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A STABLE DUO FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF ONLINE B2BKarolina Obszynska Nov 29. 2022
With the aid of a perfect duo - Magento 2 and the AWS platform, how can you enter the online B2B world? And why should it be done? The “B2B eCommerce NOW” report, prepared by the Chamber of Digital Economy, indicates that 90% of companies which offer products, services, and business solutions are planning to grow in the field of eCommerce. The definite majority of companies which are already active on the online market see this decision to be a great success. This is also confirmed by the financial results of the largest Polish players who had decided to invest in this field, e.g., TIM S.A. or SIG S.A.
B2B online? It is a must have
The experiences of other companies, a world trend associated with the popularity of online shopping, young staff entering the market - who are used to online solutions (also effortlessly navigating online stores), leave no doubt, and should additionally encourage those companies which have not yet invested in B2B platforms. Digitization of purchasing processes brings not only a significant saving of time and access to a vast amount of data about the counterparties but is also a response to customers’ expectations relating to a constant, unobstructed access to the offer, and the possibility of finalizing transactions 24/7.
Why Magento 2 and the AWS platform?
An adequate solution for such projects is the Magento 2 eCommerce platform, and if it is also activated within the framework of cloud services offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS Platform), we receive a dependable, scaled, and secure duo, with great potential for development.
Over 5 years of experience in implementing Magento 2 on the AWS cloud platform enables Fast White Cat to create tailored solutions for such projects. ECommerce is not only a platform used for online sales. Appropriately chosen and implemented tools give many possibilities to companies, as well as additional values within the digital trade model. If the platform will be based on headless technology (e.g., as part of PWA Studio), which exceptionally satisfies the requirements of a “mobile” solution, then we will achieve a product tailored to every device, without the necessity of investing in costly, dedicated, native mobile applications. The AWS platform will bring nothing but benefits.
B2B (Business-to-Business) projects, in many fields, can be projects of a higher level of difficulty than B2C (Business-to-Client) projects, while one of the main factors which have an influence on this is, e.g., the vast amount of data which should be processed in Magento 2. The typical complicated pricing policies, manner of segmentation of customers, or a large product base all generate a high number of records which must be appropriately operated and processed. A challenge are also the complicated configurators of often customizable products, made to order. Additionally, the specifications of such projects, where changes in inventory levels and/or products prices occur quite often, thereby, the full-page-cache (FPC) is often refreshed, require a considerable amount of work when optimizing the key Magento elements (product card, category page, search result page), which when not supported by FPC mechanisms may simply take such a long time to load that it will have a negative influence on the user experience for the B2B platform customers.
Magento and selected infrastructure for online B2B success
What are the possibilities, other than the strictly developer options, to “squeeze as much as possible” from “out of the box” Magento, supported by adequately chosen server infrastructure?
Starting off with fundamental solutions, so something which may seem obvious but is still often discounted – the maintenance of Magento in the newest available version, as well as a systematic efficient updating after the publication of a new version. With subsequent versions of Magento we receive a range of changes and amendments in regard to an improvement of the performance and optimization of not only the processes which in principle are significant for B2B (e.g., indexation of the catalogue, prices, catalogue regulations, etc.), but also in regard to the entire platform. Other than changes in the Magento source code, for example, beginning with version 2.4.4 we receive support for the PHP engine (language of the programming which Magento is based on) in version 8.1, which improves the efficiency of the platform due to the improvement of the PHP engine performance itself. Varied benchmarks, analyses, and measurements indicate that the increase in engine performance between version 7.4 (supported by version 2.4.3) and 8.1 is 15-30%, measured for different platforms and frameworks, including Magento 2. The natural consequence of increased performance of the aforementioned engine is a reduction of requirements for the cloud infrastructure, which translates to measurable financial benefits.
Just as important is the appropriate design and execution (under Magento mechanisms) of the business logic, often very much dependent on external systems (such as ERP, SAP), which Magento integrates with. Let’s be honest – even the best prepared and optimized platform will not work to its best potential if we force it to fix faults in the logic of third systems or their incorrectly approved guidelines. Even if businesses have been active, effective, and successful offline for many years, entering the online B2B world is a great opportunity to revise, improve, and change their processes. This enables to better adapt these to the reality of eCommerce sales, while optimizing the processes already functioning in the company.
Additional benefits for online B2B
With the right attitude toward implementing Magento 2 on AWS, we can achieve additional benefits for the eCommerce channel, such as reliability, security, scalability, as well as the optimization of the Total Cost of Ownership. A good example is the launch of an application within the instances using processors which are based on ARM architecture, which provide the possibility of reducing architecture costs. Such processors can be used for main Magento components, including RDS (Relational Database Service), ElastiCache (in memory cache), OpenSearch, EC2 (virtual machines).
The AWS platform also provides a complete sales analysis. With the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning services we can optimize stocks, accurately forecast sales, and analyze the effectiveness of promotional and price related activities. It is also worth noting that the AWS Polska department includes specialists in this field, specialists whom we work with on implementation projects.
More than mobile first
Considering the fact that currently approx. 70% of traffic on platforms originates from mobile devices, and appropriate execution of the “mobile first” approach is no longer enough – also in the case of B2B platforms. User expectations relating to a store interface, availability of options and functions, as well as the pleasure of using it do not differ significantly from the expectations set for B2C platforms, which they use “privately” when doing their everyday online shopping. We will achieve more sales services on mobile devices by implementing headless type solutions on the platform, in the simplest terms – by separating the front-end and back-end layers of the sales application. On part of the front-end layer, we then have the possibility of focusing on modern solutions and frameworks, which are perfectly suited to smartphones and seamlessly simulate the performance of a platform, as in a native mobile application. We will achieve such a combination if we base our platform on a synergy between Magento 2 (back-end) and PWA Studio (front-end) – i.e., a set of dedicated tools and solutions, also delivered by Adobe for Magento 2, where back-end communication takes place with the use of GraphQL interfaces, of which coverage is almost full and is constantly being developed.
Fast White Cat, in cooperation with AWS Polska engineers, is prepared to deliver a complete product. We have a professional approach to specific challenges and expectations presented for B2B type platforms. The experience, focus on quality, and good practices when implementing Magento 2 as offered by Fast White Cat are a guarantee of success for eCommerce platforms implemented for businesses.
This article was written by Fast White Cat in collaboration with AWS
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