Business to business (B2B) is one of the oldest forms of retail around, and it's no surprise that so many B2B companies are making the move into online platforms to provide a fantastic range of advantage to their clients, as well as enjoy a much simpler and smoother transaction process themselves.
In order to attract new, and hold on to existing, clients, every organisation needs to ensure that they have a reliable, accessible and supportive B2B eCommerce platform to effectively meet the needs of their customers.
In the past, the most effective way to conduct large-scale B2B business was via face-to-face meetings, telephone calls and faxed orders. Even after the internet took off, and really started to provide fantastic advantages to those companies which sold directly to consumers, many large-scale business to business retailers still preferred to stick to the systems that both they and their customers felt comfortable with.
Today, with the internet as most people's primary means of communication with the world around them and even more people choosing to undertake most of their shopping through online marketplaces and business websites, is it any surprise that B2B organisations need to make the move to online retail.
There are a diverse range of features which really make eCommerce platforms for business-to-business retailers essential and, over the next few years, they will become even more necessary for any business looking to survive in the digital age.
One of the major advantages of an online platform is that any orders which are submitted through the system are instantaneous, and can start to be processed immediately. Phone orders can often take some time to complete, and orders placed via mail, email and fax can suffer from similar delays.
Even once the order has been received it can take a while before it is actually put into process. Then, of course, there is always the risk of miscommunication between the order receipt and the warehouse which can see incorrect products or incorrect numbers of products ordered.
With online ordering, the order can be received through the system immediately and thanks to integration with your ERP and warehouse systems, your company can save a great deal of time and ensure that no mistakes are made on your end.
If your customer places their order directly into your online sales portal, then the likelihood of them making a mistake will be drastically reduced. Most mistakes are made over the phone, but by removing this step in the ordering process you can effectively ensure that no mistakes are made during the order.
Your customer service officer or sales support team no longer need to painstakingly copy the received orders into your warehouse management system either, thereby removing another major point where mistakes develop.
You don't need us to tell you that mistakes of this nature can be extremely costly, not just in P&P, time and products wasted, but in terms of customer dissatisfaction as well.
Another issue that can take up a lot of time and money being wasted is the inability of the client to see exactly how much of a certain product you have in stock, when you expect more in and whether they will actually be able to get their stock from you as quickly as they need it. When customers place orders offline, they cannot depend on accurate and up-to-date stock information about their chosen products, and so will often need to be contacted to discover whether they would prefer alternative products or wait for when you have regained enough stock to satisfy their order.
With an online sales portal, integrated with your warehouse's systems, your customers will be able to see dynamically updated information about your stock, and make quick and informed decisions on what their best course of action is.
Every business will be able to enjoy their own unique account as part of your business' eCommerce solution, and access services almost instantly. With bespoke design, you will be able to present relevant information as soon as they access your portal, including information regarding:
• Past Orders
• Relevant Deals
• New Products
• Product Specifications
• Support Documents & Help Lines
By basing your unique online platform on a series of predefined, predetermined business rules, you will be able to present an unbeatably effective online presence.
Thanks to bespoke functionality, your customers will be able to log in to their own unique corporate accounts and quickly view their past orders. This can be essential when it comes to stock replenishment, as they can then re-order certain products at the touch of a button, or simply repeat the entire order.
Similarly, they can quickly and easily add items to a basket, much like the functions provided to B2C customers in a hurry to order their favourite items. In the fast-paced world of business, this functionality can really save the customer time and allow them to get on with more important parts of their day.
Orders can also be made on a variety of devices, including phones and tablets, so your customers can order anywhere with an internet connection.
So, there are a whole host of advantages provided to your customer, which is fantastic, but what about the benefits that a professional business-to-business eCommerce solution can provide to your business?
If your online presence is effectively integrated with your warehouse systems, you can cut down on the entire process, making ordering that much easier for you as well as for your customer. Any orders which come in can be instantly displayed at your warehouse, showing all relevant information including product IDs, delivery details and any specific requirements as well.
However your sales and marketing team works within your business, they will be able to become much more effective as a result of a completely reliable eCommerce solution. Sales representatives will have instant access to as much information as you would like, including past orders, pricing and current stock.
By having this information readily available, your sales team will be much more effective in both face-to-face and over-the-phone interactions with your clients. They will even be able to make product recommendations based on previous orders and interests, on the spot.
By freeing up your sales teams' time, without sacrificing the human interaction aspect of your business, they can spend more time on acquiring new clients or ensuring that your customers are perfectly happy with your services.
If you're looking to take advantage of a unique B2B eCommerce solution to help attract, retain and offer an intuitive service to your customers, then get in touch with Advansys today. Using our industry-leading Razor platform, we can create websites which truly stand out and offer unbeatable service for customers and clients of all shapes and sizes.
For more information on the potential advantages of a bespoke Razor website, created using individual business rules, get in touch with our professional team today on 0845 838 2700. Alternatively, why not check out some of the fantastic B2B and B2C websites that we have created in the past?
- R Evans - Barloworld -