Cost and benefit analysis on implementing new digital platforms
In an ideal world, implementing a new digital platform offers nothing but upside: new technology, improved speed, and extra features like live inventory status checks. But in practice, any new business initiative is going to have some friction.
How can your business weigh the costs and benefits of a new digital platform upgrade?
Understanding the costs of new digital platforms
Even the most logical digital platform upgrades for your B2B business can introduce some temporary growing pains. To start your cost/benefit analysis, think of the short-term toll—and how these obstacles can be overcome.
Let’s check in on some of the most immediate costs of upgrading:
Implementing something new leads to a knowledge gap, at least initially.
Perhaps your team is used to an old platform, and introducing a new one will require education and training until they’re up to speed.
Fortunately, you can ease the transition with a B2B platform capable of educating as it onboards your employees. For example, NuORDER University features an onboarding learning path that certifies new employees once they’ve mastered the basics.
Retailer and buyer adoption
What if you’re on board, but a major retailer or buyer isn’t so sure?
Prepare for the transition by creating assets that help the buyer reduce friction as much as possible.
For example, include instructions—with clear digital screenshots—that detail your new ordering process.
Today's retail buyers are exclusively turning to NuORDER to explore, buy, and plan assortments.
Here's what one buyer from Nordstrom had to say about NuORDER:
"Using NuORDER has 100% streamlined our buying process. We can see a full assortment and a full season in one platform. And we can sort in many different ways whether by class, month, brand, and all of our item intent is in one place, making it easy to review with our team."JOYCE LIN, NORDSTROM BUYER, WOMEN'S ADVANCED CONTEMPORARY
Onboarding the tech team
Your tech team may be unfamiliar with the new platform, which adds up to costly time and labor.
Fortunately, ERP integrations can smooth out this transition, creating automated, bidirectional information flows.
In the long term, your tech team should commit less time to the digital platform. This leads to enough future savings that you can afford the occasional tech “hiccup” upfront.
Weigh the benefits of your new digital platform
Estimate the costs above and you’ll have a clear picture of whether a digital platform is tenable. But you’ll only understand whether it’s profitable when you understand the benefits a platform can bring to your business.
A new digital platform can bring B2C speed to your B2B relationships.
Benefits like easy-access product information, live inventory status, and order status checking add speed and decrease the need for back-and-forth communication between buyer and seller
Improved buyer education
They used NuORDER whiteboards for web-based collaboration efforts to assist in planning and merchandising. This helped them create a shoppable presentation for buyers. If your transition is seamless enough, buyers might not even be aware of the new platform. They’ll just see, click, and buy.
A digital platform may offer more than a benefit. It may remove the barriers to scaling.
That’s what TOMS found, increasing customer orders by 50% when scaling up with NuORDER, thanks to features like 24/7 order availability with automatic inventory updates.
Up-front investments can lead to big long-term wins
Don’t skip the cost-benefit analysis here. It’s worth taking the time to understand how a new digital wholesale platform can transform your business. But remember to factor in an extended timeline: while temporary costs can weigh heavily, they’re often well worth the long-term investments you make in your business.