You’ve realized that in order for your B2B wholesale or distribution company to keep growing it’s time to invest in B2B e-commerce software that takes you to the next level. You have customers that want to order online and a sales team that needs more modern tools. There are many turnkey options out there that can get you up and running quickly. But how do you know which one to choose? The software demo is going to be crucial to your buying decision. However, these demo events can be over in a flash.
Here are some things to keep in mind before the demo and questions to ask during the demo to slow things down and elicit the vital information you will need.
When you schedule demos with vendors make sure you ask them all the same questions. If you see a number of demos--especially over a short time period, it will be sensory overload. Take good notes.
Choosing software in today’s market doesn’t have to be a long term commitment. Find one with monthly payment terms so if it doesn’t work for you, you can easily get out of it.
What happens after you make the purchase?
Many B2B e-commerce software programs have similar features so it’s important to understand what kind of support you will get from the software company and the kind of relationship you can establish with them.
- What kind of support will you get? Is support free?
- Will there be a knowledge base where you can find answers to your questions?
- What kind of support team is there and how available will they be?
- Can you get support by phone, email or live chat?
- Does staff training and onboarding come with the package?
- Is there a personal onboarding process to familiarize staff with the package after installation?
- How often is the software updated? Are there major costs for upgrades?
Issues with new software can arise because the software environment in the system includes incompatible elements, so that one part doesn't interact well with others. There may be formatting differences or other incompatibilities that are not obvious at first. Ensure that the e-commerce software you choose is compatible with your current systems. It is important that an e-commerce system works with your accounting software, like QuickBooks. With a product based business you need to ensure your software can keep your records consistent and inventory updated.
- How well does the software integrate with software already in use?
- Does the vendor have experience with the software currently being used?
- Does the software fit well into the existing network structure and the hardware that you use?
- Will you be able to import your past data, your previous order information, and your historical information without re-inputting it?
- Will past sales numbers be available immediately after the new software is up and running?
Make sure all of the capabilities of the new software are understood at the outset.
- What reporting capabilities does the software have?
- Does the application have the ability to translate sales data into performance reports and metrics?
- How much data can the software handle? How well does it use the bandwidth available on your systems? Is there room to scale up and handle your business growth?
- How well can the software be customized as your business changes? Are there features to handle discounts, special sales events, and varied inventory? Can the software be personalized to include your own logos and branding?
- Are there sufficient privacy provisions? Will access to information be controllable? How will the sign-in provisions work? Will certain staff be prevented from seeing the data of other staff?
Portability, networking, and flexibility of use is very important for most business software.
- Can staff have access to the software out of the office?
- How well can the software be used in remote locations?
- How convenient is it when working directly with customers?
- Does it have the capacity to create orders and to update information in real time?
- Is the user interface intuitive?