One of the common shortfalls of many B2B buyers is failing to vet the platforms they end up using sufficiently. When setting up an e-commerce business, utilising the right or wrong platform can truly make or break a new business.
The reason this is such a painful shortfall relates to future growth and development. Without the right platforms, you’re essentially outfitting yourself in clothes that are already too small; you’re going to outgrow them as a business in no time.
Failing to find platforms without sufficient scope for the future of your business isn’t just setting yourself up for hassle, it’s planning to fail in future. Succeeding as a business is never about increasing the things you need to get done in future, it’s about streamlining and minimizing problems on the horizon, whilst taking notice of current trends.
Going with the wrong platforms is always going to be setting yourself up for hassles and complexities as your business grows. You don’t want to be struggling with a platform that doesn’t cover you when it comes to page speed, you need an option that grows with you.
We’re going to run through six of the most important questions B2B buyers should be asking when vetting a prospective platform, as well as throwing a couple of examples in there.
How’s Your Speed Optimisation and Reliability?
Everyone knows that page speed is absolutely key when producing high-performance, modern websites. Without smooth and speedy loading times, you’re going to be turning away customers and reducing the scope for SEO optimization.
That’s exactly why you need to be asking about the platform’s loading times, as well as hosting bandwidth upgrade costs. A modern platform shouldn’t have any problems powering high-speed sites.
Reliability is another key factor in this. You don’t want a platform with a tendency to go down at crucial moments, with minimal customer support.
BigCommerce owns all their own software and hardware, down to the servers and PCI compliance, so you can trust that they’re not going to be depending on any other dodgy third-party platforms or software.
What’s the Upgrading and Updating Plan?
Upgrading and staying completely up to date is utterly crucial when it comes to keeping up to speed, solid security, and general performance.
You need a platform that offers a solid, automated update plan, allowing you to keep your websites running smoothly for the foreseeable, and you want to avoid potentially expensive upgrade plans.
Simplicity is key when updating. BigCommerce offers a minimum hassle, easy-to-run update plan, free from all the licenses and plugins that can make other updates so convoluted and easy to get wrong.
Trying to run a website with dated software that fails to perform can be a massive headache, and if that software isn’t optimized for regular upgrading, you’re in for lots of hassle and thousands wasted on upgrading or changing software.
Will We Need to Customize?
No business is ever going to find the perfect platform that works from every angle from the get-go, so a bit of customization is always going to be necessary.
What you want to be avoided, however, is platforms that make that customization harder, more expensive and more protracted than necessary. When it comes to e-commerce, the name of the game is getting up and running as quickly as possible with minimal costs.
That’s why you need a platform that doesn’t require specialist customization and can be done as cheaply and quickly as possible. On top of that, you simply need to find the platform that best meets your business needs from the outset.
How’s the Platform’s Scope for Scalability?
You need to be looking closely at how the whole platform is built and operates in order to learn its feasibility when it comes to scaling a business.
You cannot be having poorly designed programming underpinning any element of your e-commerce business, so you need to know that this platform is going to grow with you.
The fact is, if the software is already looking a bit dated, you’re only going to be having to upgrade again in a couple of years’ time. BigCommerce, for example, looks after server redundancy and provisioning, which is just one of many ways a platform can support growth and scale.
What about Future Development?
As you go forward with the platform, you’re going to want to know their plans for the future. What features are they trialing and developing, and how can that benefit your business?
Once you’ve found an amazing platform that hits most of your business’s needs, the only thing that can really make it better is knowing what they’re planning in future that can keep them relevant and modern, whilst being useful to you.
Finally, What about Integration Capabilities?
When it comes to implementing e-commerce platforms, integration is always going to be the trickiest and most expensive portion.
This can require a lot of work and specialist help in order to get right. If, on top of all that, you’ve got a platform that’s less than co-operative, you’re going to be in for a lengthy, slow and expensive process, all of which are toxic to any successful e-commerce strategy.
You want a platform that is built from the ground up for effective, straightforward integration. Platforms with headless architecture and APIs that are pre-built in can be beneficial. Make sure to ask about elements like platform connectors, as well as APIs, as both can help create a smoother integration process.
As a B2B buyer, it can be tricky knowing which platform to go with, but if you ask all the right questions and do some accurate comparison, whilst knowing your business’s needs, you’re going to have the right platform in no time at all.