Should you use an open source, bolt-on, or speciality platform for your eCommerce website? The myriad of options available to industrial distributors today is both a blessing and source of frustration. Choosing the right engine to power your online branch can mean the difference between digital profitability and a costly mistake. In this episode of The Takeover, we will explore the different types of eCommerce platforms available to industrial distributors and which option is right for YOUR business.

 

 

"It's Not The Tool, It's How You Use It", said No Elite Performer Ever

Ask any professional golfer, musician, or photographer. Equipment matters. You may have the best training money can buy, a ferocious work-ethic, or maybe just God-given talent, but in some of the most competitive environments known to man, the tools used can give us the edge we need to win. Who can forget the woes Rory Mcilroy faced when he switched to Nike clubs several years ago. When Nike exited the equipment business, he switched to TaylorMade and since then, his statistics speak for themselves. 

Are you shopping for an eCommerce solution for your business? If so, you came to the right place. Let's talk about some of the technology available and why or why not they might be a good fit for your online channel.

When it comes to eCommerce Platforms there’s basically three types to consider: Open-Source, Bolt-On, or Custom

Open Source eCommerce

Platforms like Magento, BigCommerce, and Shopify are called open source because their source code is made available for use or modification as users or developers see fit. 

The advantage of using one of these platforms is two-fold. First, you’ll benefit from a large and growing library of plugins or apps that you can use to customize your eCommerce experience. 

The other related benefit is a growing community of developers and designers who are familiar with these platforms.

The downside is that these platforms will not be integrated with your existing inventory or accounting systems, custom development may be expensive, and you’ll need to provide all of the product content yourself. 

I've seen Open Source eCommerce Projects cost upwards of $100K per year and that doesn't even include the content!

Bolt-On eCommerce

Bolt-On platforms refer to eCommerce solutions offered by software providers - like your ERP software.

The benefit of purchasing a bolt-on solution from your ERP provider is the integration of customer data. 

For example, you can manage pricing and customer order information in one place and have that data pass back and forth between the two systems. 

This is a huge convenience, but may not be necessary for smaller suppliers. Most bolt-on platforms lack the ability to customize the design, development, and content. This creates a very dry, and sometimes ugly user experience. Like the open source option, you will also need to provide your own product content.

Some of these bolt-on solutions are equivalent to driving a 1984 Pinto to drop off your customer's package. No bueno!

 

Specialty eCommerce

Custom platforms, like Spinstak, are designed for a very specific customer group and while they are not open-source, they have the advantage of a shared community of like-minded customers who have helped develop the platform over time to meet their needs. 

Spinstak eCommerce websites are 98% small-to-medium-sized industrial distributors. 

This platform also includes a shared product library with up-to-date content from more than 2,000 manufacturers and over 650,000 part numbers and growing.

Custom development and even integrations can be added as you scale, plus the biggest advantage of using a platform created by a marketing agency is that you can outsource a true turnkey solution for your eComm-Wheel to keep your fixed costs low. 

Spinstak eCommerce offers the best return on investment, particularly for suppliers under $50 million in annual revenue.

 

Before Your Invest! Take the eCommerce Master Class

In this educational video course, I spill the beans on everything I know about building, launching, and growing an industrial distribution website.

There’s 10 videos, and each one is under 10-minutes long. This course will take you less than a few hours to complete, but it’s jam-packed with valuable content that took me years to learn.

My mission is to educate and empower independent safety and industrial distributors with the tools they need to compete with the best brands online.

IM101 - eCommerce Cogwheel-01-1eComm-Wheel™ of Growth

We’ll start by introducing the eComm-Wheel™ of Growth -- our proprietary system for building, launching, and growing an industrial distribution website. 

You’ll learn how to build and manage an internal marketing team, choose the right technology for your business, learn the best practices about web design, marketing content, and product data. 

Process Development

We'll discuss the ever-important role of process development and I’ll give you the standard operating procedures you need to run your online branch like a well-oiled machine. 

Customer Adoption and Promotion

Most-importantly, I’ll share my top-performing marketing strategies for a seamless launch and teach you how to promote your site to both new and existing customers. 

Finally, I’m going to show you how to turn analytics into action so you can keep the eComm-Wheel™ of Growth spinning and generating revenue while you sleep. 

If you want to save countless time and money by learning from my years of experience, and even my mistakes, then you need to register today.

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Topics: eCommerce, B2B Website, website design, Blog, customer experience, The Takeover Podcast, leadership, eCommerce Master Class

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