A Full Guide for Ecommerce Businesses
ScienceSoft is a trusted consulting and implementation partner to businesses starting online sales. In portal development since 2005, we advocate savvy use of technologies to disrupt the way ecommerce business is done.
What Is an Ecommerce Portal
Ecommerce portals are online platforms where buyer-seller trading transactions are conducted. Manufacturers and distributors launch ecommerce portals to transit their buyers to an online channel. Portals streamline the buying process by facilitating bulk ordering and enabling volume-based pricing. As of 2020, about 10-11% of surveyed manufacturers and distributors revealed that about 80-100% of their revenues was generated through ecommerce portals.
What Makes for a Viable Ecommerce Portal
At ScienceSoft, when we create solutions for electronic commerce, we focus on effective management and personalization of buying experience. We build the following functionality to achieve that.
Pricing and catalog personalization
Corporate account management
Facilitated ordering process
Key Portal Features Illustrated
Take an Interactive Tour with ScienceSoft
ScienceSoft has created two demos to give you hands-on experience with B2C and B2B ecommerce portals.
A B2C ecommerce portal demo
In B2C ecommerce portals, customers value personalized and frictionless experience across the digital channels.
A B2B ecommerce portal demo
In B2B ecommerce portals, buyers value convenient self-service tools to place and manage their bulk orders.
How an Ecommerce Portal Integrates into Your Corporate Workflows
At ScienceSoft, we don’t see an ecommerce portal as a mere sales channel, rather a constituent of supply chain, product and customer data management. Thus, we integrate created portals with the following business systems to establish smooth workflows.
- Centralized order management in ERP and no manual data input.
- Frictionless order fulfillment from multiple warehouse locations.
- Extra inventory control with timely detection of supply excess or shortage.
- Data-driven procurement planning.
- No missed orders and payments.
Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP, Acumatica.
- Faster time to market for an online sales channel.
- No product information conflicts within your organization.
- Unified product data format.
- Management of complex pricing hierarchies.
- Self-management of product catalogs by suppliers.
- No pieces of information lost or overlooked as customers switch between self-service and team-assisted buying.
- Targeted upsells and cross-sells, effective management of in-person sales based on comprehensive cross-channel customer knowledge.
- Uninterrupted customer communication during long sales cycles.
- AI-powered insights into customer data and informed CX decisions.
Tips from ScienceSoft to Make Your Ecommerce Portal a Success
Personalize online experience demanding less in-person involvement of your sales team.
Reduce manual data management within the supply chain.
Enable simultaneous access of multiple users within one corporate account but guarantee data confidentiality by incorporating user roles and permissions.
Provide maximum self-service capabilities for buyers.
Ecommerce Portals Cost
The solution implementation journey depends on your business strategy maturity and in-house competencies and may include market entry and technology consulting, business analysis, infrastructure setup, platform configuration and customization, integrations, to name just a few big picture parts. Our experience shows that investments of $70-250K is the average for ecommerce portal launch for the middle market (platform license and content cost are not included).
Benefits of Ecommerce Portals
At ScienceSoft, we see our clients benefit from the following financial outcomes after the portal implementation.
- Deals are successfully made with businesses generally preferring online over offline cooperation growing a customer base.
- Customers buy 24/7 on the website, not dependent on your sales team’s working schedule.
- AI-powered product recommendations help increase conversions from upsells.
Reduced operational costs
- Automated order processing reduces the risk of inconsistencies and missed orders entailing reimbursement issues.
- The efforts of your sales team are rationalized due to the shift from manual work to strategic evolution.
- The sales cycle is often reduced by giving buyers self-service tools and mapping their journey diligently from product discovery to buy.
Top Platforms for Ecommerce Portal Development
Adobe Commerce (previously Magento Commerce)
Best for mid-to-enterprise market
- Leader in digital commerce named by Gartner.
- A B2B module is included for free with Adobe Commerce Pro plan.
- Multi-store support to create unique storefronts for different product categories, geolocations or affiliates.
- The large market of off-the-shelf integration solutions.
- Endless customization potential coupled, however, with pretty high development costs.
Watsco Inc., a distributor of HVAC and refrigeration equipment to contractors, saw +50% year-to-year revenue growth and a total of $900 million in online sales with Adobe Commerce for their ecommerce operations.
Starts at $1,999 a month.
Best for enterprise market
Optimizely B2B Commerce
Best for middle market
With an ecommerce portal on Optimizely B2B Commerce, Torrington Supply Company achieved 10% increase in a number of orders.
Depends fully on business requirements and requires contacting the vendor directly.
Custom Ecommerce Portal
Though we advocate platform-based portal development as offering an optimal implementation cost, we justify investments into a custom solution when the business logic to design doesn’t nearly fit into the platform’s frames. In this case, writing and maintaining tons of custom code above the source code is not only costly and time-consuming. Down the road, it may cause performance issues and hinder the delivery of new features.
Your decision to go custom must be well-grounded and taken only after a thorough investigation of your business needs and ecommerce software market research.
You Might Be Interested to Know
How long does it take to create an ecommerce portal?
From ScienceSoft’s experience, ecommerce portal development takes 6-8 months, longer for large-scale solutions with more complicated requirements. If you need to launch faster, we can offer to start with an MVP that can be market-ready in 3-4 months.
Custom vs. ready-to-go solution: which approach is the best for you?
The choice of a development approach is very important as it predetermines the cost of ownership, the convenience of use, scalability, and many other aspects of your ecommerce portal. We’ve summarized key advantages and disadvantages of each approach to guide your choice.
Custom portal development
- A solution built specifically for your requirements, no customization limits.
- A possibility to create unique design, no pre-built templates.
- Easy scalability.
- Full solution ownership, no licensing costs.
- Longer development time.
- Higher cost.
Platform-based portal development
- Fast time to market.
- Functionality and security updates delivered by a platform’s vendor.
- Lower development cost.
- Limited customization, a risk of ultimately hitting a customization ceiling.
- License fee.
Launch Your Ecommerce Portal with ScienceSoft
As for now, 250+ companies globally have tapped into ScienceSoft’s expertise to launch a digital presence. We offer a full-fledged consulting and development partnership.
- A tailored go-to-market strategy.
- A feasibility study of your ecommerce initiative.
- A solution requirements specification with all business objectives and technology functionality documented.
- An IT ecosystem outline for your business workflow automation.
- Your ecommerce portal configured and customized to your business needs.
- All business workflows associated with your ecommerce direction automated.
- Profiles of your current customer base and their historical data automatically migrated to make customer transition to online smooth.
ScienceSoft is an IT consulting and software development company with a history dating back to 1989 and a global presence encompassing delivery centers in the US, UAE, and Europe. Web portal development is our strategic business direction, and we consistently grow our expertise and knowledge to bring true value with the buying experience we design.