By Jocelyn Davies on Thu 05 January 2017 in Blog
7 benefits of an online trade portal...
Many SMEs adopt the mentality “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. In fact, this is a common objection our own sales team hear every day. Despite it being common, it’s not the right attitude to have, particularly in the competitive B2B world. So, as a business, what makes you different from the guy down the street who sells the same product or service as you? Having an online trade portal is likely to be the answer.
You may already have a website, but it doesn’t serve as an online trade portal. It’s possible you’ve considered trading online before, but stopped in your tracks thinking “it’s not a good time” or “our business doesn’t need to trade online – our customers wouldn’t use it”. Even if you have given trading online some thought before, other tasks may have taken priority, and the idea may have been put on the back-burner. But if you keep delaying, you’ll find yourself flat lining at a level of complacency, and will find yourself unable to compete with your competitors who are already trading online.
As a B2C shopper, you expect to be able to purchase products/services online…and it’s even more important in B2B. Ecommerceandb2b.com found that the average conversion rate on B2B eCommerce sites last year was 7%, more than double the 3% conversion rate for B2C sites. These figures are proof that having an eCommerce site is necessary if you operate in the B2B market.
If this isn’t reason enough, we’ve outlined some key benefits of extending your business online:
- Extend your business hours to 24/7 – Be available for your customers around the clock, not just 9-5.
- More people can find you – With an eCommerce site, you can be found by more people. This in turn can lead to you identifying new opportunities and increases scope for sales.
- Credibility – Your business instantly becomes more credible with a trading website. As a consumer when you want to find out more about a product/service, you look online.
- Differentiation – A usable website serves as a competitive tool to stand out among the competition, and makes it clear to customers what it is you’re offering that they can’t find elsewhere.
- Improves customer service – One of the main reasons for reluctance in implementing an online trade portal is the belief that you’ll lose the one-on-one interaction with your long standing customers. But business relationships are in fact enhanced, as orders can be made faster and it’s easier to keep track of your customer’s purchases. You can also better identify bestsellers, up-sell more effectively to your customers, and better forecast what you’re likely to be selling in the near future.
- Convenience – Your B2B customers already know exactly what they want to buy, and will likely repurchase the same items with you over and over again. In fact, PFSweb’s research found that a staggering 93% of B2B shoppers prefer to buy online when they’ve already decided what to buy. So, why make it more difficult for your valued customers by not providing them with the option to buy online?
- Cost savings – You may think that having an eCommerce site is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, in the long run, it will likely save you money. According to Forrester Research, by launching an eCommerce site, B2B customers can potentially save retailers up to 90% on sales and operating costs. Doesn’t sound so unappealing now does it?
The message is simple – keep things the same and risk being surpassed by competitors, or make a positive difference and start embracing change. So, what’s your choice going to be?