B2B eCommerce: Integrating Systems to Produce Data

B2B eCommerce is designed with features unique to business relationships. It has undeniable effects on the whole new set of demands professional buyers make on manufacturers. That’s why no investor can afford to ignore it. Research indicates that companies need to invest on B2B eCommerce to meet their customers’ expectations and remain competitive:

  • More buyers are buying online, bypassing traditional methods of interaction.
  • Forrester predicts that the B2B eCommerce market will reach $1.1 trillion.
  • 56% of buyers expect to make half or more of their purchases online by the end of this year.
  • Buyers want to find products and place orders without having contact with a sales rep.

Omni-channel B2B eCommerce
In this omni-channel world, the struggle of consistency in product information across all channels is real. Almost half of companies have already lost $1 million because of this challenge. Failure to integrate customer data with eCommerce tech creates a gap between customers’ demands and what companies are able to offer. There needs to be reliance on partners. They need to enhance connectivity between each other.

Why do you need a good B2B eCommerce website?
A good B2B eCommerce site accommodates all the buyer/seller relationship requirements and makes it easier to do business. It improves client engagement and satisfaction, as well as the operational side of the process. All systems will be integrated in the website, including ERP, order management, accounting, shipping and many others. The website will serve as the company’s hub and will get data from all sides of the operation.

Since data from the integrated systems will be congregated into a B2B eCommerce platform, B2B clients will receive a more efficient and personalized experience. They will be able to see details, such as pricing, payment and shipping options, tailored to their specific relationship. At the same time, the data from the integrated systems will help the company respond to their clients’ needs better.

If you want to grow your business and reach new markets, you need a particular piece of your ecosystem to solve that particular problem. You need an e-commerce platform that can expose your ERP in a way that creates an exceptional customer experience.” – Zach Hanlon

If companies do not integrate their systems, they will create, maintain and track the same set of data – which is an invitation for error. To keep the integrity of data, there should be one primary source for any data type. Integrating the systems enables a company to share data from the primary source, including all relevant support systems.

Buyers today expect to be more self-service in their day to day interactions and companies need real-time data to improve their operations, lower costs, measure performance and respond to customers’ needs. Relying on historical data alone is no longer enough to run business operations effectively. A well-integrated B2B eCommerce site is most needed to enable companies to engage, analyze and execute better in this technology-driven business industry. Click here for our B2B eCommerce solution.

3 Important Tips for Migrating B2B E-commerce Platforms

By 2020, the B2B e-commerce market is predicted to reach $1.1 trillion and will account for 12.1% of al B2B sales in the United States – according to Forrester. The research and advisory firm found that manufacturers and wholesalers generate the majority of market growth as they rely on existing homegrown systems that support outdated processes and limited sales channels. As a result, they are not meeting the needs of B2B buyers. Here are some key facts on migrating B2B e-commerce platforms:

Key Facts:

  • More than half of businesses last updated their systems over two years ago.
  • 70% have lost a deal due to their inability to meet ordering-specific needs.
  • More than a fourth has missed out on at least $2 million in sales.

Industry evolution has led to a widening gap between what B2B buyers expect and what companies can provide. This pressures industry leaders to move to online platforms. The growing demand for self-service and advanced payment options has become critical to a company’s long term success.

Tip #1: Identify your customization needs. B2B websites often have customization needs including pricing, account types/users, payment methods, shipping and taxes. To identify these needs, compare your current site to your potential new platform.

Tip #2: Select the right platform. Migrating B2B e-commerce platforms is a major endeavor. You need to consider your company’s website needs to select the right platform. Identify your top obstacles and assemble a plan to overcome them.

Tip #3: Check your timeline. Set up a test environment for your ERP system, other software, and potential new B2B e-commerce platforms. Then, import your data in your test system.

