E-commerce platforms aren’t just for B2C any more. As business-to-business sales companies search for ways to increase their effectiveness and efficiency, open-source e-commerce platforms like Magento are looking better and better. Magento offers a feature-rich, flexible platform with powerful infrastructure support. After all, B2B companies are selling a product, too. Why not take advantage of the platform that’s worked for so many traditional retailers?
It’s a true case of “blurred lines.” And we anticipate seeing increasing numbers of B2B companies switch to Magento-based sites as time goes on.
Magento for B2B: The issues
What’s the top priority for a B2B company looking to transition to an e-commerce platform? Obviously, the goal is to create a superior, inviting site environment for business buyers with very high customer expectations. (Sometimes, you can get away with things in B2C that you can’t get away with in B2B.)
Often, typical B2B companies don’t have the IT staff, time or resources to build out an exceptional – and fully functional – e-commerce platform. (Open source software is free, but, as we’ve said before, it’s really “free” – meaning that it requires significant man-hours for custom design, monitoring and maintenance.) Upgrading legacy systems, deploying new hardware, and performing security checks takes time – and let’s face it, B2B companies often don’t have that kind of time.
When a B2B company decides to switch to an e-commerce platform, they’re usually playing catch-up. Building on-premises infrastructure typically requires a long lead time, and learning the basics of a new platform is a challenge in itself.
Additionally, there’s the challenge of switching your existing site information and infrastructure to a new platform, and conforming the new site to reflect your current brand image. Like we said – takes a lot of time.
Moving forward with a poorly-designed and maintained e-commerce site can be worse than staying with the old platform – sometimes, it’s worse than having no online storefront at all. In order to avoid all these pain points, B2B companies looking to make the switch to Magento should make sure they’ve contracted with a reputable Magento hosting provider.
Hosting a B2B e-commerce site
A premier Magento hosting company will take the burden out of switching platforms, and will handle site management, monitoring and security so you don’t have to. The best hosting companies typically offer 24/7 support, extensive firewalls and multiple daily backups – allowing B2B companies to focus on their actual job, marketing successfully to other businesses.
Ideally, your Magento hosting company will partner with your company to help you establish a strong e-commerce presence, and will handle technical, security and support issues before you even know they’re a problem.
Who wants to sit on the sidelines and watch other businesses grab the best B2B e-commerce opportunities? This is a brave, new world. As long as you’ve got the right hosting provider, it’s the perfect time to jump in and see what Magento can do for you.
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