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4 Crucial Truths of Global Delivery for B2B Commerce

B2B Commerce

B2B commerce websites are notably complex, so we are committed to leveraging world-class talent wherever it exists, even if their day ends when mine begins. “Good morning, good evening.” This is how many days start here at Perficient.
During this call, technical leadership will learn whether the team could proceed as hoped overnight or if they encountered questions that prevented them from completing their work. The products from the client’s suppliers may need SKUs added, or incomplete address information for the buyers will inhibit account maintenance or shipping features. The list of possibilities is endless when integrating with modern ecommerce platforms. Consequently, this call can cause a little apprehension.
Leading a global team involves a few challenges that might only occur in an environment with differing time zones and cultures. Fortunately, you can overcome these challenges while leveraging the world’s best talent. If you do, the online shopping experience of your buyers stands only to gain. You can streamline getting products to market, be they yours or your suppliers.

Start Generating Sales off Your B2B Commerce Website Weeks Earlier

Quick Hits:

  • A prioritized effort at the bookends of the day achieves market growth sooner.
  • The development and testing environments should stay up for overnight work on your ecommerce website.

If you collaborate with a team that works overnight, you can appreciate the value of a shift handoff. Clients might need to decide on product recommendations on their product details page or what attributes will be searchable for a product category. They will commit to deciding “.. by the end of business or, worst case, tomorrow morning.” The difference between the two seems little more than nuance, but for a team whose work follows the sun, receipt by the following morning means losing an entire day! Thus dedicating a little extra time today instead of first thing in the morning cuts delays significantly.
If the engineers have what they need in my morning, they can close out work that day. They may have to hold onto the baton and make another trip around the track if answers come too late or of insufficient quality. Same-day verification that they have what they need empowers our development team to use good judgment and provide a quality product. Creating a great customer experience that strengthens your business relationships needs everyone to use good judgment.

Our clients and we must operationalize an extended productive day. Many businesses use cloud resources and have cultivated a cost consciousness around them. It’s common to shut down non-production resources at the end of a business day and restart at 8 or 9 AM local time. I’ve had cases where our QA team informed us that they couldn’t validate ecommerce order submissions because the client’s internal non-production software interfaces were unavailable.

Great B2B Commerce Features Require Great Documentation

Quick Hits:

  • Iterate your ecommerce requirements to get clearer and more precise over time.
  • Quality-documented ecommerce website feature designs are critical to online selling maturity.
  • Emails serve other communication purposes better than they do documentation.

A global development strategy for ecommerce encourages a more explicit and formulaic communication method. Our documentation and communication evolve iteratively to articulate a message free of ambiguity. Features like data-driven insights require specific instructions during implementation. A customer’s experience during checkout should be very explicit and clear, particularly when expanding into new markets.
Our colleagues rely on written details of our client discussions. Improving your customer service with a B2B ecommerce website requires a detailed plan of features and user experience. When the concrete design articulates a complete picture, it galvanizes our team to do the right thing. My devotion to this topic is rooted in it being our vision’s unbiased source of truth. Driving revenue growth in B2B commerce requires rolling your sleeves and doing tedious work to protect your strategy.
Using workflow and content repositories is a better habit for global collaboration than sending emails and adding attachments. We can align and develop effective protocols for the placement and organization of the information. It’s also easier to incorporate changes into a single place; emails frequently communicate something in isolation or need to include the previous alignment in their content. They can often create multiple sources of truth wherein there should only be one. For example, any document with numerous revisions may scatter across various emails. Emails are often quickly buried and only sometimes sent to everyone who needs to see them. They are less secure than repositories since you can accidentally send an email to unauthorized emails or individuals.

Don’t Let Your Digital Revolution Falter on Holidays

Quick Hits:

  • Plan for their holidays and yours.

Different national holidays introduce dual obstacles. The first hurdle is a plan that assumes team members will always be available, only to find that they won’t because of a national holiday. The second is when I am off for a national holiday, but my other colleagues are not; I have to confirm they have everything they need from me in advance. This concept may be familiar if your company has global sales and operations.
Make sure you know when and how long the holidays will be. Think about the big holidays where people might even take a week off. That means an entire team could be gone for several days. Our clients may have critical stakeholders attend tradeshows or conferences right before or after the development team has a national holiday. Then a key feature is on hold for weeks.

Keep Your Ecommerce Website ‘Out of Hot Water’

Quick Hits:

  •  Get literal.

I can keep my communication free of slang, jargon, and localized expressions. I am in awe of my colleagues, who often know at least two or more languages. It is because of the diligence of many team members that our collaboration is possible. It is remarkable, considering all the sophisticated concepts we must align on for an ecommerce website. I don’t want our team to have to parse, “We are running out of runway on this feature; we need to put a bow on this by end of the week else we’ll be in hot water.”

Wrapping Up on B2B Commerce Global Delivery

Working with global colleagues requires some optimizations to work effectively on the digital transformations we carry out for our clients daily. That means efficient virtual shift handoffs to ensure we clear any blockers to progress. We must avoid getting tripped up by language or holiday barriers. Finally, building quality evolving documentation is an indispensable reflex.
We want to deliver on our clients’ omnichannel ambitions and drive them to be more profitable. It takes a global village to raise a commerce website that compels your buyers, builds a reputation with your suppliers, and re-enforces your brand. Global teams aren’t the only thing to consider: 5 Things You Need to Know About B2B Commerce

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Brian White

Brian is a creative and collaborative leader able to leverage his deep IT background to architect and lead projects that unequivocally boost an organization's bottom line. His background covers more than 2 decades of software and web development, business analysis, data processing/ETL/Reporting/BI, software project leadership and management, and solution architecture. He lives with his two children in Kalamazoo, MI.

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