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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.

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.

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.

5 Useful Tips for Successful B2B Ecommerce

B2B ecommerce, or business-to-business electronic commerce, refers to the selling of products between businesses via online portals. It is used to improve the efficiency of companies. Seventy percent of all B2B businesses acquire their customers online. B2B ecommerce allows them to gain clients and book new orders without relying on existing customers or using extensive sales force. It serves as a critical sales channel for many firms.

To ensure B2b ecommerce success, you need to tailor your store to the needs of your buyers. You should promote your products and set up automated processes as well. Most of all, you have to have full control over who can view your store. Here are 5 useful tips to help you grow your business and strengthen your customer relationship.

  • Know your customers and create a robust product catalog. Center everything around your audience and think about the employees in your target industry. Then, make it easier for them to research by creating a detailed catalog. Help them find the products that fit their needs and empower them to customize orders to suit their individual needs.
  • Use highly descriptive listings. Show value and benefits through your product listing copy. Use descriptive language, high quality images and videos to show off your offerings and appeal to everyone in the chain of command. Use an excellent Product Information Management (PIM) solution to ensure accurate and complete data.
  • Consider longer sales cycles. Do you have specific products and multiple people that play a role in your purchasing process? Then, your sales cycle can last from a few weeks to even more than a year. Manage all your contracts to keep track of your leads and to improve customer experience.
  • Create omni-channel presence. Customers today are getting more tech-savvy. Make sure you provide the same experience across multiple channels for seamless shopping experience and deeper customer engagement.
  • Provide personalized features. Personalization builds engaging and cost-effective user experience. It is important in meeting your customers’ individual needs. Include product recommendations, best seller lists and wish listing to help them save time and improve your buyer-seller relationship.

More and more people prefer to purchase online than in-store. If you are looking to make your B2B ecommerce business a success, these 5 useful tips can help you. Successful B2B ecommerce requires alignment of physical store locations, salespeople, warehouse, and marketplace storefronts to ensure holistic and efficient business operations. Click here to check out our B2B ecommerce solution.

Why Integrating B2B E-commerce is a Key Success Factor

The B2B e-commerce market is still maturing. It has started to accelerate, but the adoption is a little slow. A significant amount of growth may be evident in the next five years. Although B2B is in the early adopter phase, it is important for businesses to change to stay relevant. Today, investments are only being made by market leaders. They consider e-commerce as critically important for sales.

Key Facts:

  • B2B e-commerce worldwide sales is expected to reach $6.7 trillion by 2020.
  • B2B sales will account for 27% of e-commerce sales.
  • By 2020, total B2B e-commerce sales in the US is predicted to reach $1.1 trillion.

However, B2B e-commerce is not only essential for sales. It also changes what employees do. It focuses on customer service, product development and marketing. Businesses that leverage the technology improve both customer experience and overall operations.

“British Airways equip their cabin crews with iPads to enable flight attendants to re-book in-flight passengers on new connecting flights (if necessary). The maintenance staff also use iPads to track maintenance issues and order replacement parts. The airline has expedited its supply chain to keep its planes operating on time, build customer loyalty and improve overall operations.”

Mobile devices have also gained stream among B2B buyers. B2B e-commerce customers have mobility in mind. For them, mobile is more than just a channel. It allows them to do something within the immediate context.

How to Integrate B2B E-Commerce with ERP Systems
Integrating your B2B e-commerce site with your internal systems streamlines your operations and simplifies your customers’ buying experience. It offers significant benefits such as increasing business opportunities, improving sales, reducing costs and helping your reach more clients.

To ensure your ERP integration is a success, consider these four tips:

  1. Define data to be integrated. Know what data to include, what source, where it will be sent to and how often it will be updated. Integrate some of these data initially and add others over time.
  2. Map your customer registration workflow. Data integrations can affect the registration process. Make sure you map out the workflow for new customers before any integration to make the process as simple as possible.
  3. Build a data migration plan. New integrations have initial, necessary one-time data migration steps including loading product data and ensuring all products have valid SKU, migrating users from previous e-commerce site, and mapping your existing e-commerce customers.
  4. Plan for failure. No matter how well you plan, data does not reach its destination all the time. It is important that you have a backup plan. Set up alerts to notify specific individuals for certain types of error.

With so much data available in B2B e-commerce, there is no room for vague estimates. You can improve your customers’ buying experience and web store functionality. Keep in mind that the sales process is considered as an essential part of your company’s success. Optimizing this process and getting it more efficient is the key. Leveraging B2B e-commerce is a smart thing to do. Click here to learn more about our e-commerce platform.