Putting a modern B2B eCommerce platform in place - whether it’s for the first time or as a byway of transitioning between platforms - is best approached through a series of focused stages we call the Envoy stairway. This is a common approach to software implementation that, when adapted to B2B eCommerce, offers a simple way to think about both putting your B2B eCommerce platform in place and adopting a modern strategy to be more successful with your Wholesale Channel.
Your organization may currently be in several different stages of the adoption process simultaneously, but this doesn’t mean you need to start over in order to implement this staircase approach. Simply adopt these best practices going forward into future stages. Once you have your team aligned on these goals, you’ll find that your adoption of staircase best practices becomes smooth and simple.
Realistically, adoption of any new platform within your organization should be thought about in a series of stages. Each stage should build on the last stage’s capabilities.
For example, it’s best to start your implementation by focusing on order capture. This is the most fundamental purpose of a B2B ecommerce platform and is the basis for all other stages.
That means it’s important to get right.
Your solution should satisfy all your order types - from replenishment to future orders - right out of the gate. Subsequent stages will build on these order capabilities and provide a singular destination to support all your buyers’ needs.
Likely you’ve been a part of an implementation where the team is stretched to validate too many interconnected features that all depend on each other. The failure of one leads to the failure of the next, and so on, until the project is in flames.
This is often described as the “Big Bang Approach,” where a brand tries to simultaneously implement and release several major elements of a B2B eCommerce platform all at once. This also often means working across many different departments at the same time within your company. This only increases the difficulty of achieving success.
While the need to accomplish multiple tasks within an implementation at once can not be entirely avoided, utilizing the staircase approach will encourage putting more focus on specific features within each stage, and to work more closely with each supporting department to validate those features.
It’s important for your team and your buyers to be introduced to your new platform in stages as well.
In continuing with the example of starting with an implementation stage focused on order capture, it makes sense to focus your team on this same goal and get them educated and confident with the order capture process. This will be leveraged in the rest of the platform as you roll it out.
For example, when it comes time to implement marketing features, your marketing team will already have experience with your order capture system. They will understand, through education and direct experience, how your B2B processes and business rules operate. This will enable the marketing team to leverage product segmentation as they embrace building out a modern commercial marketing plan within your B2B eCommerce platform.
The outcome of organized expansion, focused validation, and building knowledge within your user base will be a focused adoption plan. You will have a clear set of associated features and workflows that need to be adopted.
Building knowledge within your organization is the key to a successful adoption, but how do you get the team on board without overwhelming them? It’s simply too hard and ineffective to try and educate and get your entire user base excited about too much too quickly. Timing is critical, but rolling out too much in the middle of the season is a recipe for disaster.
The solution is to build that internal knowledge in stages. Establish a base of readily available, knowledgeable experts than can educate and excite the rest of your internal users.
Where are you on the stairway and what are your challenges? With these best practices we have successfully helped brands adopt our B2B eCom platform alongside modern strategies to grow their wholesale channel. Reach out, let’s grow!
By: Jon Faber
Chief Executive Officer
Jon has specialized in pushing the Wholesale B2B landscape forward for the past 8 years by championing feature innovation and generating high volume, high value content for forward thinking footwear and apparel brands.
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Envoy B2B is a wholesale content and eCommerce platform for your entire team. Our tools and services are designed to help you create dynamic content, increase your speed of sale, and bring you closer to your retailers. Envoy B2B provides the technology you need to empower your team and support your retail channel.