It can take up to 12 months to accomplish the development tasks of new B2B e-commerce platforms. The complexity and availability of internal resources are major factors in the speed. If you have a specific date to launch, break your project into phases or outsource a development team. Click here to see our B2B e-commerce solution.

Product Information Management 2017

Due to the numerous client touch focuses, many organizations are prompted to viably use their product information. Product Information Management 2017 is helpful in keeping customers and stakeholders updated about any change in product data. It coordinates the changes across all channels, thereby keeping a consistent and up-to-date information across the entire business ecosystem.

Product information is conveyed in various configurations, including:

  • Inventories
  • Leaflets
  • Value books
  • Sites
  • Digital content

It is a key resource that holds the prosperity of an organization. The rapid growth of e-commerce is one of the drivers of the Product Information Management 2017 market. PIM helps maintain and syndicate product information from different channels.

PIM in the Cloud
One of the major challenges, however, is the high costs of initial investment. A traditional PIM requires a significant amount from the organization’s financial and human resources, so ROI is also significantly reduced. Thankfully, a new Product Information Management 2017 is in place. It uses the cloud to reduce infrastructure and operation costs. It also increases scalability.

Associations that use Product Information Management 2017 have seen a huge increase in ROI because of reduced number of mistakes and enhanced productivity. Since catalogs analyzer has a single source, the cost funds are available in all divisions. This prompts reliable accessibility and precision of required information, and lessens product returns.

Advantages of Leveraging PIM 2017
Customers require access to bits of knowledge about product information and procedures to make an educated purchase. Using Product Information Management 2017 permits the era of consistent product deals and client patterns, and gives businesses the necessary edge.

  • Increment in income
  • Accelerated showcasing endeavors
  • Faster time to market
  • Value related blunders
  • Higher sales

Enspir provides cloud-based Product Information Management software. It is the only US partner of Akeneo. Focused on the specific challenges of b2b customers, it provides commercial support and managed services for your PIM installation. Collect, enrich and spread content to all users and channels with our solution. Click here to learn more about it.

 

 

4 Tips to Ensure B2B E-commerce Success

B2B e-commerce is estimated to grow bigger in the next 4 years. The market is projected to reach $1.13 trillion by 2020. Many organizations want to launch their B2B e-commerce efforts, but they don’t exercise due diligence in advance of launching their initiative. This results to less optimal deployments, ineffectively structured organizations, and missed opportunities. Here are 4 tips to ensure B2B e-commerce success:

  • Choose the right platform. Choosing the wrong platform prevents you from taking full advantage of the opportunities right away. Launching your B2B ecommerce efforts can be time-consuming. The last thing you want is doing it all over again just because you made the wrong choice to begin with. To make sure you choose the right platform, define your requirements in detail. Include information about contract support, flexibility, integration, pricing and workflows.
  • Focus on user experience. Never underestimate the importance of user experience. If it is poor and your website is difficult to use, you will drive potential customers away. Make sure your site search, navigation, listing pages, shopping cart, product details and check out process are optimized to meet modern standards. Invest in building a great user experience, so your customers will keep coming back.
  • Use your sales team strategically. Don’t keep your e-commerce initiative remote to only few top executives. Align sales with e-commerce because it becomes even more powerful when integrated to your system.
  • Planning is critical. E-commerce does not just run itself like a virtual machine. You need to make internal investments on web merchandising and operations, digital marketing, content creation, technology and customer service. You don’t have to build a huge team immediately. You can outsource specific expertise such as technology. The right solution will help you accelerate your efforts to ensure B2B e-commerce success.

The B2B e-commerce market is growing larger every day. It is predicted that by 2020, 27% of B2B transactions will be conducted online. Imagine what it can do to your business. Although implementation may take a lot of time and resources, the ROI for your company is real. Do it right and you will reach B2B e-commerce success in no time. Click here to see what our B2B e-commerce solution can do for your business.

