By Sophie Henderson on Mon 25 February 2013 in Web & eCommerce
This series has shown you how B2B (Business to Business) eCommerce in 2013 is set to revolutionise the way businesses trade with each other also how, by following our best practice advice, you can adequately prepare and as a result, reap the huge benefits that moving your business online can bring.
We also pin-pointed technology as one of the key factors in ensuring eCommerce success. Adopting the ‘right’ eCommerce solution for your business and ensuring that your existing technology works well with your current processes is not only wise but essential in ensuring the right start online. Once this has been achieved, you can then start to deliver real value to your customers, making you an unstoppable eCommerce force in your market.
Setting up a B2B eCommerce site starts to make a lot of sense in an economic climate where many businesses are being forced to look for ways to reduce costs and streamline their sales channel. The benefits your company can reap are almost endless. Having an integrated B2B eCommerce site can make a huge difference to your average order value as well as offering a better service with special pricing and order history for every customer! Team them with the reduction in costs and you are well on your way to becoming an eCommerce success story. Not only this, but an eCommerce site can vastly improve your business’s visibility online and means you’re open for business 24/7, giving your customers the option of ordering when it suits them. Need we say more?
However, we appreciate that hard evidence is sometimes more reassuring than ‘just taking our word for it’.
“20% (£500k pcm) of our orders now come from the website and we are winning new customers based on the new service the site offers our customers”
Neil Merry, Managing Director of CSG (Cycling Sports Group) UK
Cycling Sports Group (CSG) is recognised as one of the UK’s most significant suppliers of bike products to the independent dealer network. In 2008, CSG went live with ProspectSoft Web Solutions to manage over a thousand products in their online store, selling to a wide range of customers varying from large national chains to small independent retailers.
Sound intriguing? Read more on how one of our existing customers grew their business using a tailored B2B eCommerce site:
CSG were faced with a variety of challenges not uncommon among B2B companies today:
- Huge amounts of customer enquiries regarding bike availability and requests for technical information via telephone and email. This resulted in an unmanageable amount of administrative work and diverted staff from their core roles.
- Many of CSG’s customers run their own businesses and were constrained to ordering stock from CSG during their own busy trading hours. Customers needed to be able to order at times more convenient to them, such as evenings and weekends.
Since CSG made the move online, the information flow between them and their customers has greatly improved, dramatically reducing administration as customers can now get the information they need quickly and easily from the new site. This allows CSG staff to concentrate on other important areas of the business, including winning new customers. Online orders now make up 20% (£500k pcm) of revenue, and the ability to order online outside of normal office hours has helped attract new customers from the competition. Furthermore, because CSG are now really easy to deal with, bike shops are devoting more and more space to products supplied by CSG rather than their competition.
So, the question is – why hire a full telesales team when you can have your website do it for you?
Your eCommerce website can free up your employee’s time, giving them the ability to focus on other profit-generating activities. Add this to the benefits which can be gained from the eradication of processing errors, as well as faster and more convenient order processing for your customers – and ask yourself, is selling online really something your company can afford not to do?
Thinking of the spare time your telesales team now have and focussing them on proactive activities, such as following up on things like open or abandoned web baskets – again a route to increase those orders!
Many B2B companies believe that their website is only useful as a marketing tool – this series has shown you why that isn’t true. Take CSG for example, taking a B2B ecommerce strategy seriously means you can dramatically reduce your operational costs, increase sales, and strengthen relationships between trading partners. Having a successful eCommerce website means you can expand your presence in the marketplace and lower your procurement costs while handling an unlimited number of products.
While B2B ecommerce reduces human intervention, overhead expenses, and errors, it also increases efficiency and brand exposure.
According to Marketing Charts , 8 in 10 B2B customers would opt for a supplier that offers an online ordering option over an equal supplier that only offers print catalogue ordering. As a result of their research they also found that B2B customers find the main advantages of the e-commerce option to be that it allows them to do business with their suppliers at their convenience (89.4%), it saves them time (84.6%), it enables them to be better informed about the state of their order (80.7%) and it alerts them to products they were previously unaware of (71.6%).
So, with all this in mind, what is stopping you? If you haven’t yet got a plan together of how to move your existing business online, be assured that your competitors will have. After all, what the customer wants, the customer gets, right?