Operations Summit: Is B2B eCommerce Right for You?

Posted by Bill Onion

March 28, 2016 | 11:04 AM

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Did you know that 70% of business-to-business revenues come from customers using digital channels? What is your company doing to accomodate that audience?

Our team will be at the upcoming Operations Summit to discuss how technology can provide a competitve advantage through changes to your online site, data management, and integration between your online site and back office systems. Read on to learn if B2B eCommerce is something your organization should be utilizing. 

sell_sheet_blog.pngFor manufacturers and distributors, business can often be a very traditional affair, where clients call in or meet with the sales team to ask questions or place an order. But in our increasingly digital world, is that traditional take on commerce enough?

Forrester Research recently reported that total business-to-business eCommerce sales in the US alone were expected to hit $780 million in 2015. By 2020, that annual amount is expected to reach $1.132 trillion.

If your company is still relying on traditional sales methods, it’s time to join the world of B2B eCommerce.

Why eCommerce?

Simply put, eCommerce can help grow your business. Consumer Executive Board (CEB) estimates that buyers are 57% of the way through the buying process before they have their first direct contact with a seller. Your potential customers are already looking for you, so you need to give them something to find.

Providing customers with the ability to purchase products and services via your website creates a convenient sales channel for your customers and encourages ongoing customer interaction. Additional conversions that are unrelated to sales, such as submitting forms, sharing content, and commenting on posts, are also incredibly important to plan for and track. B2B companies who are not taking advantage of eCommerce are going to leave dollars on the table.

What Makes a B2B eCommerce Site Successful?

Think of the calls that your customer service center gets most often. Regardless of your industry or offering, many of those questions are probably along the lines of:

  • Do you have this item in stock?
  • What is my price?
  • Where is my order?

If your eCommerce site is capable of answering those three questions for your customers, you are off to a great start.

Beyond those basic services, your site should operate as much like a B2C eCommerce site as possible. The consumers who spend their evenings shopping B2C sites are the same ones who will frequent your B2B site at the office. Why shouldn’t they have the same experience across the board?

By providing intuitive navigation, rich content and product information, effective search capabilities, and even mobile optimization, your customers will have an enjoyable, easy-to-use experience on your site.

Integrating eCommerce with Your ERP

Of course, a beautiful user experience would mean nothing if your eCommerce site could not communicate with your back office system. This is where an eCommerce and ERP integration is crucial.

Order management is a critical aspect of B2B brick and mortar operations, and that remains true online as well. Getting your back office and eCommerce site to communicate with each other will significantly improve sales interactions for your company.

Automating formerly manual sales functions not only frees up time for customer service, but it eliminates the possibility of human error throughout the process. The order management process becomes seamless, and data and order information is easily accessible. 

Check out a B2B eCommerce and ERP integration in action in this Client Success Story.

Are you ready to join the B2B eCommerce space? Contact our team of experienced, certified developers to get started, or see us at booth 116 at the Operations Summit

CLICK HERE to learn  5 Tips to Build Your B2B eCommerce Site 

Topics: eCommerce, B2B

About Bill Onion

Bill Onion is Managing Director of Briteskies, where he has a distinguished track record helping B2B and B2C companies integrate e-commerce solutions. His expertise in the eCommerce world includes Magento and WebSphere Commerce software systems and his enterprise software experience is focused on the Oracle/JD Edwards platform. Bill has many years of consulting experience in various industries, including distribution, warehousing, retail and manufacturing. Bill is an avid runner, is very involved with Scouts, and cannot help but to root for the Browns every fall.

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