In a recent InternetRetailing webinar, The 7 deadly sins of B2B digital transformation (and how to avoid them) we heard from Nicholas Weber, ecommerce and B2B consultant at Inviqa, and from Heike Zellerhoff, key account manager UK at Shopware. Here’s a bulletpoint overview of the event.
Heike Zellerhoff, key account manager UK at Shopware opened the webinar with an introduction to B2B ecommerce market. “There’s never been a better time to learn about B2B and some of the mistakes companies make during their digital transformation journeys,” she said.
Where are you on your digital journey: It’s early days: 14%, we’re starting to make plans: 23%; we’ve defined strategic objectives and are evaluating platforms: 9%; we’re in the process of developing a digital product or services 18%; none of the above 36%.
Deadly sin #1
Treating B2B customers as companies not as consumers
Nicholas Weber, ecommerce and B2B consultant at Inviqa:
• It’s important for customers to be able to use your platform – will make the adoption rate much easier.
• Content is important to B2B customers as well.
• Cross-selling: can use content to drive people to raise you have more on your site than you knew before.
• Personalisation: this is now easier and cheaper to do today then 5 or 6 years ago.
Deadly sin #2
Important to think desktop and mobile
• The cross-device experience from desktop to mobile is very important: easier to take a mobile device to place orders from the warehouse, stock room etc.
• Important to think about user journeys.
Deadly sin #3
Failing to understand where to start on the digital journey
NW: “It can be hard to work out where to start. From my own experience, there’s a lot that hits you, everyone wants something from you, and you have to think about what’s important and where to start. The key thing to understand why doing this, what are the objectives.”
• Build use case: Have to be clear on what the return on your investment is going to be, and what customers you’re going to attract.
• Are you playing catch up, or developing a new service that will give a competitive advantage? What’s the readiness of customers in the market to adopt. Help to understand what marketing need to do to attract people onto the new platform when ready to go. Can do quite a lot to persuade your market to move online.
Deadly sin #4
Failing to know your technology options
• Legacy systems: everyone will have a technical landscape or architecture that was built before digital. What do I ned to work with? What do I want to pay for it? • Revenue sharing, perpetual license. Need to look at this within own organisation. • Lots of platforms, each with own merits, what important things for you. Key things: what does it cost, how quickly need to get off the ground? What are the features that mean you choose one platform over another?
Poll: what’s the main element you look for in a new technology?
Cost: 10% Control: 10% Ecosystem: 15% Ecosystem plus dev community 15% Features, with a large out of box functionality: 50%
Deadly sin #5
Taking too long to deliver digital initiatives
NW: “In many of the companies I’ve worked with previously, a traditional way of looking at life was spending a couple of months getting all the requirements documented, then getting it built over 12 month period, and only launching when perfection was achieved.
“That’s a lovely luxury to have, time, but in today’s digital market, when the competition is ever faster it’s clear that if you don’t get out there fast you’ll lose.”
• Build something to test the hypothesis that people in my market want this. When built quickly, measure how people are using it, rather than what they might do. That empirical evidence allows you to learn, might have thought would spend money on a particular item but quick test shows don’t use it/want it/don’t need to spend money delivering it.
• Minimum viable product and take to market. Difficult to answer in general terms, but normally would do a discovery process, look at how people are going to use and build the platform, you work out what’s going to be phase one, what’s the quickest to market. “There’s no one size fits all, but you’ll know it when you see it.”
Deadly sin #6
Choosing the wrong technology partners
• Criteria: how good at understanding what are the important things that need to be worked on and understood to get a project to be a success. What else have they done/worked on/what’s the USP?
• Agile approach: do things in sprints, get more done, learn from it.
Deadly sin #7
Poor project management
• Waterfall or agile approach? Different approaches suit different projects, agile can be more suitable because faster.
• Product owner (in your business, working with the client), will work closely with the project manager, entrusted to make decisions on your business’ behalf. Makes informal decisions on your behalf, works collaboratively and effectively with project manager = more effective and quicker decisions.
• Keeping people happy: map key stakeholders, work to make sure the people providing money or impacted by project are clear about its progress and what’s been achieved.
The webinar was followed by a Q&A session, where questions ranged from setting budgets to the differences between B2B and B2C. To see the webinar, slides and hear the Q&A session in full, visit the Shopware webinar page here.