Ecommerce Portals: Business Guide

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.

ecommerce portal: the essence

An ecommerce portal is an online platform where buyer-seller trading transactions are conducted. Ecommerce portals are mainly used by B2B companies, manufacturers and large distributors across varied product domains, to transit their buyers from traditional in-person sales to an online buying channel.

What makes for a viable B2B ecommerce portal

In B2B electronic commerce, portal functions center around effective management and personalization of buying experience.

Pricing and catalog personalization
  • Automated pricing rules.
  • Quotes with negotiated pricing.
  • Custom catalogs with pricing available only to specified corporate accounts.
  • Minimum and maximum order volume storewide or by customer.
Corporate account management
  • Self-administering.
  • Corporate account hierarchy, user roles and permissions.
  • Per-user requisition lists.
  • Multiple lists for quick order.
  • Shipment to multiple locations.
Facilitated ordering process
  • Bulk ordering.
  • Volume-based pricing.
  • Order export before submission.
  • Quick reorder of previously purchased items.
  • Multiple requisition lists per customer account.
Payment flexibility
  • Payment on account.
  • Credit card payment.
  • Check or money order.
  • Purchase order.
Mobile experience
  • Responsive user interface.
  • Instant purchase due to saved payment credentials.
  • Clear portal navigation.
  • Faceted search.
  • Barcode scanner.
Analytics
  • Sales reports per various criteria: timeline, buyer, catalog (master and custom ones).
  • Reports for negotiated quotes.
  • Sales team performance (quote conversion rate, average sales cycle rate, negotiations success and more).
  • Balance and credit limits per buyer.

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How an ecommerce portal integrates into your corporate workflows

When made a part of a cohesive IT ecosystem, an ecommerce portal is no longer a mere sales channel. It becomes a constituent of your supply chain, product and customer data management.

Integrations

ERP integration

PIM integration

CRM integration

Business gains
ScienceSoft's expertise

Key factors to make your ecommerce portal a success

Personalize online experience demanding less in-person involvement of your sales team.

Enable simultaneous access of multiple users within one corporate account but guarantee data confidentiality by incorporating user roles and permissions.

Reduce manual data management within the supply chain.

Provide maximum self-service capabilities for buyers.

Investments in ecommerce portal development and where the ROI comes from

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).

The ROI comes from tangible financial outcomes.

Increased sales

  • 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 ecommerce platforms for ecommerce portal development

Magento Commerce
Best for mid-to-enterprise market
Description
  • Leader in digital commerce named by Gartner.
  • Magento B2B module is included for free with Magento 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.
Success story

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 Magento Commerce for their ecommerce operations.

Pricing

Starts at $1,999 a month.

Salesforce Commerce
Best for enterprise market
Description
  • Leader in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce.
  • 3 pricing plans for different business maturity levels.
  • Up to 10 storefronts supported (depending on the pricing plan).
  • Capable of housing up to 750K SKUs.
  • A wide range of complementary Salesforce products of much use in business-to-business ecommerce (in particular, Sales Cloud).
Success story

A manufacturer of specialized product identification and traceability solutions for the packaging industry, Markem-Imaje reports 449% growth in quarterly ecommerce orders due to Salesforce Commerce.

Pricing

The vendor provides exact prices by request.

InsiteCommerce
Best for middle market
Description
  • A B2B-centric ecommerce platform named a Strong Performer by Forrester.
  • Focus on platform configuration rather than customization resulting on lower implementation cost.
  • Robust marketing suite.
  • Customizable workflows to manage project budgets, request quotes and order requisition.
  • Insite’s support team is open to customer feedback and fast in delivering platform updates.
Success story

With an ecommerce portal on InsiteCommerce, Jones Healthcare Group, a world-class provider of packaging and medication dispensing solutions, hit their year-one goals for registered accounts and online orders just one week after national launch.

Pricing

Depends fully on business requirements and requires contacting the vendor directly.

When a custom ecommerce portal is a better choice for you

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.

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.
Have Your Ecommerce Portal Designed by ScienceSoft
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About ScienceSoft

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.