Product Information Management for Greater Customer Experience

How you organize, deliver and display the content in your Product Information Management (PIM) systems is as important as the products and services you are trying to sell. Just like products and services, content also needs to stand out. It needs to be identifiable with your company’s brand and customizable to updates as time passes and business conditions change. Brand engagement has to be always on if you want to provide great customer experience.

Key facts:

  • Roughly a fourth of companies have a PIM system in place to unify data across all channels
  • 43% have started to coordinate their product data
  • Less than 15% are operating without a formal process

To provide great customer experience and stand out online, you must organize and deliver product information in a consistent and differentiating way. The biggest factor that impacts customer experience is not your front-line employees or last touch customer-facing applications; it is your operational systems. If your customers can find the information and products they need, your brand value will soar. If not, it will be damaged – destroyed even.

A great customer experience does not happen at the last touchpoint. You need to equip your underlying operations to support the entire customer journey by providing reliable data. Here’s how you can ensure reliable data to enable exceptional customer experience:

  • Make sure all your channels are connected and share information. In most cases, one channel has different or additional information about your customer. Aggregate all data to build an accurate and consolidated 360-degree view with a modern Product Information Management platform that connects to all systems and channels, capture data, match it against one customer, and merge data to create the correct picture.
  • Make sure all systems and analytics get the data from a single source of truth. All operational systems should have access to a single reliable source to make sure all processes and analytics have consistent information. Once information is shared, your systems will be able to perform efficiently and deliver a consistent experience across departments.  

Great customer experience is a product of operational excellence. It is your competitive advantage. That’s why you need to tweak, or even recast, content for each channel. Keep in mind that you are responsible for your content as you are responsible for your physical products. An omni-channel customer experience will deliver an optimal brand experience throughout a dynamic digital environment. Click here to check out our product information management solution.

 

Overcoming the Challenges of Digital Transformation with Data Management

Digital transformation has disrupted the business industry. It has digitized processes to enhance transparency and accuracy, ease and speed up transactions, as well as improve customer satisfaction. This concept has become so mainstream that 70% of companies have a dedicated innovation team. However, many leaders may overlook these challenges that can be overcome with data management.

Your customers want only three things:

  • Accurate and up-to-date information
  • Consistently high quality customer experience
  • Ability to search your website with any device

Online customers want easy. They want easy to find, easy to compare and easy to buy products. If your e-commerce website is structured like a labyrinth, you will chase potential customers away. You need to actually transform customer experience to be successful. It’s more than just investing in technology. You also need to reconfigure your business strategies and objectives to deliver.

However, there are three components that may hinder the success of digital transformation:

  • Automation to capture information. Today, all sorts of data need to be collected, extracted and analyzed. Once digitized, they need to be classified, extracted and verified to support and integrate with downstream processes. That’s why you need to quickly and accurately automate the collection of data from various sources. It is the first step in digital transformation process.
  • No context to data. In order to make better business decisions, data needs to be understood within the context of your customers’ needs and cross-reference them with your company’s pre-set rules and policies. The challenge is capturing unstructured data (handwritten notes and social content). You need a more sophisticated approach to capture, classify and extract them.
  • Updating manual business processes. Manual business processes means too much paper. You need proper data management to eliminate this wasteful and unproductive steps if you want to easily and quickly find your documents, reduce costs, and ensure accountability and compliance. Manual processes take forever. A data management solution can help eliminate low-value tasks and automatically process work to meet the rapidly changing business conditions.

With both electronic data and paper being widely used, it has become clearer that smarter data capture is essential to smarter business processes. All information coming from multiple channels contain important data that enable automation and drive your business processes. For digital transformation to be successful, you need a good data management solution. You need a holistic view of how your company meets the needs of your customers. Click here to learn more about Enspir and our e-commerce solutions.

