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Posted By: Tripti Rijhwani
Sales & Marketing

Most business-to-business (B2B) companies see the need to embrace the new digital reality allowing their customers, resellers, partners, and vendors to interact with them online using a user-friendly and well-designed platform. B2B eCommerce is the transaction of goods or services between businesses through online orders. B2B eCommerce businesses cater not to consumers but to other businesses. While investing in a B2B online solution can be a game-changer for a business, setting your deployment up for success is centered around several key considerations. Companies should consider moving to B2B eCommerce to increase sales, get wider visibility, make transactions easier, and lower costs. Moving to B2B eCommerce can significantly drive ROI and will produce many long-term benefits that create value for your business. Some important considerations for a company making the switch to B2B eCommerce are:

  • Deployment strategy
  • Personalization
  • Order management
  • Fulfillment
  • ERP integration.

By understanding these key concepts, a company can make a smooth transition to B2B eCommerce and reap the many rewards it has to offer.

How to derive ROI

B2B eCommerce is an opportunity for businesses to drive profitable sales by handling customers digitally. Additionally, it can free up businesses' operations and sales teams to focus on other ways to create value like optimizing processes or opening new markets. Buyers may not use the platform to its full potential if the digital experience is not optimized for them. Choosing the wrong platform or having a solution that does not align with the target market can be detrimental to ROI and increase the overall cost of the solution. To maximize ROI, businesses should select easy to deploy out of the box platforms, understand how to build personalized experiences, have strong operational capabilities, and have solid integration to their enterprise systems. By focusing on the following considerations, businesses can have the opportunity to achieve ROI and attain long-term durable value. Expect a simple deployment strategy. The cloud has become increasingly popular in recent years, as it offers many advantages over traditional software deployment models.

One of the biggest advantages of the cloud is that it can reduce start-up costs at a large scale and provide ongoing updates. This is because cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) solution providers can provide a feature-rich, customizable solution that can be deployed rapidly. Another advantage of the cloud is that providers continually add new features, capabilities, and integration points, making it easy to fit into a company's existing and future infrastructure. This allows for greater flexibility in deployment and features, as well as a predictable cost model that can be easily scaled to support a company's growing business.

For B2B buyers, the cloud offers several advantages, including a full-featured customer experience that can be optimized for most transactions. This can have a big impact on a company's bottom line, as it can save time and money on customer support.

Personalize the buyer experience

When building an eCommerce solution for business-to-consumer (B2C), the actual consumer is the only buyer type that the experience needs to engage. A B2B eCommerce solution can personalize the experience for different buyer types and should be available on multiple channels including desktop, tablet, and mobile, therefore it should be responsive and compatible with different platforms. To get the most value from a B2B eCommerce experience, companies need to design it for direct buyers, salespeople, and resellers who will transact on the digital channel. Each buyer type has different needs and how they purchase from a company can be very different. Typical buyer types for B2B include:

  • Direct buyers who need an end-to-end shopping experience that might need a dynamic search and catalog.
  • Internal salespeople who use an easy-to-use order entry and purchase journey to maximize interaction with a customer on the road.
  • Resellers and partners often require custom catalogs, dynamic pricing, and fulfillment options.
The level of effort to design a solution for each buyer would make it cost-prohibitive for most companies and significantly diminish the potential for value creation. B2B eCommerce strategies are most successful when all types of buyers can easily and effortlessly transact with a company. They also should maximize eCommerce adoption and convenience that buyers can get from personalized buyer journeys. Companies that want to maximize value and ROI should deploy flexible and personalized experiences, so all their customers and prospects use the solution.

Order management simplified

Being an online merchant means your target audience is all over the globe and you can offer endless variety of products to them. It increases the profit, but it also introduces the complexity of dealing with multiple vendors, thousands of SKU codes, and complex back-office processes.

An integrated order management solution can save a lot of time and money for a merchant. It can automate many of the processes that a brand would otherwise have to do manually like show inventory, accept orders and process a transaction. This can free up time and resources so that a brand can focus on other areas of its business.

An integrated order management solution helps to keep track of inventory and to know when they need to replenish products. This can be a huge assist for a brand, especially if they sell products that are in high demand.

It can also help a brand to avoid mistakes that can occur when manually entering orders. This is a benefit especially if they sell products that are drop-shipped or have multiple vendors. Integrated order management is a requirement for today's global merchants to maximize revenue and control their costs to operate.

Robust fulfillment capabilities

Fulfillment is an important process as B2B products are typically larger and shipped directly to a business, so the buyer has enough inventory. During the purchase and post-purchase process, it's important for accuracy as it involves compliance like tax rules, product restrictions, SKU codes, shipping labels, and invoicing details. If any of the details are wrong or missed this can cause delays and extra processing time for both parties. Once orders are received there are post-purchase considerations including reverse logistics and financial reconciliation.

B2B electronic data interchange (EDI) is a solution that creates value by managing transactions between trading partners. This is important because it ensures that information flows accurately and is easily verified. The result for the customer is that their transaction is managed automatically and efficiently to ensure orders are accurate and within expectations. This lower cost provides a better experience for the customer.

Seamless integration to ERP

ERP integration is a crucial component of any eCommerce solution. Integrating ERP and eCommerce enables the automation of sales orders, inventory, and customer details between systems. Ultimately, this is the key to achieving accurate and efficient experiences for customers and employees.

ERP integration has many benefits for customers, including:

  • Accurate and efficient eCommerce experiences for both customers and employees
  • Less time to operate the business
  • Reduced cost of doing business
A well-integrated eCommerce solution with ERP enables a brand to increase customer loyalty, operate efficiently, and improve customer experience.

Conclusion Deploying the right B2B eCommerce solution can have rapid ROI, help drive new revenue streams and reduce the cost of doing business. To get these, merchants must focus on the described considerations to deploy a robust, flexible, and easy-to-support solution.
When considering B2B eCommerce merchants need to contemplate:

  • What is the optimal deployment strategy?
  • Who will use the system and what is a personalized experience for them?
  • Order management is complicated and understanding how customers will order and transact is critical.
  • Fulfillment is complicated today, and automation is required to make this work well.
  • Integration to ERP allows merchants to complete transactions in a reliable and scalable manner.

Companies should consider moving to B2B eCommerce to increase sales, get broader visibility, make transactions simple, and lower costs.
Schedule an appointment with one of our solution experts to help you understand how these considerations can provide the right solution.

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