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  • Automate previously manual tasks, and much more!

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Alex Weston

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Launching your next B2B store - 10 essential steps for project success, from planning to going live

Chris Mattingly, Co-Founder

October 24, 2023
Best Practice Guide
Launching your next B2B store - 10 essential steps for project success, from planning to going live

Introduction

In today's fast-paced digital era, speed isn't just a competitive advantage; it's a business necessity. From the rapid load times of a web page to the streamlined deployment of an eCommerce store, speed impacts user experience, conversions, and ultimately, your bottom line. This emphasis on swift digital solutions is why numerous brands, regardless of their scale or niche, are leaning heavily towards robust SaaS eCommerce platforms. These platforms not only eliminate the tangled web of complexity traditionally associated with online storefronts but also accelerate the launch and adaptability processes.

For B2B businesses, the balance between speed and the meticulous nature of relationship-building is a tightrope walk. While B2B might traditionally hinge on long-term partnerships and trust, which are cultivated over time, the technical aspects of the operation shouldn't be held to the same slow-paced standard. With the right tools and strategy, B2B brands can, and should, achieve a rapid and efficient digital transformation.

Our experience at Sparklayer has shown us that, while every brand's journey is unique, there are common steps that lead to success. We've outlined these in a "10 step plan" to help any B2B business navigate from planning to launch.

Let’s take a closer look!

The 10 Essential Steps

  1. Foundation: Before setting up any B2B eCommerce store, it's paramount to conduct an in-depth analysis of available platforms. Consider scalability, security, integration capabilities, and costs. Only after thorough due diligence can one ensure that the selected platform fits the brand’s long-term objectives and offers a solid technical foundation.
  2. Storefront: The modern B2B user demands a seamless experience akin to DTC. Prioritise intuitive navigation, responsive design, and consistent branding. An on-brand, easy-to-use interface is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Whether collaborating with an agency or crafting in-house, the storefront should epitomise your brand's essence and values.
  3. Customisations: B2B operations often require specialised features that DTC models don't. This could range from gated access for specific users to advanced bulk ordering systems. Tailor the platform's functionalities to cater to specific business needs while still maintaining user-friendliness.
  4. Integration: Streamlining operations often necessitates integrating your eCommerce platform with other back-office systems like CRM, ERP, or inventory management. This ensures real-time updates, minimises manual input errors, and automates many mundane tasks, enhancing efficiency.
  5. Data hygiene: Data integrity is crucial. Before transferring data to the new platform, audit and cleanse it. Typically this entails: Product Data: Ensuring accurate product descriptions, images, pricing, and specifications. Order History: Importing past orders can facilitate better analytics and personalised user experiences. Customer Data: Regularly cleanse and update your customer information to maintain accuracy and compliance with data protection regulations.
  6. Testing: Before officially launching, conduct thorough internal testing to identify bugs or areas of improvement. Moreover, engage a select group of trusted customers for beta testing. Their first-hand feedback can be invaluable in understanding real-world user experiences and expectations.
  7. Onboarding: The transition for your customers should be as smooth as possible. Consider phased rollouts based on customer segments or territories. Provide tutorials, webinars, or dedicated support to familiarise them with the new platform.
  8. Launch: Your launch should be accompanied by a comprehensive marketing campaign. For potential B2B customers, consider special introductory offers or exclusive access to certain sections to incentivise sign-ups.
  9. Feedback Optimisation: Post-launch, maintain an open channel for feedback. Use this constructive criticism to iron out any kinks in the system. This iterative process ensures that the platform remains aligned with the evolving needs of your users.
  10. Continuous improvement: The digital landscape is ever-evolving. Regularly revisit your platform's functionalities, interface, and performance metrics. Stay updated with industry trends and technological advancements to ensure your B2B store remains at the forefront of user experience and operational efficiency.

Round up

Remember, while these steps provide a robust framework, the specifics will vary based on individual brand needs and objectives. Tailoring each step to your unique requirements is the key to a successful B2B eCommerce launch.

At SparkLayer, we’ve helped guide many customers through the process of launching the next B2B eCommerce store. If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to get in touch. We wish you all the best in automating your B2B business!

Chris Mattingly

Chris Mattingly

Co-Founder & CEO, SparkLayer

Chris is an experience eCommerce specialist, co-founding UK eCommerce agency blubolt in 2006. For over a decade, Chris helped build and oversee their proprietary platform and worked with some of the UK's fastest growing retailers. At SparkLayer, Chris oversees the product strategy and - when he's not playing peekaboo with his daughter - enjoys staying active with golf, tennis, climbing, and hiking to name a few!
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