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A STABLE TANDEM FOR B2B GROWTH ONLINE

Karolina Obszyńska Aug 24. 2023
How with the help of a perfect tandem: Magento 2 and AWS platform, to enter the world of B2B online? And why should it be done at all? The report "B2B E-commerce NOW" authored by the Chamber of Electronic Economy indicates that 90% of businesses offering products, services, and solutions for businesses plan to expand in the e-commerce area. The vast majority of companies already operating in the online market view this decision as a tremendous success. This is also confirmed by the financial results of the largest Polish players who have invested in this area, such as TIM S.A. or SIG S.A.

B2B in the online world? It's a must-have.


The experiences of other companies, the global trend associated with the popularity of e-purchases, and the young workforce entering the market, accustomed to online solutions (and navigating online stores without difficulty), leave no illusions and should further encourage those companies that haven't done so yet to invest in B2B platforms. The digitization of purchasing processes not only offers significant time savings and access to a vast amount of data about trading partners but also addresses customer expectations for continuous, uninterrupted access to offers and the ability to transact 24/7.

Why Magento 2 and AWS Platform?


A suitable solution for projects of this kind is the Magento 2 e-commerce platform, and if it's additionally launched within the cloud services offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS Platform), it creates a reliable, scalable, and secure tandem with immense development potential.

With over 5 years of experience in implementing Magento 2 on the AWS cloud platform, Fast White Cat is capable of creating tailored solutions for such projects. E-commerce is not just a platform for online sales. Properly chosen and implemented tools provide companies with various possibilities and additional value in the digital commerce model. If the platform is based on headless technology (such as within PWA Studio), which notably fulfills the requirements of a "mobile" solution, a product suitable for any device can be achieved without the need for expensive, dedicated, native mobile applications. The AWS platform provides additional benefits in this regard.

B2B projects (Business-to-Business) can be more complex in many areas compared to B2C (Business-to-Client) projects, and one of the main factors influencing this is the massive amount of data that needs to be processed in Magento 2. Complicated pricing policies, customer segmentation methods, or extensive product catalogs generate a considerable number of records that must be properly handled and processed. The challenge also lies in the often customized and complex product configurators, which are frequently ordered. Moreover, the nature of these projects, where changes in stock levels and/or product prices frequently occur, thus triggering full-page-cache (FPC) refreshes, requires significant efforts in optimizing Magento's core areas (product pages, category pages, search result pages). These pages that are not supported by FPC mechanisms can take so long to load that they negatively impact the user experience on the B2B platform.

Magento and the Right Infrastructure for B2B Success Online


What other possibilities, beyond purely developer-focused ones, can help to "squeeze the most out of" Magento itself "out of the box," supported by appropriately chosen server infrastructure?

Let's start with fundamental solutions, which might seem obvious but are often neglected: keeping Magento in the latest available version and systematically updating it efficiently after each new release. With each new version of Magento, we receive a range of changes and improvements in the area of performance optimization, not only in processes that are essentially relevant for B2B (such as catalog indexing, pricing, catalog rules, etc.) but also across the entire platform. Apart from changes in the Magento source code, for example, as of version 2.4.4, we get support for the PHP engine (the programming language on which Magento is based) in version 8.1, which improves platform performance by enhancing the PHP engine's performance itself. Various benchmarks, analyses, and measurements indicate that the performance increase between the 7.4 version (supported until version 2.4.3) and 8.1 is between 15-30%, measured for various platforms and frameworks, including Magento 2. The natural consequence of the improved performance of this engine is reduced cloud infrastructure requirements, resulting in tangible financial benefits.

Equally important is the proper design and implementation (within Magento mechanisms) of business logic often highly dependent on external systems (such as ERP, SAP), integrated with Magento. Let's be honest - even the best-prepared and optimized platform won't fully realize its capabilities if we force it to fix errors in third-party system logic or incorrect assumptions taken there. Entering the B2B online world for companies that have operated successfully for decades in offline settings is also an excellent opportunity for revising, improving, and changing their processes. This allows better alignment with the realities of e-commerce sales, but also provides a chance to optimize processes within the enterprise.

Additional Benefits for B2B Online


With the right approach to implementing Magento 2 on the AWS platform, we can obtain additional benefits for the e-commerce channel, such as reliability, security, scalability, and optimization of the Total Cost of Ownership. A good example is running applications within instances using ARM architecture-based processors, which offer cost reduction possibilities. Such processors can be used for major Magento components, including RDS (relational database), ElastiCache (in-memory cache), OpenSearch (text search), EC2 (virtual machines).

The AWS platform also offers comprehensive sales analytics. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning services, we can optimize inventory, accurately forecast sales, and analyze the effectiveness of promotional and pricing activities. It's also worth noting that AWS Poland has specialists in this area, with whom we collaborate on implementation projects.

More Than Just Mobile First


Considering that currently around 70% of traffic on platforms comes from mobile devices, a proper "mobile-first" approach is no longer enough - even for B2B platforms. User expectations regarding store interfaces, options and functions availability, and the enjoyment of using it do not significantly differ from expectations placed on B2C platforms that they use privately for everyday online shopping. Achieving more for mobile sales support through the implementation of a headless platform solution, which essentially separates the front-end and back-end layers in the sales application. In the front-end layer, we then have the opportunity to focus on modern solutions and frameworks that are well-suited to smartphones and perfectly simulate platform operations, similar to a native mobile application. This combination can be achieved by basing our platform on the synergy between Magento 2 (back-end layer) and PWA Studio (front-end layer), a set of tools and solutions dedicated, also provided by Adobe for Magento 2, where communication with the back-end is done using GraphQL interfaces, with coverage being almost complete and continually expanding.

Fast White Cat, in collaboration with AWS Poland engineers, is ready to deliver a complete product. We approach the specific challenges and expectations posed by B2B-type platforms professionally. Experience, an emphasis on quality, and best practices in implementing the Magento 2 system offered by Fast White Cat are a guarantee of success for e-commerce platforms implemented for entrepreneurs.

This article was created in collaboration between Fast White Cat and AWS.

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