 

The Role of Data in B2B Ecommerce Success

Integration is one of the biggest challenges and opportunities of B2B businesses today. Companies need to support B2B processes for customers and partners who are using digital, automated solutions. But, they also need to enable data from these processes to land into their existing accounting and ERP systems automatically. This is what Enspir is about, helping suppliers, distributors and manufacturers to step into the world of B2B ecommerce success.

Here are some reasons why integration is important to B2B businesses:

  • Lack of insight into customer data
  • Compromised decision-making
  • Reduced ROI
  • Reduced visibility
  • Difficulty identifying cost-cutting opportunities
  • Increased sales cost
  • More points of failure

An evolving B2B sales process does not deal with manual processes anymore. Gone are the days when sales representatives jot down orders from customers and send back the order forms manually to the distributors. With B2B ecommerce, suppliers and distributors access a better way. They ditch the manual processes and provide customers with something closer to online shopping today. They can record orders on the spot and data will be automatically sent to the distributor.

What is the role of data in this?
Data has become the step that will take businesses further to the path of B2B ecommerce success. Ecommerce provides access to troves of data on consumer shopping habits. It allows customers to purchase a product and automatically recommend similar products that they might enjoy. Thanks to data analytics, companies can also analyze historical shopping habits and make predictive offers for what online shoppers might want or need.

Since SMBs are similar to consumers, this applies to them too. They tend to make higher-value purchases with paper documents, where data is less accessible. With more people making purchases, buying habits are less predictable. This is one area where the Internet of Things can make a mark. IOT-connected devices can offer predictions and suggestions as to what the enterprise needs to procure by using data to effectively understand what set of services SMBs really need.

Data integration impacts many business processes and customer satisfaction. It is important for B2B companies to understand the current state, desired improvements, and how integration can improve their business processes. Lack of integration results to lack of visibility across these processes, including sales, marketing, ecommerce and inventory management. Click here to know more about our B2B ecommerce solution.

B2B E-commerce: Why Modern Tech is Important

The B2B marketplace is increasingly getting crowded with both big and mid-sized businesses. This growth is driving B2B companies to leverage e-commerce tools and techniques to improve reach, sales, customer experience, and efficiency. Modern tech devices made it possible for companies and customers to get a proper approach to the products in the market. Here are some reasons why they are important for B2B e-commerce.

  • Modern tech offers complete end-to-end e-commerce capabilities to companies and customers. This is the main reason why it is suitable for B2B e-commerce. It benefits both and drives a revolution in the market.
  • It offers complete access to all different kinds of products from one particular location. Customers don’t have to go through multiple vendors, making the process less complicated and saving a lot of time and efforts.
  • It allows companies to cut product costs. It also reduces inventory levels and improves market speed for product retailers and dealers.
  • It gives assurance of competitive wholesale prices for everyone. This does not affect the quality of the products in a negative way. The products that are being sold on the platform are perfect and can be used with their best potential.

B2B e-commerce platforms are playing an important part in the overall progress of the e-commerce market. B2B buyers are growing increasingly impatient with sellers that don’t provide it. That’s why B2B companies should build their digital fast if they don’t want to risk losing their customers to the online competitors.

Challenges of the B2B Marketplace
From multiple product lines to complex sales channels, B2B business owners are often faced with challenges that lies on personal contact, slow mode of payment and the number of decision makers. They have to hurdle a consistent fight with these challenges on the B2B e-commerce platform. That’s why it is important to develop a solid business and logistical connections with partners. Incorporating modern technology in the most efficient manner results to smooth product delivery and efficient operations.

With the start and evolution of modern technology, B2B e-commerce has made it possible for everyone to get wider product approaches. It allows business to purchase goods as per requirement, reducing their inventory levels. It also lets them buy goods from different software platform based marketplaces and online networks. Furthermore, modern devices make it convenient for customers to get everything they need. Click here to learn more about our B2B e-commerce solution.

