Open source business CRM and ecommerce platform provider Oro Inc. has launched a Hosting Partner Program as it boosts the ecosystem to support the growing business to business (B2B) e-commerce market.
Oro launched its e-commerce platform earlier this year, though its CRM offering has been on the market for over four years. The company was formed and its technology developed largely by veterans of Magento, including Yoav Kutner, Oro CEO and co-founder. Oro is unique in that it is built specifically for B2B e-commerce, Oro Chief Operating Officer Motti Danino told the WHIR.
“If you want to support the complex processes of B2B, your system needs to be built and architected as such,” Danino says. “Otherwise you can’t fully serve that. You can customize applications, but it costs you a lot of money, and you don’t really get what you need. You also get a version of the product that you implemented, but it’s different, and all the maintenance and upgrades you have to do yourself, which is a headache.”
Oro is developing an ecosystem to support its CRM software and e-commerce platform with three partner programs. In addition to its Hosting Partner Program, Oro has programs for solution integrator partners and technology partners.
The Hosting Partner Program launches with five initial hosting partners, including Rackspace and Webscale in the U.S., UK-based managed hosting provider Sonassi, Germany-based root360, which specializes in ecommerce hosting solutions based on AWS, and MSP Oxalide, which was recently acquired by Claranet, and serves Europe and South America.
“Oro’s commitment to driving online business growth, improving customer experience, and reducing total cost of ownership fits extremely well with Webscale’s long-standing mission to bring the same benefits to its customers in public, private, or hybrid cloud environments,” said Michael Guglielmi, vice president of business development, Webscale. “This partnership will not only aid Oro’s customer base in deploying their storefronts to the cloud, but will help them achieve high performance, consistent uptime and strong security.”
Oro is continuing to select hosting partners strategically, Danino says, to balance support for customer choice of hosting environment with the technical demands of B2B e-commerce.
“We don’t want to have hundreds of partners. We really build relationships with out partners. We support them and help them throughout the process, so we’re starting small with a few partners in key markets,” he said.
B2B e-commerce concerns are significantly different from B2C vendors, with much larger and more complex catalogs, Danino says, and even multiple catalogs, with pricing that can differ by region, volume, or customer. The process-driven buying of B2B companies also requires an e-commerce platform capable of supporting more complex interactions such as negotiations.
“From a skills perspective, our goal is to work with partners who really know how to work with commerce applications, and how to work with customers to make sure that these applications can perform and scale under high loads,” Danino explains. “We need to find partners who really focus on customer needs, and have the skills to build an environment to allow the application to perform and scale under heavy loads.”
For hosting companies, Oro represents an opportunity to offer a leading SaaS product in a niche which is growing rapidly as the demographics of buyers change, with millennials now making up more than half of B2B buyers, according to Danino. Oro was recently declared the number one B2B e-commerce product for 2017 by Frost and Sullivan.
“Companies need a true B2B e-commerce application,” says Danino. “We see the need for this driving the growth in our company and product adoption, and for some hosting companies, this is a space that they need to get into. If they want to diversify their business, if they want to grow their business, we see this as a huge opportunity for them to do so, but they will need our product.”
The same drive to move purchases online that previously drove the growth in B2C e-commerce is now happening in the B2B sector, with a similar rush to build a business advantage or keep up with competitors. Many of the same concerns, such as a desire among customers for responsiveness to mobile devices, are influencing e-commerce adoption among B2B vendors, and reinforcing the importance of the capabilities of the e-commerce platform, and of the environment it is hosted in to support those capabilities.
“The ecosystem and the partner programs are very strategic for us, and we have invested a lot in them,” Danino said. “We guide and work with our partners, and build a relationship, because we understand how critical it is for our customers to be able to come and talk to us, and through the ecosystem easily find all the services they need. We can recommend to them a branded solution that they can use to make their life much easier. We find a lot of times even big companies don’t know what to do. They need help. So we want to do anything we can to help them successfully execute their e-commerce strategy, and this is one way for us to do that.”