Is your company's growth being hindered by outdated eCommerce technology? For industrial distributors and manufacturers pursuing growth and efficiency often requires evolving business-critical systems such as your B2B eCommerce technology. As strategic priorities shift and operations scale, legacy eCommerce software may no longer align with your future requirements.
Migrating to a new platform may be imperative for future success. This article examines the 10 of the most compelling reasons companies switch B2B eCommerce platforms – from maximizing features and security to enabling expansion. Learn how to determine if it's time for change and ensure a smooth transition that minimizes revenue disruptions.
Discover why taking a proactive approach to upgrading technology, not clinging to legacy systems, is key to sustaining competitive advantage in today's digital landscape. Technology change requires pragmatism and vision - recognizing when current systems fall short and proactively seeking solutions tailored to your business resources, budget, and growth goals. It demands courage to disrupt the status quo of “how we’ve always done things.” But companies willing to reinvent both processes and platforms will gain competitive advantage.
Taking these thoughts into consideration, when companies make the shift to a new B2B eCommerce provider or solution, it can fall into one of the reasons (or several) below:
- Outdated Technology: Legacy B2B eCommerce platforms built on older or obsolete technology can present several challenges like lack of support, security risks, and missing features. For example, platforms older than 5-10 years old may not be optimized for modern browsing experiences across desktop, mobile, and apps. They will not offer newer functionalities like AI-powered recommendations or voice-enabled commerce. Outdated codebases also pose cybersecurity threats if no longer patched by vendors. By upgrading to modern B2B SaaS platforms, companies gain access to the latest innovations while ensuring technology resilience and competitiveness.
- Vendor and Support Issues: Over time, companies may experience subpar vendor support, slow response times, lack of engagement from account managers, or overall unreliability. Platform instability that leads to frequent outages can severely impact revenue and reputation. Bug fixes and new feature releases may be delayed indefinitely. Poor support wastes internal resources on troubleshooting. By contrast, stable vendors provide SLAs, robust customer service, and play an active role in ensuring platform optimization. Therefore, switching vendors is often necessary to obtain reliable ongoing support.
- Scalability Limitations: Business growth can quickly outpace legacy platforms. Volume spikes during peak seasons may strain or crash servers. Adding new product lines strains inventory capabilities. Expanding globally requires localization support. Deep customizations become unwieldy. Once scalability limits are reached, performance and UX suffer. Moving to a B2B eCommerce platform built on enterprise cloud infrastructure allows near-infinite, on-demand scalability. Highly customizable platforms can also adapt to changing requirements.
- Enhanced Features and User Experience: Customer expectations evolve quickly - they demand intuitive, seamless shopping experiences across channels. Switching to platforms with features like personalization, predictive search, omnichannel order management, and progressives web apps creates a cutting-edge user experience. Streamlined checkouts and mobile optimization further enhance conversions. Updated CMS and merchandising tools empower brands to differentiate. Leveraging these features is imperative for fostering loyalty and winning against the competition.
- Cost of Ownership: Maintaining heavily customized legacy B2B eCommerce systems often requires significant in-house developer resources and continuous hardware investments, becoming more expensive over time. While open-source eCommerce platforms may offer lower upfront licensing costs, maintaining and customizing them over time can require significant in-house developer resources. This ongoing development expenditure can render them prohibitively expensive for long-term use. In contrast, newer proprietary SaaS platforms provide automation, built-in best practices, and turnkey maintenance that optimize operations and reduce required headcount/resources. Proprietary platforms handle upgrades and innovation through the vendor, reducing the need for extensive internal technical resources. Though initial subscription fees may be higher, the long-term TCO is optimized by leveraging the vendor's ongoing platform enhancements and avoiding extensive custom coding expenses. When evaluating the total cost of ownership and return on investment, industrial distribution and manufacturing companies should carefully weigh the potential benefits of proprietary platforms that reduce developer costs and provide more operational efficiencies over the full technology lifecycle.
- Optimizing Cost Efficiency with Proprietary Platforms: Industrial companies often rely on heavily customized legacy eCommerce systems that demand significant ongoing investments in developer resources and hardware upgrades, making them prohibitively expensive to maintain long-term. While open-source platforms like Magento offer lower initial licensing costs, their need for continuous custom coding and internal development over time also incurs unsustainable costs.In contrast, newer proprietary SaaS B2B eCommerce platforms provide built-in best practices, automation, and turnkey vendor-managed maintenance. This reduces operational expenses by minimizing the required internal headcount and development resources. Though costs may be higher at the outset, proprietary platforms optimize total cost of ownership by leveraging the vendor's ongoing enhancements and avoiding excessive customization needs.When evaluating overall ROI, industrial distributors and manufacturers should consider how proprietary B2B eCommerce platforms can enhance cost efficiency over the full technology lifecycle. Proprietary platforms alleviate the rising costs of manually maintaining systems by handling innovation and upgrades through the vendor exclusively. For companies seeking optimal productivity and sustained cost optimization, partnering with a proprietary eCommerce platform vendor can be a wise long-term investment.
- Expansion: Entering new geographies requires B2B eCommerce platforms to support multiple languages, currencies, taxes/duties, and compliance standards like GDPR simultaneously. Global platforms help configure country-specific sites, payments, and checkout flows while centralizing inventory and order management. Built-in localization features like translation management simplify expansion. Flexible APIs easily integrate payment gateways and POS systems regionally. Transitioning to a globally capable platform provides a launchpad for international growth.
- Enabling Seamless Integrations: Running B2B eCommerce on a platform that lacks robust APIs and connectors often leads to fragmented systems rife with data gaps, manual errors, and disjointed customer experiences. Such legacy platforms create operational silos instead of smooth integrations. By switching to modern eCommerce platforms with API-first architectures, companies can seamlessly integrate previously disconnected systems including ERP, POS, logistics, CRM, and more. Real-time data flows freely between systems, eliminating fragmentation. This unified data also enables holistic views of customers and combined business insights that drive better decision-making across the organization. For industrial distribution and manufacturing companies looking to accelerate digital transformation, choosing an integrated B2B eCommerce platform is a critical step toward breaking down information silos to enable data-driven growth.
- Performance, Security and Compliance: With rising threats and regulations, security and compliance risks could outweigh maintaining outdated platforms. Regular penetration testing helps assess vulnerabilities. Adding compliance capabilities like GDPR and PCI DSS to legacy platforms can be resource intensive. Newer platforms with built-in, robust security protections and stay updated on evolving compliance requirements. Their cloud infrastructure also delivers powerful performance for high traffic and large catalogs. Keeping technology, security and compliance updated is a must.
- Selecting the Right Strategic Partner: Beyond evaluating features and capabilities, companies must also consider the integrity and business practices of the eCommerce platform vendor itself. Is the provider known for transparency and keeping its promises? Does it prioritize long-term win-win relationships versus short-term gains? For industrial companies, the ideal partner goes beyond technology to become a trusted advisor - providing strategic guidance, sharing expertise, and taking a genuine interest in their clients' success. Vendors who make ethical conduct central to their values are more likely to meet expectations and establish an optimal working relationship. When stakes are high, character matters - partnering with an honest vendor who wants you to thrive can make all the difference in a successful platform migration and continued growth.
Takeaway: In conclusion, carefully examining these factors helps determine if migrating to a new eCommerce platform aligns with strategic goals and facilitates both current and future needs. With technology evolving so rapidly, upgrading at the appropriate time can offer a significant competitive edge.