Five things about B2B eCommerce we think you should know
We have identified five of the main questions that businesses ask themselves when deciding whether or not to implement a B2B trade ordering website and answered them for you. Distributors are often torn by which vendor to choose, unsure on how much to invest and flabbergasted that it might take 4-6 months or more to implement. Aspin have been deploying sites like these for over ten years and thought you might like some advice based on our experiences.
- Integration is worth the additional investment
Directing your customers to an ordering website that is fully integrated with your ERP system means they are able to view their account details and back orders, review accurate stock levels and place orders at the correct price. With this functionality, customers will be able to become self-sufficient when ordering, with their orders arriving into your head office systems with no human intervention, ready for fulfilment. An automated system that takes into account all the parameters and rules necessary to your business procedures holds great value to your company. By providing real value to your customers through your B2B eCommerce platform, you will ensure that they will return again and again, and their relationship with your business enhanced.
- Customers won’t flock to your website automatically
Once you’ve implemented your branded and high functioning B2B portal, you’d expect it to be flooded with visitors? You’d be wrong. If you are not communicating with your trade customers and prospects about the launch of this website, how do they know it’s there? It’s important to engage with your customers and remind them of all the benefits that are coming their way once they have access to the new ordering site. Spend some time on your launch strategy, clearly communicating the value proposition to your customers, and incentivising their use of the website. Incentives can be varied and don’t have to be discount related, and typically will be through the delivery of accurate and up-to-date account information, which will make you an easier company to do business with.
- Sales reps and B2B eCommerce do complement each other
These are two sales channels that can co-exist side-by-side despite any initial rejection you may experience from your sales reps. The key here is to demonstrate how the website will cater for smaller independant accounts and facilitate top-up orders for bigger accounts – both scenarios freeing up time for the rep to manage the account in person, and to expand their territory through prospecting new companies. It is often wise to ensure reps continue to earn commission on these web orders so that they become ambassadors for the site. We wrote a post about this here.
- Actually ‘doing the site’ really does take months of resource
Whilst managing enquiries from prospective eCommerce users, we are often met with horror when we suggest that six months may be required to scope, design and build each custom site. A new B2B eCommerce site can be a game-changer for many business if done correctly – how can you expect to implement that sort of business change in as little as a fortnight? Your new site deserves care and attention at the project stage to stand you in good stead for a successful launch and continual management of the site.
- You can expect a return on your investment
As far as we’re concerned, with an effective and managed launch campaign and continued marketing to your customer base, you should start to see your site make money for the business very quickly – its not as if you’re buying a hottub… We digress. For the companies that would benefit from this type of technology, we are often met with claims such as ‘we don’t have the money’, or ‘we wouldn’t spend money on that sort of thing’. It sometimes seems as if businesses think they must lay out money for a site and that’s the end of the transaction, an expensive dormant site that looks great. This needn’t be the case and we can work alongside you to ensure you and your customers get the best from your new site for years to come.
If you find any of these points engaging and you’d like to discuss eCommerce in more detail with us, you can get in touch on 01794 500 200 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org