5 Technical Challenges of B2B eCommerce Personalization

5 top technical challenges of B2B ecommerce personalization (Part 2)

Challenges in B2B personalization

Challenges in B2B personalization

This is the second part of the article dedicated to the technical challenges of B2B ecommerce personalization. The first part was about business aspects of B2B personalization in ecommerce and the third part will cover a tour about Virto Commerce modules resolving personalization issues.

Business personalization challenges listed in Part 1 must be supported by the technical capabilities of the ecommerce platform. Let’s call them technical challenges of the B2B personalization. For every personalization idea, you must have the tools to implement it.

For your convenience, a color legend in diagrams from Part 1 to 3 will help you link each listed challenge to the Virto Commerce module that effectively resolves it.

Among the technical challenges, two types can be distinguished: data management (catalog data and cache) and IT capabilities (24/7, high performance).

Personalization challenges related to data management in B2B

Data management challenges include catalog access restrictions, catalog data, personalized response and low cache readiness.

  • Catalog access management tool defines the parts of an entire product catalog that may be shown to a certain B2B client. You do not have to show the entire catalog to every customer like in B2C, most often, the B2B catalog directories have limited access.

  • Caching reduces the load on the store's IT resources and improves store availability. Considering different organizations entering the online store must see their personalization by catalog, prices, roles and other parameters, classic caching can’t work entirely reliable as the system requires much memory for the cache.

If you show personalized search results, prices, catalog, marketing offers, etc., effective caching would be required. This is the specificity of B2B, because for a B2C store you can easily cache a price that rarely changes for a product. Moreover, for B2B it is difficult to cache because at any time a product could have a new price [even entered manually]. The caching implementation should also take into account that customers do not enter the store very often, most likely during business hours. Hence the need to support caching using a more complex algorithm.

Defining personalization in B2B ecommerce

and why it’s crucial

Personalization challenges related to IT infrastructure in B2B

Aspects of IT infrastructure and its availability are related to the second set of technical challenges of B2B personalization in ecommerce.

Account based personalized prices

A large number of price levels are typical for B2B. The prices are personalized, so the supplier cannot guarantee a certain product costs xx euros or dollars to each customer. For each partner, or a group of partners, prices may be different and such a vast number of prices leads to the fact that they may not even be calculated according to formulas but there entered into CRM by the sales manager by hand. Therefore, the same product can have many price values and the ecommerce platform should support this variety.

High availability and performance for B2B online store

Applications must perform 24/7 real time performance and be available 99.99+. B2B has peak hours during the day when customers mainly enter the online shop, so the peak loads cannot be spread over time like in a B2C store. When clients make purchases, peak loads are a challenge for an ecommerce platform. It must work with personalization algorithms without the ability to cache it.

Support and maintenance to accept all B2B orders

Nevertheless, the ecommerce system must be reliable, and its unavailability can be very expensive in B2B. For example: a large customer who is not able to place an order due to system downtime is a terrible situation for the supplier. The platform has to be well maintained to work reliable from a technical point of view; there should be no downtime in the system [although it can be at service during nighttime].

Read a comprehensive list of B2B personalization challenges that have business or technical origin.

Looking for more ideas and tools to build a perfect personalization in B2B ecommerce? We are happy to answer all your questions with our B2B ecommerce platform.

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Oleg Zhuk
Technical Product Owner