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New interface, new features: ELKO ecommerce store upgrade 2022

Do all online stores need a B2C look and feel? No! We have just launched the latest upgrade of our B2B e-commerce store. The newest version was built using the customer insights and feedback gained from deeply analyzing the data put in front of us every day.
Details play an important role in building a B2B store that maximizes customer experience and revenue. Unlike end-consumers, bulk buyers often spend an entire day in different stores. When they spend so much time it is sadly easy to irritate the customer, and, when the frustration accumulates, the business may suffer significantly. Profit is in the details.

“The one mistake you can make is to copy online retailers where design sometimes prevails over UX,” Mara Skudra, the CMO of ELKO Group comments on more than 20 years of experience developing their own B2B e-commerce store in-house: “Before you start, get familiar with your audience and their purchasing routines.”
Different audiences, different needs
Through learning by doing and regular customer feedback gathering, ELKO has identified, that the typical retailer, as a customer, who generates amounts on a daily basis, looks for compact preview, wants less scrolling, with more item lines in one screen, and contrast that helps prevent eye strain (when most of the day is spent in front of the screen). Usually, this type of customer knows what he wants, and easily orients themselves in the product code, brand, and model zone. At the same time, there are customers who don’t buy as often and in lower amounts, like system integrators for instance. These types of customers appreciate well-worked product cards, with rich content. “Therefore, ELKO has implemented several options to choose from. Products can be previewed in a modifiable list or grid view format and the system has light and dark modes available,” adds M. Skudra.
light-dark mode_ELKO eCom
Image: Light and Dark mode
Search is king
B2B customers are not impulse buyers. No matter how well your category tree is built, search is king. This is especially true when your product portfolio has tens of thousands of items. Search technology can be improved, and this means quicker results. Time is money. “In the latest iteration of our B2B store we have launched completely new search technology with extra attention to filter functionality. We get the best feedback from the new search within filter results or selected category,” M. Skudra.
Search by filters_ELKO eCom
Image: Search by filters
Each click counts, each minute of waiting costs and any error is a pain. “When you reach the limits with your present back-end and front-end technology, it is time to upgrade — as we did with our launch this year.” Modern, cutting edge technologies ensure top-level loading speed, compatibility with other systems, and facilitates the coding of future improvements.
“There is a saying — mobile-first. In reality, according to our data, only 15% of ELKO customers use mobile devices to visit our B2B e-commerce store. We see small growth of only 3 percentage points in 3 years, although our store is responsive to all devices. It is needed, no question about that, but in B2B we think that it is best to not place all bets on it.” While principles of how to make a standard PC look compact for mobiles are clear, the new challenge is ultra-wide screen resolutions. According to ELKO, the number of users of ultra-wide monitors is rising noticeably, taking second place in screen resolution top.
Business customers want to be serviced, not self-service
You may have a modern, nice looking and technologically advanced B2B e-commerce system, but an unexpected challenge may appear to get the customers into the site and then to self-service. In B2B, where everything is very much built on relationships, customers are used to being served. “Here at ELKO, most customers have a dedicated Customer Manager, and many of them appreciate individual consultation or support on financing, warranty or logistics issues and expect tailored proposals."
“The online store alone will not be a panacea. Well developed and documented API solutions are an essential part of e-commerce development. We are happy to see more and more customers understand its value.” The .csv file transfer or API integration allows a client to receive product information and individual pricing in consolidated format from a number of suppliers at once.
Security is a hot topic. Any e-commerce owner must continually concern themselves with data security on two fronts, customer data theft and corporate data theft. “At ELKO we run annual security audits identifying possible vulnerabilities and, based on the results, we decide on immediate actions. Recently we have reinforced our system’s cyber security by implementing a secure web gateway by Cloudflare. In the coming months, our customers will have the option to activate two-factor authentication, as well as authorization criteria will be fortified, thus, meeting today’s security challenges,” explains M. Skudra.
M. Skudra in conclusion: “When you build an e-commerce store, it is not a one-time investment. You need to understand that it will never be finished. Technologies, services, customer habits are changing fast. Instead of guessing, we have realized that an agile approach is the best. Do not spend years creating your perfect store before launch, during that time you may end up with something outdated. Instead, do a regular customer survey and regular upgrades as a response to it. At ELKO we run an annual customer satisfaction survey including questions about our e-commerce store and regularly gather feedback received through Customer Managers. Just for you to give some benchmark, our e-commerce functionality has been rated 8.2 out of 10 with an increase year-on-year.”
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