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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.

 

 

High Quality Product Data: Why Is It Important?

If you truly want to be multichannel, you need to have access to and control of your product data. Extract data from several different choices to fulfill any required marketing channel application and increase the visibility of your products. Shoppers want to shop before they buy. They want to be able to navigate your website and gather the data they need to make a sound purchasing decision. That’s why high quality product data is important.

Your customers want to feel good about their decision. Providing them with high quality product data makes them feel that, inspiring them to press the buy button. When your customers do not have a stellar browsing experience, they can get frustrated. This will lead them away from your brand and on to the nearest competitor.

High quality product data and proper data management are important in providing an excellent user experience. These two are the differences between a stressful shopping experience that drives away your customers to another site and a great shopping experience that is only a few clicks away to completing a purchase. So, make sure your site can accommodate all their needs.

For every product offering, all searchable words should be properly indexed. Also, use engaging and unique content in the following areas:

  • Category descriptions
  • Titles not derived from attributes
  • Features and benefits
  • Product buying guides
  • Short and long descriptions
  • User-generated reviews

Increased conversion is a result of using the right infrastructure and display for your website. This can be achieved through excellent product information management (PIM), high quality product data, accurate SKUs, and a well-organized customer experience.

Qualities of a High Quality Product Data

Accuracy
When it comes to product data, quality is more important than quantity. You should not only focus on gathering as much information as possible. You also need to think about whether it’s correct and how it can be used. Low accuracy levels of data lack insight. The decisions it influences are likely to be poor.

Integrity
Data comes from everywhere nowadays. That’s why data governance is important. These data will be arriving from all directions and at various formats. Other staffs may use spreadsheets, while some may put their faith on advanced data visualization tools. This disparity can cause a unique set of problems and make data useless. Data has to be available to everyone and should not be limited to the IT department.

Real-Time Integration
At the present, it is no longer enough to embrace information. It should happen quickly – or instantly. The periods of time in which you need to make a decision is shortening. Instant access to data will enable you to get ahead of your competitors, or at least keep up with them. You also need to be responsive. This is one quality that distinguishes a good company from an innovative one.

Without high quality product data, all you hard work and effort can be compromised. Inaccuracies can be detrimental to your business and bottom-line. On the other hand, accurate data levels can drive efficiency, profitability and growth. By ensuring data is accurate, your losses are wholly avoidable. To ensure high quality product data in your supply chain, click here.

How Product Information Impacts Retail Tech Trends

As product information management advances, businesses are discovering new and exciting ways to grow. They are seeking other ways to manage information, gather insights, and make sound decisions. They are looking for ways to go beyond the basics and are making PIM a part of their competitive advantage. There are 5 trends that enable companies to capitalize on product data. But, how does product data impact these trends?

Trends in Product Information Management

  • Machine learning to improve data reliability
  • Discovering data relationships through graph technology
  • Acquiring intelligent recommendations with cognitive systems
  • Achieving clean and current data via collaborative curation
  • Monetizing data for new revenue streams

Retailing has changed over the past ten years. Shoppers now have various shopping options. From visiting malls and stores, they can also purchase items via in-app purchases, their laptops and smartphones. The blending of the shopping avenues (called omnichannel purchasing) is now a way of life for shoppers. Here’s how product information impacts the above retail trends:

Search Specificity
As the ecommerce becomes more saturated, companies should break through the online noise by having rich product data and attributes. Consumers are using specific search terms to find what they are looking for. By having rich product data and attributes, your product is more likely to appear on top of the searches and more likely to end up in your customers’ hands.

Competing with Larger Players
Virtually every company today is competing with big retail giants, whose web presence dominates search results. Their fast delivery models and free shipping features gratify most customers, too. To compete with them, you need to reinforce your online strategies with great product information. Provide a robust and complete data to appear near the top of your potential customers’ search. Streamline your data to make sure it moves quickly and effectively along the supply chain.

Visual Searching
When it comes to ecommerce, words are not the only way to get seen. You also need to upload a photo of your product. This gives your customers the opportunity to identity and buy a product when they see it on a blog or website, without additional purchasing information. Make sure you have a high volume of high quality images to increase the chances of your product photo to show up in the results.

Social Shopping
Nowadays, shoppers have become more knowledgeable. They do their homework before purchasing a product. Although detailed product specifications are rich product information, they are turning to friends and families for reviews. That’s why social elements are so important. Extend your product data beyond attributes. Consider adding videos, images and customer reviews to take advantage of social shopping.

Omnichannel success depends on rich and compelling product information. Make sure you take advantage of this by giving your customers the information and experience they expect. Click here for 5 types of product data that improve online sales.

5 Signs your Company Needs a Product Information Management Solution

Product Information Management is becoming an important tool for businesses. A strong and reliable Product Information Management solution provides a hefty return on investment and yields various benefits such as superior data management, easy integration and effective data delivery. Bringing a product to market smoothly is easier with widely-defined attributes, detailed descriptions, and images. This information needs to be managed consistently, so you can promote and market products efficiently.

A research conducted by Aberdeen shows improvements for businesses using a PIM software, which includes:

  • At least 17% increase in product data accuracy
  • Shorter time to information
  • 20% faster data retrieval and distribution
  • Reduced time-spent on data-centric tasks
  • Customer retention and satisfaction

How do you know your business needs an efficient Product Information Management solution? Here are 5 signs that you should look for:

Scattered Product Information
The number one indicator that your business needs a PIM solution is scattered product data all throughout your system. If some data is in a spreadsheet, while others are in ERP systems, your employees’ desks or even minds, it reduces efficiency. If information is stored in various locations instead of a central PIM, your colleagues will spend a lot of time looking for them. It is also unsure if they will find every piece.

Inaccurate Product Information
The easiest way to disappoint customers is offering them something you can’t deliver. Whether a sales rep provides quote that can’t be honored or the listed item is not available in the inventory, these can all be traced back to incomplete or inaccurate product information, which can be solved by a PIM system.

Conflicting Product Data
Take for example the use of spreadsheets. One employee sends all pricing information on a spreadsheet. Now, both employees A and B have the same repository for pricing. If employee A updates his spreadsheet, there will be conflicting product data. The problem multiplies as the spreadsheet gets updated, creating new conflict. Without PIM, it is hard to tell where the master product data resides.

Inconsistent Data Formats
When product data is in different locations, they are also in various formats. It’s possible that one person is storing SKUs, while the other stores them as ISBNs in spreadsheets or as UPCs on a sheet of paper. This increases time-spent determining if the three numbers refer to the same product and makes it harder for software to automatically process them.

Inaccurate Orders Received
Another sign your business needs a PIM solution is if your customers keep receiving what they didn’t order. SKUs recorded in multiple locations with one listing off by a digit can lead to your customers receiving products in the wrong color or size. This can be prevented with improved product information management.

You can mitigate or completely avoid these by utilizing the right tools and processes. A Product Information Management solution stores data in one location that everyone in the organization can access. Moreover, it filters incomplete and incorrect data from entering the system. Quality and organized data improves your supply chain performance and enhances your customer’s experience.

Click here to know the 5 types of B2B product data that improves online sales.