How to Use One B2B eCommerce Platform for Multiple Regional Markets
One of the most important and frequent B2B ecommerce business challenges is growth into new regions, countries and unions of states. When expanding geographically, associated costs are critical to the business, especially until sales begin in local markets.
Virto Commerce allows you to avoid wasteful costs of duplicating the platform for local markets. Do all the work with one team in all markets.
Potential use cases for business expansion to new geo
This article describes an architectural solution for multi-regional stores based on the Virto Commerce platform. The proposed solution is targeted to provide multi-regional support that shares the same master catalog and to have one team manage multiple regions of stores.
Webstores represent the points of sale for customers from different regions. They use different URLs, have localized content of product specs and descriptions and prices in the local currency.
The typical supported scenarios are as follows,
- Multi-regional store with the same or similar assortment.
- Multi-country store with the same or similar assortment but different price lists in different currencies.
- Multi-country store with the same or similar assortment but with different localized content such as name, catalog item descriptions etc.
- Mix of the above.
In this architecture diagram, three webstores are targeting customers in different regions that share the same Virto Commerce back end. The webstores are integrated with one or more third party systems (such as ERP, PIM, etc.)
The Virto Commerce back end has a set of native modules or extended modules. The diagram focuses on the Catalog and Price list modules.
The Catalog module supports master catalogs. These are the physical catalogs that store the master data of the product items. Master catalogs can be used directly to assign to one or multiple regions. In situations where the structure and content of a master catalog don’t meet the region requirements, Virto Commerce catalog module supports a virtual catalog model. Virtual catalogs can be created for a specific region (EU) and contain a subset of items from the master catalog.
Components in the diagram
Webstore — webstore is a salespoint of the store. It can be a website, an application or something else.
Virto Commerce — platform with the native, extended, or new customer specific modules.
Catalog module — catalog module responsible to run CRUD operations to build the seller’s product catalog structure.
Master catalog — master data of the seller’s catalog assortment master data that can be uploaded via .CSV file import or via RESTful API. The Master catalog can be enriched with additional properties from the back office. The Master catalog can be used for multiple stores configured in Virto Commerce. In the scheme, the master catalog is used directly for US and CA webstores.
Virtual catalog — the virtual catalog can be used to build a subset or a combination of items from one or more master catalogs. This tool adjusts the catalog structure to meet the specific region requirements. The virtual catalog can be created and used specifically for an EU region webstore [in the architecture scheme].
Price list module — the price list module is responsible for managing specific webstore, region, catalog, customer group or specific customer prices. The price list module supports multi-currency. That way, it’s possible to upload and manage price lists in different currencies for different regions. In the diagram, price lists for three different currencies are managed (USD – for the US webstore, CAD – for the CA webstore and EUR – for the EU webstore).
Integration middleware — integration middleware is used to transform API messages, to support the exchange of master data or transactional data between Virto Commerce and a third party system(s). Logic App can be used as an integration middleware.
Virto Commerce architecture allows a company to expand its regional presence quickly, flexible and inexpensive. The company can launch its stores in different regions with different languages and currencies while maintaining a single ecosystem of applications and a single process for order processing and customer service.
A massive advantage of the Virto Commerce architecture is the ability to scale ecommerce to regions without multiple platform installations for the regional markets. This provides savings in both IT infrastructure and staff. The same IT team can serve the platform for all markets, adding staff with language skills only as needed to support local customers.
On other competing platforms, in order to launch a new regional online store, you need to copy the ecommerce platform for each new region, which effectively means duplication of the IT resources and team, i.e., a doubling the cost of everything.
The Virto Commerce architecture avoids cost duplication natively. You can launch a new ecommerce business in new regions, but the infrastructure that serves it remains the same or grows insignificantly. The best practice to scale the Virto Commerce ecommerce platform to new regional markets is to install it at a cloud provider such as Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud.