While strategy is required to point your entire company in the same direction when it comes to achieving your long-term goals, equally important is the technology that helps get you there.
Just as there are a number of common strategic goals that B2B eCommerce companies should adopt, there are several must-have capabilities that your cloud-based software should include.
Without these components, companies will struggle to obtain and retain customers, one factor alone that can kill a B2B eCommerce company. To help understand the critical software components you need to succeed, we’ve outlined the most critical below.
CRM for B2B eCommerce Companies
Today’s customer-centric economy demands that the software tools used by B2B companies help to do just that; make the customer the focus of the entire business. In doing so, companies need CRM (Customer Relationship Management) to centralize customer data for customer-facing teams.
By incorporating order history, communications or any issue experienced by the customer in their record within the CRM, that data is accessible by anyone in the organization that needs it. Instead of communicating with only one channel, customers want to engage with a variety of channels to resolve an issue or place an order.
Utilizing a strong eCommerce platform, a powerful CRM and best-in-class integrations can help reduce monthly software costs and empower teams with the data needed to put the customer front and center.
Multi-Marketplace Listing Tool
The ability to sell in multiple channels, like in-store, online or when meeting with a field sales representative, is imperative to the success of today’s modern and successful B2B company.
It’s equally important to sell in today’s popular marketplaces like eBay, Amazon and Etsy. These marketplaces help growing B2B companies reach new audiences, claim additional revenue and drive brand awareness.
EDI to Drive Sales Growth
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) is a commonly used technology among B2B and B2C companies. It’s the exchange of business documents, such as purchase orders and invoices, in a standard digital format.
EDI has been in place since the 1980s and continues to be used today by larger companies that have digitized many of their business processes many years ago. It’s often used to “place large recurring orders from the customer side to the vendor side.”4
Many large retailers and “big box” stores rely on EDI to transact with wholesalers and distributors. If EDI isn’t enabled, B2B companies are likely to miss out on major revenue streams from large customers.
Crosschannel Inventory Management
Due to the fact that it’s simply required to sell in multiple channels today, so too does inventory need to be tracked in real time and across every channel. This is especially important if companies maintain multiple warehouses.
The days of using a static Excel spreadsheet to maintain inventory levels are no more. This legacy method simply can’t keep up with the fast pace of eCommerce, thus more modern software systems are required and critical to the success of any B2B company, especially wholesale distributors.
Mobile Website and Purchasing
As mentioned earlier, it’s required today that a company’s website is easily perused and shoppable on mobile devices. Many buyers today shop for products outside of work or when traveling.
If a company’s website doesn’t render properly on mobile, buyers will go elsewhere in an instant. Often, loyalty equals the technology companies have and if it’s lacking, that buyer might just leave for good.
Advanced Shopping Cart
It’s no surprise that B2B buyers expect the same shopping cart experience they’ve known as a consumer. The shopping cart plays a critical role in converting shoppers to buyers as well as increasing customer repurchase rates.
Features like a saveable shopping cart, product recommendations, payment processing, choice on shipping and more are expected and required to obtain customers and keep them coming back.
Robust Order Management, Fulfillment and Shipping
Robust order management makes it easy for the buyer to understand what stage their order is in, whether it’s being picked and packed, to being shipped. It also helps to speed up the order management process, saving time and money.
Buyers also expect to be able to edit an order, track it, and review them without reaching out to customer service. In doing so, customers are able to self serve their needs outside of regular business hours.
In the event of an urgent need, buyers want to be able view shipping status. Ideally, many buyers will want to get notifications as a shipment progresses, when there are exceptions and upon delivery, all via a company’s website (not the shipper’s website).
With the CRM as the hub of all customer related data, best-in-class integrations can help keep a company’s technology stack short and amplify the efficiency of the core platform used to enable B2B eCommerce.
Look for high-rated integrations that plug into your existing platform and remove the need for employees to log into multiple systems to complete one action.
If B2B companies are idle waiting for customers to come to them, their lifespan will be short. Today’s B2B companies need to be able to track buyer behavior preferences and activity.
A robust eCommerce platform will enable segmentation and the ability to use multiple communication methods to make prospects and customers aware of current promotions and deals.
According to Forrester, “B2B marketers will achieve better outcomes—whether through higher return on investment, higher levels of engagement or better customer experience—by transitioning from an email marketing strategy to an omnichannel engagement strategy with a marketing automation program.”
Engage in Social
B2B companies that engage with buyers on social media have a greater chance of winning new customers and keeping them. In some cases, buyers may also use social media to communicate with a company to resolve an issue or ask a question.
Be sure to monitor social media for company mentions or questions and respond to those issues as soon as possible.
With a carefully selected platform and best-in-class integrations, B2B companies can mimic the much-desired consumer experience. The time is now to put the customer front and center by centralizing data, removing data silos, and making sales happen where and when the buyer wants.
If you’d like to learn how Systum’s integrated CRM and eCommerce platform can help you achieve operational excellence and long-term sales growth, fill out the form below.
Categories: Wholesale Distribution