Top 10 Differences between B2C and B2B Platform

Don’t try to purchase a B2C platform and repurpose it for your B2B customers if you don’t want to waste your time and money. B2B is different from B2C. Don’t trust a B2C provider that claims to be an overnight expert on the former. Keep in mind that a few customizations will not make a B2C platform perfectly work for B2B clients. You should start with a B2B platform directly. Here is a short list of features that a B2B provider should be able to demonstrate easily, without customizations.

  • Search – A B2B platform personalizes the search for each user type and to the specific company that is ordering.
  • Products – B2B products are complex. They require advanced quoting and configuration.
  • Integrations – Most B2B projects fail or go over budget on integration. That’s why you should have a strong integration toolset.
  • Performance – B2B handles larger SKU counts and order volumes than B2C.
  • Developer Tools – The platform should have strong B2B features OTB. It should allow the developer community to extend and scale without over boarding the upgrade path.
  • Globalization – Most B2B companies are global. They are available in multiple languages and currencies. They are also flexible enough to handle international shipping and tax issues.
  • Multi-site – A B2B platform provides customer-branded microsites and ordering portal for their key accounts. On the other hand, B2C typically offers a single website.
  • Customers – B2B companies have many different personas, client types and channels. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for all firms. You need to consider various factors when choosing the best B2B ecommerce solution for you.
  • Payments – B2B provides options for PO, order approvals, and payment on credit. It also has the ability to check available credit. On the other hand, B2C is often credit card only.
  • Check out – The B2B checkout process is more complex than that of B2C. It involves multiple order approvals, credit limits and payment complexity.

OroCommerce is the only true B2B ecommerce platform. It will help you drive business growth, reduce total cost of ownership, and improve your customer experience. Built with flexibility in mind, it can be customized and extended to fit any B2B ecommerce needs. Click here to check out its key features.

5 Tips on Building your Next generation B2B Ecommerce Strategy

People are finally talking about B2B ecommerce. Many analysts believe that it will be much stronger and more complicated than B2C. However, it will also last longer. Currently, there are 3 times as many B2B transactions than its counterpart. Stores, dealers, suppliers and distributors are looking for ways to find and purchase products online. That’s why analysts are taking the evolution of B2B ecommerce seriously, and you should too.

If you are running a small or medium sized business, you need to invest in an ecommerce platform that supports the experience B2B buyers are expecting and optimizes your business operations.  72% of SMBs get at least a quarter of their revenues from online channels. With millennials representing more than half of the workers now, you need to provide quality online channels to meet their demands.

  • Focus your sales staff on unique situations. In today’s digital world, you need to rise to meet the shift in buyer’s behavior by supporting complicated transactions such as navigating complex products and services, helping set up installation needs, negotiating prices and selling high-consideration products. Order and sales processes should be supported by digital tools an channels, including chat functions, email, and collaborative software.
  • Choose a stand-alone B2B ecommerce solution. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to all companies. You need to choose a solution according to the depth and breadth of your skill to manage integration processes, legacy technology infrastructure and other factors. Weigh out the benefits of each solution to decide which the best for your business is.
  • Prepare for more competitors. Opening yourself to the online world also opens your business to more competitors. Your online experience will be compared to larger global enterprises, including your customers’ previous online shopping experience. When choosing your technology partner, evaluate their capabilities both as a client and customer.
  • Consider cloud-based solutions. Cloud-based B2B ecommerce solutions can help ease your IT burdens. They help you stay abreast of the latest innovations. They are also easier to scale and faster to market.
  • Explore the role of marketplaces. Online marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba are an effective way to drive traffic, online presence, and sales. Your customers are already buying from these channels. So, make you do your research and decide what best for your business as part of your digital strategy.

In a fast-moving, omni-channel world, efficiency is important. You need to cost-effectively optimize your workflow and productivity to avoid falling behind the competition. By choosing the right B2B ecommerce solution, you can deliver the best customer experience and ensure you stay streets ahead of your competitors. Click here to learn more about our B2B ecommerce offering.