E-Commerce is the name for any kind of commercial transaction that takes place through the internet. It gives customers the ability to buy from you without having any limitations imposed by time or distance. Its not restricted to a B2C business using a “shopping cart” and credit card.
The question is – are B2B customers ready for this?
This was the topic discussed by members of the Business Exposure Group at a recent meeting and some interesting observations were put forward by members, many of whom had implemented E-Commerce functionality into their businesses.
B2B suppliers know far more about their customers than B2C, so there is no excuse not to deliver relevant experiences to your customer.- a website should no longer be general but nowadays it needs to be specific to the customer browsing your site.
41% of manufacturers are now selling directly to your business customers, so your business needs to be prepared to sell against the same companies you consider as valuable supply chain partners.
Entering into the world of E-Commerce is a major decision and setting up your website is challenging. Consider the following points raised by our members during the meeting:
- Website needs to be user friendly with as few clicks as necessary to enable your customer to order as easily as possible. It should load within 5 seconds.
- Do you require multiple “shop fronts”, different languages, to only provide relevant products and services to the specific visitor?
- Does your website need a reminder email facility to remind your customer to re-order?
- Does your website need an email facility to notify your customer about new products or when products are back in stock?
- When logged into the website, does it recognise your customer and automatically bring up their previous order history? – It is important to segment customers and give them a different experience based on their industry requirements.
- If you have a complex catalogue, direct customers to the relevant products in as few clicks as possible?
- Should you put all your goods or services for sale on the website or leave the high end items for your sales team to sell?
- FAQ’s section is extremely important as it reduces the need to have an extensive customer relations team.
- With one click specific industry users can fill their ‘carts’ with everything they need for their particular requirements.
- It engenders customer loyalties. An order can be authenticated with a click of a button, instead of the process taking several days to be confirmed.
- It streamlines your ordering system. It reduces the bottle necks of tedious work.
Consider who is your real competition, your competitors or your customer expectations?
The buying experience is now more important than ever.
It was felt by the Group that B2B E-Commerce was certainly another route forward for most businesses and a great way to find a new customer base.