The B2B sales are most often supported by legacy selling tools and processes these days. The business buyers are rarely afforded the smooth experiences found online in the B2C world. Companies still now rely on cumbersome spreadsheets and strict enterprise software systems to price, quote ad process orders. Over the years there have been several occasions where Multi-enterprise B2B Integration between business partners have taken place. Indeed, there is an ample availability of software and services to link business processes of external companies. In the B2B scenario, it has also been noticed that the sellers make it difficult for customers to place orders that today’s B2B eCommerce platforms could handle with much greater efficiency for both buyer and supplier.
In this blog, we consider the common business issues and the value of executing on a B2B eCommerce program. We have also considered a white paper from Intershop to generate proper solutions and ideas for B2B commerce. The current B2B eCommerce landscape and a unique value proposition are explained here for better understanding.
Common Business Issues
Most industries face common selling issues that can be easily addressed by B2B eCommerce solutions. However, before learning about the solutions it is better to know about the problems or issues faced.
The global economic climate has created massive pressure on businesses to reduce costs and become effective, efficient wherever possible. Operational inefficiency in a B2B business includes:
- Elongated quote to cash processes
- Manual ordering with operations via phone, fax, email.
- Lack of standard processes and language causing incorrect purchasing terms.
- Lack of proper customer service.
B2B buyers by not getting the same rich experience of today’s online B2C consumer sites, are missing the opportunity to leverage the know-how and the science of the online B2C world. B2B eCommerce capability impacts revenue growth and the market share of the company. Without an eCommerce presence there are several missed opportunities in store for the B2B business.
The B2B eCommerce Landscape
As companies look to establish an online B2B program, a broad landscape of the considerations is to be looked at that can drive efficiency, better serve customers and increase revenue. The success of a B2B company depends primarily on a company wide commitment and clear ties to strategic objectives as defined by the senior management team. Future state business processes can be modeled and proof of concepts worked to render more concise projections on specific benefits.
Most B2B eCommerce platform also requires extensive software development and system integration for initial implementation and maintenance. Projects have a long duration and depend on expensive IT resources. The final result of all this is a lack of agility to meet the changing business needs. Most eCommerce platforms built were customized to meet the needs of B2C businesses. Similarly, many B2B capabilities have been addressed with B2B centric software solutions and web services. However, the reality is that most companies have several variegated business models with multiple channel requirements. ECommerce becomes difficult for companies when several business models are mixed together to support multiple branded sites of B2B origin.
In addition to problems and situations like organizational readiness, cost of projects, complexity of projects, multiple business channel models, etc. companies are now faced with problems related to their expansion in global markets. Global requirements is not just the need of the business to accommodate new languages and currencies, but to make new fulfillment partners, workflows and processes to localize law, support distributors, sellers and partners. Based on the changing scenario, companies should focus more on changing business objectives such as:
- Reducing surplus and aging inventories
- Acquiring a new customer, regardless of order size
- Growing market share in a particular category or product line
- Use of dynamic pricing to increase conversation rates with particular customers or product categories
- Emphasizing higher margin products over total revenue
- Driving new product introductions
- Reducing fraudulent transaction
The B2B eCommerce business value is derived by looking after and resolving the common issues that a company faces. In terms of operational efficiency, web culture, customer intimacy, growth and market share business value are determined and needs to be checked. All B2B companies need business value. A proper business value is what is missing from B2B eCommerce companies. These companies need to strategize accordingly. Business value will reap the following benefits and more or the B2B company:
- Reduced quote to cash cycle time
- More efficient handling of peak sales volumes
- Improved DSO
- Reduced reliance on ERP interfaces and home grown order entry tools
- Provide a rich buying experience centered on the needs of the buyer
- Reduce dependency on sale reps and customer service
- Allowing customers to easily place recurring orders.
Business to business sellers must take a close look at how the success of business to consumer internet selling could be applicable to their operations. The opportunities available through B2B ecommerce are many and easily aligned with strategic objectives. Any company considering a B2B ecommerce project needs a solution provider with leadership, extensive experience and robust solution.
Facts to Tweet
- Frost & Sullivan projects B2B e-commerce to hit $12 trillion in sales worldwide by 2020
- On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging in a specific brand’s site.
- 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process.
- 57% of the buying process is done prior to engaging with Sales.
- 73% of global traffic to B2B company sites originate from the search engines.
Download the White paper from Intershop here: