B2B business needs are complex. B2B organizations have tried to adopt popular B2C platforms with B2B add-ons but have failed. The result is obvious. They take the long and arduous path of developing their own custom e-commerce solution from the ground up. Why do they take this approach? Let’s take a closer look.
#1 Proprietary ownership
This is typical with large B2B organizations where the pace of business innovation is rapid, and hence they have similar expectations from the platform providers. Such organizations are averse in going with a platform solution because they don’t want to play the waiting game for new feature releases. In a nutshell, if your business is against giving up control over software and its development trajectory, you will need to build your own solution.
#2 Complex Business Structure
Every B2B organization is different. There are solutions to support internal hierarchy, access restrictions, approval processes and some businesses’ intricate order sequences but these generally do not apply in same way to all types of industries. Additionally, these solutions also place restrictions in customizing such core features. Organizations can also have complicated customer-facing or back-office functions that are required with specific workflows for pricing, negotiations, and ordering in addition to complex product bundling requirements and value-added services.
#3 Custom Product Structure
Not every commerce platform can define every product out of the box. Aside from selling primary product, some organization sell value-added services such as installations, consultations, or training seminars. Other organizations may sell customizable and configurable products that may be simple to define. Others may need to have access and order restrictions on their products. There can be a multitude of business rules that platforms are required to support based on the specific industry, which may not be natively available. Such customizations can add huge burden on the platform.
#4 Payment Services
The purchase frequency and order value in B2B is much higher than that of B2C. The payment services play a key role in customer satisfaction. These services need to adhere to various legal regulations across the globe. The platform is also required to offer alternate payment services such as wire transfers, ACH, or other even extended terms. Even though some platforms offer native support for such payment types, a custom-built commerce solution gives the B2B organizations complete control over payment transactions, invoicing and reconciliation.
There can be several other reasons why B2B organizations opt to build custom commerce solutions based on their industry and domains, the above are common ones. While many platforms are trying to catch up with the needs of major industry segments, B2B organizations can look at minimizing the difficulties of ground up build by leveraging open code platforms as a starting point.