Getting Started with eCommerce

This article appeared in 2024 MMA Operations Conference event program. Learn more about MMA events.

With B2B buyers expecting a B2C-like shopping experience, the bar is set high for manufacturers and distributors who want to provide an efficient and easy-to-use website for their customers. Unattractive, static and difficult-to-use B2B sites aren’t cutting it anymore. But building out a good experience takes work and forethought. In this article, we’ll share with you things to consider before getting started with an eCommerce site build.

Misconceptions About Launching a New B2B eCommerce Site

B2B companies just getting started with eCommerce often expect an amazing website out of the box without realizing all it takes to get there. With the complexities around B2B commerce, customizations to the core platform are often necessary to integrate systems and deliver the experience users expect. All of that requires an investment of money, resources and time.

Project Considerations

Here’s just a short list of things you’ll need to consider:


  • How many product types and SKUs do you have?
  • What is the complexity of their attributes?
  • Do individual customers have multiple users?
  • Do individual customers have custom catalogs and price lists?


  • What is your sales volume and average order value?
  • Will a salesperson be placing orders on behalf of their clients?
  • Do you accept POs and are there specific credit limits for customers that vary?


  • Which carriers will you use and how will you handle fulfillment?  
  • Do you have multiple warehouses, fulfillment centers or stores that allow pick up?


  • Are your products taxed and how will you calculate and collect it? 


  • Will there be a dedicated team to run the day-to-day site operations?
  • Will your existing customer services team be sufficient?

Systems Integrations

  • Do you have business systems like an ERP or CRM to integrate?
The Right Mix of Technology and Strategy

In order to choose the right direction to head in, look for examples in your industry and identify what you like most. It’s important to understand what your customers need and stick to delivering that experience.

Work with a technology partner who can ask you the right questions. Come to the table with a wish list and let your partner prioritize what’s important. Don’t try to tackle too many initiatives at once.

Choose the Technology That’s Right for Your Business 

Choosing the right platform is critical. Different platforms offer different levels of functionality and features depending on the business type and sales volume. You should find a balance between the services and features you’re going to use — the more you add, the more you’ll spend on maintenance. A good technology partner will be able to recommend a platform that’s a good fit and has staying power.

What Defines Success?

Having a dedicated team in place that can monitor SEO, customer and order data, platform upgrades and security on an ongoing basis is key. With the complexity of websites and the dynamic nature of software, there’s no option to “set it and forget it.”

Get educated before embarking on an eCommerce project. To keep your project manageable, stick to your core business and iterate on the technologies over time. Take small steps to realize your big goals.

About the Author

Jason MageeJason Magee is Human Element’s Managing Director. He may be reached at 734-276-4174 or

MMA LogoHuman Element is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since February 2023. Visit online:

Human Element was a sponsor of the 2024 MMA Operations Conference. Learn more about MMA events.