93% of B2B (Business-to-Business) buyers prefer to buy online once they have decided what to buy. This calls for a huge opportunity to invest in B2B eCommerce. The first step towards getting started — choose a suitable eCommerce platform. And the strategic second step that follows — hire a B2B eCommerce developer.
The right developer will help design the eCommerce digital experience that, in turn, will prove lucrative in the long run.
Whether you choose a plug-and-play B2B eCommerce platform such as Shopify or a flexible platform like Magento — an eCommerce developer will ensure delivery of a smoothly functioning online store.
But, the question is — how to choose the right B2B eCommerce developer? What are the factors that need to be taken into consideration?
11 Factors to Consider When Hiring B2B eCommerce Developer
Here’s a list of 11 such factors that should be considered when seeking B2B eCommerce services from a developer.
1. Technical Expertise
eCommerce developers are similar to web developers, the only difference being their technical expertise on B2B eCommerce development platforms such as — Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, etc.
An eCommerce developer has an eye for detail. The right developer would listen to your requirements, will present their ideas, and think through those ideas to integrate the latest technologies to help you digitally transform.
The other technical expertise skills that an eCommerce developer should know, include:
- Knowledge of B2B eCommerce solutions such as Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce
- In and outs of best SEO practices applicable to eCommerce development
- Designing and organizing website architecture
- In-depth knowledge of responsive design principles
2. Practical Experience
Your B2B eCommerce website development efforts will define tha magnitude of conversions in the long run. If you go wrong with this one, the churn rate would inevitably increase. Thus, it becomes imperative to hire B2B eCommerce developers that have relevant technical experience.
Their profession’s practicality will help you develop a flawless web experience that works well at all three levels, i.e., — desktop, mobile web, and mobile app.
Before zeroing on B2B eCommerce developers, ensure you ask them for their relevant experience and mockups related to their past work experiences.
For instance, the right eCommerce developer should also be able to identify your eCommerce platform’s shortcomings and fix them, just like Net Solutions did.
Euro Car Parts, UK’s largest car parts supplier, chose us as an eCommerce partner to develop a multi-channel eCommerce solution. Our developer’s team helped them improve the digital experience by implementing:
- Database schemas for managing thousands of visitors simultaneously
- Sphinx search server that enhanced the search speed and accuracy
- Various payment gateways to improve the customer experience
- Develop a customized platform similar to that of a CMS
- Automating packaging and labeling processes
- Inventory management by leveraging third-party tools
For a detailed insight, here’s our case study.
3. Know-how of Omnichannel, Cross-Channel, and Multi-Channel eCommerce
Weaving in the three customer experience strategies, i.e., omnichannel, multi-channel, and cross-channel, should be a developer’s forte.
Here’s what the three of the strategies imply:
a. Multi-Channel Experience
Where customers interact with the eCommerce brand through several channels and touchpoints.
b. Cross-Channel Experience
When the customer experience is offered across all the channels available while facilitating seamless transitions.
c. Omni-Channel Experience
When customers can interact with the different channels at the same time.
Hire an eCommerce developer who knows the industry best practices that help offer an orchestrated customer experience through all the eCommerce customer journey stages.
4. Keeps Track of the Latest eCommerce Trends
A B2B eCommerce development agency should have knowledge of the new B2B eCommerce trends to improve the value proposition they offer. When you hire an eCommerce developer, ensure that they know the ins and outs of what is currently doing rounds in the digital commerce industry.
For instance, a B2B eCommerce developer should now the latest eCommerce trends for 2021, such as:
- Headless commerce
- Enabling voice search
- Embedding chatbots
- AI and Machine Learning
- Seamless checkout experience
Here is a list of the top ten digital commerce trends for 2020:
5. Understanding the Difference between B2C and B2B Websites
There is a difference between B2B and B2C websites. A B2B eCommerce developer should be able to identify this difference before moving ahead with the development initiatives.
When developing a B2B eCommerce website design, the key consideration should be around:
- Developing a professional homepage
- Chatbots and live chat option should be made available
- Integrating payment options such as pay on credit, ACH payments, procurement punchouts
- Offering a one-click reordering system
- Embedding automated pricing estimators
- Setting parameters for minimum order quantity
If a developer knows that the parameters mentioned above differentiate a B2B website from a B2C website, nothing can be better.
6. Should Follow Agile Methodology
eCommerce website development is an ongoing process as new realities are likely to emerge from time to time. An eCommerce developer should have an agile mindset and should also be able to follow the Agile development methodology for the development process.
Whether it is integrating new technologies, fixing technical glitches, or regular maintenance — an eCommerce developer should act promptly and effectively towards enhancing the eCommerce experience.
Benefits of adopting agile methodology by eCommerce development companies:
- Flexibility and speed of development
- Iteration and incremental development
- Fewer risks
- Regular testing and maintenance
7. Ratings, Reviews, and Testimonials
When considering choosing from shortlisted B2B eCommerce companies, consider — ratings, reviews, and testimonials. These factors add to the trust, reliability, and authenticity — the essential parameters for eCommerce development.
Visit the developers’ website to see their work in the industry and testimonials of the existing clientele.
You could also go rely on ratings and reviews by Clutch or GoodFirms. These ratings and review platforms also highlight the service focus, hourly rates, eCommerce developer location, and level of expertise to help you make an informed decision.
8. Engagement Model as per Time-frame and Budget
Before you proceed to hire an eCommerce web development agency, it is a good idea to list your priorities – budget, timelines, flexibility on collaboration, clarity in scope, the minimum period of engagement for which you need to hire resources, etc.
To avoid any ambiguity at the end of the project, it is essential to talk about the type of engagement model from early on.
Will it be fixed price, dedicated hiring, or an hourly price model? Refer to the image below to understand the differences between these three models.
|1. Nature of Requirements||Evolving||Well-defined scope||Evolving|
|2. Suitable Scenarios||
MVP and full-lifecycle product development
Projects where requirements or technology is so unique that it is not possible to estimate
Replacements for in-house teams to save costs
Projects where distributed teams are required
Small to medium size projects with well-defined scope
Requirements do not change too often
Large projects – only if there is a well-documented RFP
Maintenance and enhancement of existing projects
Small bug fixes
Developing proof of concepts
Projects where developers do not have experience on a particular technology
|3. Time to Market||2-4 weeks for the initial sprint||Depending on the scope||Depending on complexity|
|4. Flexibility to Scale Up/Down Resources||Medium to high||Low||High|
|5. Collaboration Required from Business Owner||Low||High||Low or high depending on complexity of project|
|6. Projection of Costs||Possible||Possible||Not Possible|
|7. Billing||Monthly basis||Milestone basis||Weekly basis|
|8. Minimum Period of Engagement||12-16 weeks||No Limit||Minimum one week|
The engagement model you choose will decide the budget, development time, time to market, etc. Ensure that everything is in writing so that there is no possibility of questioning expectations.
9. Maintain an Active Communication Channel
Open communication is very crucial during the development process. It will help if you ask the developers about their approach, mode, and communication frequency regarding project progress.
Considering the prevalence of remote work, meetings can be conducted anytime and anywhere via video conferences and screen sharing services. In the end, it’s all about speed and convenience. How easy will it be to arrange a meeting with the key decision-makers?
Ask the shortlisted B2B eCommerce website development companies whether you will be provided with a single contact who will take personal ownership of the project. This will be beneficial because you will communicate regularly with someone who is working on your project.
10. Ask Questions
Before hiring a B2B eCommerce developer, you should ask the right questions regarding the job. It is similar to interviewing a permanent staffer.
All-in-all, hiring for B2B eCommerce services should be an informed decision, and asking the right questions should take precedence.
Here are some of the questions that you need to ask:
- What technologies have you worked on and are comfortable to work with?
- Do you have certifications that align with your level of expertise?
- What are the similar projects you have worked for?
- How much experience do you have in the eCommerce development field?
- Do you know the ins and outs of eCommerce platforms you specialize in, i.e., Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, or BigCommerce?
- Do my budget and time constraints suit you?
- Do you have SEO experience around developing eCommerce websites?
- What are the communication channels you are comfortable with?
- Do you offer post-development support and maintenance?
Before venturing on the path to hire a B2B eCommerce developer, it should be your priority to understand the functional and business requirements related to the project.
Your new B2B e-commerce website will be a reflection of your strategic business goals. The achievement of these goals is entirely possible when you consider each of the ten considerations when hiring a suitable eCommerce developer.
The right B2B eCommerce developer will ensure that you will achieve tangible results, translating into measurable returns.
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