This month we’ve been holding our own version of March Madness – Four51’s March Madness B2B eCommerce Features Tournament! After 16 years in the B2B eCommerce business, we’ve found that of all of the eCommerce features out there you think you need, there is a handful of features we find to be the most important to manufacturers, distributors and retailers of today. This tournament will reveal those top features over the course of the March Madness. Check out our blog posts to see the winners of the previous rounds: Round of 64, Round of 32, Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight.

As always, the Final Four had great contenders, but there could only be two winners. Here’s a recap of the two games below:

  • Cloud-Based takes over Split-Payment Options. Offering Split-Payment options on your eCommerce solution is extremely beneficial in the business-to-business space. Many B2B buyers need to use more than one payment method when checking out. For example, when a user purchases a product, their spending account may only cover part of the order. With split-payment options, they could then cover the rest with their credit card, all within one “purchase.” While this is a feature that many businesses request when building out their eCommerce experience, Cloud-Based took the win because it encompasses so much more. Cloud platforms are increasingly replacing On-Premise platforms, because of the flexibility and scalability they provide. Rather than owning and updating software on your own infrastructure, you can “rent” your software in the Cloud. Ultimately, costs are lowered, time to value is sped up and scalability is much more do-able. In this case, cloud-based makes a bigger impact on an eCommerce site than split-payment options.
  • API-First defeats Responsive Design. When the user interface is de-coupled from the back-end application, like they are in an API-First platform, applications can be infinitely customized and personalized. API-First refers to a platform that is comprised of a combination of the back-end data model and business logic, with a cloud-based infrastructure. Because these applications are API-First, integrations become much easier, allowing you to add any functionalities you would like. This is an extremely powerful feature, which is why it defeated Responsive Design this Final Four round. Responsive design is important for the user experience of an application because the site is adaptable to any screen, whether it be mobile, tablet, or desktop. With B2B buyers on the go and shopping from their mobile devices more than ever, it is essential to have a responsive eCommerce solution.

It will be tough competition between API-First and Cloud-Based in the championship round of our March Madness for B2B eCommerce Features competition – stay tuned! The champion will be announced on Tuesday, April 6th after the game on the 5th.

How is your bracket doing? Are you confused about any of the upsets in the competition? Let us know on Twitter.

March Madness; FInal Four