to customer feedback to determine if additional functionality will actually add value to your site.   Tip: When choosing your e-commerce software, pay close attention to what each solution offers. The more customizations you need, the more time and money you’ll spend on future web store updates.     

Use our hands-on E-Commerce Software Comparison template for a comprehensive breakdown of how different kinds of e-commerce solutions stack up.

 

Mistake #5: Failure to define your web store goals

Before you begin your e-commerce project plan, be sure your objectives are clearly defined. A roadmap of where you intend to go will help you reach your goals. At Sana Commerce, we find that the direct integration of our e-commerce software into their ERP systems saves a lot of labor and resources for our customers. In addition to higher sales and the opportunity to reach more customers, other measurable goals can include:
  • Accelerated order management through automated processes between your web store and your ERP system
  • Relief in customer service through self-service functions
  • Reduction of seasonal fluctuations in sales
  • Optimized offerings to help upsell or cross-sell.
  Here are the 6 most important B2B e-commerce goals and KPIs, as defined by Sana Commerce's own CEO, Michiel Schipperus.   Tip: Formulate clear and measurable goals that align with your cost expenditure and set milestones along the way. Be sure to choose a qualified e-commerce provider and ask for tailored advice at every stage.  

Ready to kick off your improved e-commerce project plan?

Download our Ultimate Guide to E-Commerce for checklists, practical tips, and best practices to steer you through your entire e-commerce project.  

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