Disclaimer: As a native of New England I enjoy sharing my region's slang with the world. "Wicked" is a general intensifier. It's ultimately the better substitution for "really" or "very"; therefore this article is going to be very quick 😉.
Carla Gonzales is a long-time ecommerce business manager with a wealth of experience under her belt. She’s been part of new B2B ecommerce initiatives and served as one of the subject matter experts on a headless commerce panel at the 2019 B2B Next Conference & Exhibition. I was able to grab some time with her following the show to find out what surprises she uncovered while in Chicago and the importance of an API-first commerce approach.
Now that the B2B Next show has wrapped for 2019, were there industry insights that surprised you? Any “AHA” moments?
The show really resonated on the topic of “change”. Whether ready or not, B2B organizations need to begin taking action to change the way they do business. B2B buyers have embraced the 24/7 work anywhere lifestyle and B2B sellers must change the way they approach their digital transformation. Modern technology is demanding flexibility. The days of digital silos are long gone. Focusing on a headless or API-first technology stack is the new direction for future-proofing business. Organizations also need to rethink how they view their buyers’ journey as it no longer starts with a salesperson, but rather online.
For B2B organizations becoming more digital, how important do you think it is for them to take an API-first approach?
It’s important, but it’s also important to note that API-first applies to the strategy and standard that puts API (application programming interface) development over application design. Therefore, before an organization can begin to talk about an API-first approach it’s more important that they adopt an API mindset.
Take a step back and look holistically at the organization and its needs vs approaching API from a one-project-off initiative. As an organization you want to make sure you understand what other projects are in process or about to kick-off that would benefit and utilize an API. Ultimately, creating less work for yourself and the organization once you understand and realize where the synergies are. Ask questions like: are there already existing internal APIs in place I can leverage for this? What other projects could benefit from my API requirements? Are we thinking big picture when we consider this API vs the immediate need now?
We’re rounding out the final months of the year, what’s your number one piece of advice for B2B practitioners?
My number one piece of advice for fellow practitioners is to start planning what you want your 2021 to look like. For success, B2B organizations need to be looking further than just 12 months ahead. Next year’s digital projects should focus on bringing desired B2C commerce features into the B2B arena. Consumer habits that can translate online such as customization and personalization. Implement the small changes in 2020 but push beyond 2021 in your strategic planning.
For more insights and expertise from Carla, check out her ebook, Getting Started with B2B Ecommerce.