Many businesses are ill-prepared to deliver on the B2B e-commerce agenda. So we’re going to look at how to get started and what businesses need to consider to move the project forward. Having worked with many organisations in the past helping them with their B2B e-commerce platform, we have come up against obstacles including:
- Many B2B sites have been designed in-house by IT departments as simply brochure sites
- Sites have ties to legacy systems and hard-coded applications to support company processes and are not designed with the end user experience in mind
- A general resistance to move to digital commerce platforms
- Unable to integrate to modern tools
- A lack of a clearly defined business case and project objectives
According to Forrester Research those businesses that have implemented a B2B multi-channel e-commerce solution are 31% more likely to deliver a high quality buying experience, so we’re going to give you some insight into getting started.
- Like any strategic project, clearly defined objectives and strong leadership is critical. This is especially critical in order to co-ordinate the business requirement with IT compliance. So, enlist someone in a senior/board position who will sponsor the project and outcome
- Build a business case considering the revenue and growth you wish to achieve
- Think of it as a digital footprint rather than simply selling on-line, this is an important strategic initiative that will have a huge impact on the direction of your business
- Ensure you have someone on the project team with ERP experience
When designing your B2B e-commerce strategy ensure you have the end-user in mind and provide them with an experience at every touch point which encourages them to return:
- Create a customer centric experience and deliver consistency across all channels
- Help your customers easily find relevant products by using content as a strategic enabler
- Ensure low maintenance operation for product and sales management, pricing and promotions to enable fast accurate decisions
- Provide access for customer led on-line pricing options, authorisation rules, approval workflows, payment terms, special product configurations and fulfilment options
- Establish effective integration with your ERP system to ensure your e-commerce activities are in sync with your back office activities and providing your customers with real-time data
- Consider how you want your customers to self-serve and manage their accounts. By making it easier from them to conduct business, you’ll both enjoy increased efficiencies
According to Research….
According to research by Forrester Research, 98% of B2B sellers face commercial challenges in delivering a superior buying experience. These challenges can be:
- Organisational – 36% have challenges with executive buy-in
- Process-oriented – 38% are challenged by channel conflict
- Technological – 38% face technical challenges with their B2B selling technology
Your technology investments have a vital role to play in the way your organisation sells to other businesses. The key is to enable your customers to experience an Amazon-like shopping experience while controlling operating costs. This will provide a scalable platform on which to increase revenue though expanding markets, profitability and customer loyalty.