Our 4-layer ecommerce development solution for B2B brands

By Foster Commerce

Apr 30, 2024

At Foster Commerce, there's no shortage of strong opinions when it comes to commerce.

We’re sticklers for building quality ecommerce websites. We're also advocates for businesses that don’t “fit” on Shopify or other off-the-shelf platforms.

Our unique ecommerce development services give B2B brands an advantage that can save time and money, and ultimately future-proof a website.

Our layered ecommerce development includes:

To learn how each layer can work to your advantage as a business owner read more below.

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Photo by Richard Horvath

A flexible platform

Our opinion: Craft CMS is the best open-source solution for B2B ecommerce.

Craft CMS is our preferred open-source platform because of its many advantages to B2B business owners, marketers, developers, and users.

It has just enough opinions to be valuable while still allowing the freedom to extend its core in quality ways.

For example, B2B brands requiring unique solutions aren't held back by any CMS-imposed constraints or clunky workarounds, putting them at a significant competitive advantage.

In addition, Craft allows developers to take a composable approach to development. Composable commerce involves integrating different components, such as products, services, and platforms, into a unified experience for marketers and B2B buyers.

Composable commerce enables B2B businesses to quickly adapt to changing market conditions. That's because swapping out components on the back end of a website is relatively inexpensive with fewer risks to data.

Another significant advantage to businesses that use Craft CMS is that you don't have to worry about outgrowing your platform. Craft's flexibility ensures that your website can grow with your business.

For marketers, Craft's flexibility provides a “best of breed” content authoring experience (AX).

Brands can design exactly the look and feel they need for the customer journey. And headless Craft CMS websites enable marketers to share content wherever customers are.

Empowering B2B marketers with the tools they need gives businesses a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace. That's because more and more, great content is essential to a brand's ability to get noticed.

However, it doesn't stop there.

Craft also enables us to design a website with the end-user experience (UX), and the developer's experience (DX) in mind.

By leveraging composable commerce, B2B businesses can create a more engaging and personalized shopping experience for their buyers who expect a more B2C-like experience.

Being better able to serve B2B buyer needs and preferences naturally leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Meanwhile, with powerful APIs, developers can design solutions for just about any business need. Streamlined design and development saves time and money, but also supports developer creativity.

Considering the needs of AX, UX, and DX is a rare combination. Even with newer SaaS content management systems, this trifecta is hard to find.

Together, better AX, UX, and DX equals the freedom to code ecommerce website experiences that are the future of online business.

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Photo by Jon Tyson

A powerful commerce engine

Our opinion: Many ecommerce tools force a B2B business to change how it works to fit the system. We don't think that's right.

Craft Commerce is a stable, secure, open-source, and modern ecommerce engine that has the same underlying structure as Craft CMS.

It gives developers an additional layer of pre-built opinions, but not too many to block creativity. It also offers the same flexibility and composability as Craft CMS.

Most importantly, Craft Commerce's close integration with Craft allows B2B ecommerce sites to be content led.

This is in sharp contrast to other ecommerce platforms that neglect content altogether, or that have a rigid pre-defined format.

As we've written about before, seamless content creation and management is crucial for B2B brands to provide the content buyers require to make a purchase.

With the rise of B2B online shopping, buyers have access to more options than ever before, making it increasingly difficult for brands to stand out.

Content marketing is what allows B2B businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors and establish a unique identity.

With Craft Commerce, developers can construct products and variant data models however marketers like for an online store. It gives marketers the freedom to be creative with copy, images, specifications, and additional information about products.

This ability to create high-quality, engaging content that resonates with their target audience, can improve a B2B brand's visibility in search engine results.

In addition to raising brand awareness, content that B2B buyers find useful can also establish trust, and ultimately drive sales.

Overall, B2B brands that prioritize content marketing make it easier for potential customers to find them online. And they are better positioned to succeed in today's competitive digital landscape.

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Photo by Ilya Pavlov

Pre-built ecommerce features

Our opinion: The combination of pre-built features and custom development can save B2B brands time and money.

Pre-built ecommerce features can provide immense value to an online business.

What we call "The Foster Commerce Layer" comes from our repeated use of Craft across different kinds of projects.

While each project is unique, working across many business models has given us the opportunity to resolve common business challenges.

This has led to several time and cost-saving pre-engineered solutions that we share with clients. That way, every project starts out with its best foot forward.

By utilizing pre-engineered solutions and best practices, businesses can save time and money while improving the customer experience.

For example, our pre-built solutions include tried and tested email automation, shipping flows, and a pre-built checkout pathway.

Optimizing checkout and shipping processes can reduce cart abandonment rates and increase conversions.

And integrating email touchpoints in the customer journey can enhance customer engagement and retention.

B2B businesses can also launch a new website or complete a migration more quickly by using our ecommerce boilerplate, Commerce Foundations. Using our boilerplate and expert development services enables merchants to concentrate on their core mission and not worry about the tech.

In addition to simplifying the development process, using pre-existing solutions also ensures that businesses are utilizing solutions that are successful.

Ultimately, pre-built and tested ecommerce features can help businesses improve their bottom line by increasing sales and reducing costs.

The words "passion led us here" stamped into concrete
Photo by Ian Schneider

Custom work

Our opinion: B2B brands that invest in custom development gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

As you've probably gathered by now, we like to be able to say "yes" to our client's request for bespoke features.

As developers, tailoring each website as needed is a passion, as well as a source of great pride and satisfaction.

That's because we know that custom ecommerce website development offers numerous benefits to B2B businesses.

Here are our top five reasons why we’ve chosen to build custom:

  • Custom development provides the flexibility to design user experiences according to a B2B business's specific needs and requirements.

This ensures that the website is unique and stands out in the competitive market, thus increasing B2B brand recognition and customer loyalty.

Our custom work allows B2B businesses to design exactly the user experiences they need and want. It also offers a different approach for brands that don't want a "cookie cutter" storefront.

  • Custom development allows businesses to own the entire website — including all the code.

For B2B business owners that prefer to "own" their entire business rather than "rent" features and functionality, custom development is ideal. When brands build using Craft CMS and Craft Commerce they can never be locked out of their own store.

  • Custom development enables customization of the authoring experience to meet the needs of content marketers creating content for B2B buyers.

The ability to build to specific content requirements makes websites more efficient and enjoyable to use for marketers and admins. It also makes their effort to create content that meets the needs of the modern B2B buyer more successful.

  • The flexibility of our foundational layers allows us to make quick changes and updates when necessary.

Keeping a B2B website up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies is critical to stay competitive. With composable technology it's relatively simple to add or remove third-party services and integrations as necessary — without risking harm to other parts of your website.

  • Custom development can save B2B merchants money over time.

While upfront costs can be higher for a custom build than an off-the-shelf solution, the total cost can be on par when both present and future fees are considered.

After more than a decade of making websites, we can't imagine building in any other way for our clients.

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