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Everybody’s talking about B2B eCommerce, but not everyone is doing it.
Before the COVID-19 craziness that turned the business world upside down began, Frost & Sullivan estimated the B2B eCommerce market at $6.6 trillion for 2020. And that was in February of 2020!
Now, McKinsey & Company counsels B2B companies to move attention and support to eCommerce channels as a survival tactic.
Whether you adopt B2B eCommerce as a growth strategy or a tactic for survival, you’ll improve organizational efficiency in many ways. Here are the top five ways efficiency will benefit.
More Efficient Order Processing and Follow-Up with B2B eCommerce
Digitize the order process and you digitize the follow-up as well. B2B eCommerce software allows you to automate the routine activities so that humans focus on the non-routine activities.
Provide customers their own ordering portal with the appropriate products and pricing and orders get input automatically. You can even skip the shopping cart process and create workflows that allow established customers to order via CSV file uploads.
Orders autofill with preferred customer variables such as shipping and payment preferences. You know customers will love that!
Warehouse management will appreciate the reduced errors in order entry, such as quantity, item, or even shipping addresses.
Customer Service works more efficiently when routine inquiries like order status or tracking information are handled automatically when customers log-in.
You can even send customized order follow-up emails to enhance customer engagement without using sales rep or Customer Service time. How’s that for efficient? Improved communication leads to greater customer satisfaction with the purchasing experience. And these days, the customer experience can be a more important differentiator than price.
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Improved Sales Force Productivity
The modern seller is a problem solver, not a product pitcher. That’s because modern buyers are searching for solutions, not products.
But some situations just need the personal touch. Order taking, processing, and follow-up are automated with B2B eCommerce. Therefore, sales reps spend their time much more productively.
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With the routine digitized, leads are better nurtured, and customers get more personal service. This is because sales reps aren’t tracking order and shipping status. Take a strong pricing engine, one that’s able to handle complex rules, and add it to a digitized workflow. Then sales reps won’t waste time responding to requests for quotes.
When you automate the quoting process, every quote gets the right price and every potential customer gets the right amount of attention required to close the deal. You can even use your eCommerce platform to automate the quote-to-cash process.
With a B2B eCommerce website that is responsive for mobile platforms, sales reps take their tools of the trade with them on the road. Detailed product information and use cases from the website are just a few ways sales reps can prove their ability to solve problems.
And when it’s time to close the deal, the sales rep can enter the order for the customer using the eCommerce website. No matter where they are, sales reps will have access to customer data. What’s more, they’ll have reports to help them manage accounts on the fly.
In addition, customers will be doing much more initial self-serve research. Then, when sales rep contact takes place, the rep can spend the time more efficiently, as the lead is already informed.
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Enhanced Receivables Collection and Improved Cash Flow
Most B2B buyers aren’t paying with a debit or credit card or PayPal. However, in the off chance they are, a B2B eCommerce cart with integrated card processing allows their payment to go through faster. That reduces the amount of time accounting and sales spend chasing payment.
And with the right eCommerce platform you can digitize your net terms receivables process, too. It’s all about integration.
Integrate your website with a credit or factoring service like Apruve. Then automate credit checking, extending terms, and receiving payment on sales. When you select a platform with a robust API, you can easily integrate your ERP, website, and payment processing solutions.
No matter the technology you use, you can automate the payment processing process and get paid faster. This leads to better cash flow and fewer bad debts. Finance and sales functions both improve.
More Efficient Marketing Activities
Combine a B2B eCommerce platform with a CRM and you’ll have a 360-degree view of every customer and transaction. That’s the type of data marketing needs to build better-performing and more efficient campaigns.
Easily create personalized promotions and then automate upsell and cross sell activities. You’ll always use the landing page that converts the best because A/B split testing is easy.
Because B2B buyers consume an average of 13 pieces of content before selecting a vendor, it’s important to deliver that content as efficiently as possible. A B2B eCommerce platform allows you to hone your marketing efforts to get the right message in front of the right person at the right time.
Whether you engage in account-based marketing activities or are casting a broader net, you’ll do it more efficiently with tools from an eCommerce platform built for business.
Because there are usually multiple players in a B2B purchase, allowing users to define their own permission levels makes the marketing process easier. You’ll always know what digital desk the deal sits on. This isn’t something that’s needed in B2C eCommerce, but for effective B2B marketing and sales, it’s crucial.
Improved Inventory Management
Today’s buyers want as much transparency as possible. Don’t make them call to see if you have stock available. Accurate and real-time inventory on the website lets customers know what’s on the shelf and if what they need is out of stock.
You also get insight into what items are moving and which ones are not. Set rules for automatic markdowns or to notify sales and marketing that incentives are necessary to dump old stock.
Data drives the purchasing decisions when the most effective and accurate automatic reorder points are set. You’ll have a better insight into the tensile strength of your supply chains and adjust ordering practices accordingly.
B2B eCommerce Will Maximize the Efficiency of Your Team and Your Business
B2B eCommerce is about more than just providing customers a channel for online ordering. It’s a way to make your entire business operate more efficiently. It can also be a key driver of a company’s digital transformation.
So start reaping the benefits of B2B eCommerce. Start your own digital transformation with a transformation of your digital selling channel. Pick an open source solution so you have access to a rich ecosystem of partners, developers, and API‘s to stand up your site in record time.
Speed time to ROI and efficiency with B2B eCommerce software that comes with 85% of the functionality you need out of the box. Then focus on the remaining 15%. It’s the tried and true method for maximizing your development team’s effectiveness.
Because once everyone is working more efficiently, it’s easier to scale and grow. And growth is the ultimate goal of every company, not mere survival.