10 Reasons Why B2B’s Need To Consider eCommerce Now.
In the last few years, brick and mortar stores that did not foresee changes in consumer behaviour became victims of the eCommerce age. Even with a new paradigm in play, many B2B companies still don’t feel like they will be targets of this change. The truth is, if you’re not looking at bringing in digital retail to your business customers, you risk losing business.
We’ve been receiving lots of questions from our B2B clients about how they can make a switch to eCommerce, what they should consider, and why they should take the leap in the first place. We know it’s no small feat and requires investment; but trust us when we say this: eCommerce or bust. To help explain this further, Evron hosted a webinar to go over this rich information. Alongside our team, Josh Fischer, Acumatica’s Commerce Edition Product Manager, joined the discussion.
We won’t make you watch the recorded hour long webinar. Instead, we’ll give you the highlights.
1. A Website With A Shopping Cart Is Not Enough
It’s a common misconception that setting up an e-commerce site is straightforward. To a degree, it is; but it requires much more than opening a WooCommerce or Shopify site. With a cart, a purchase can be made. Now you need to go about fulfilling that order in a timely manner, sending invoices, tracking purchases, tracking returns, accepting various forms of payment, while keeping a record of all this activity for accounting and inventory. A simple add to cart functionality without the appropriate backend ERP support makes eCommerce a laborious process that costs more and demands more time– two problems eCommerce is designed to solve.
2. Lack In Speed With Suppliers Named #1 Pain Point For B2Bs
In a study with 1,000 B2B decision makers, McKinsey found that “lack of speed with their suppliers emerged as their number one pain point, mentioned twice as often as price.” With a growing number of technologies that make businesses more efficient, supplier purchasing is not immune. Executives want to streamline and speed up their processes, which means you do too.
3. Customer Expectations Are Growing and Must Be Met
You’ve heard it before: great business is about “location, location, location!” In the digital age, the location is not a physical place but online. Your customers are accustomed to one click purchases, researching while watching Netflix, and the overnight door to door deliveries of Amazon. If you don’t fit into this process of ease and convenience, your customers will be looking at your competitors.
4. 70% Of B2B Customers Do Their Homework Before Talking To Sales
Democratized access to information means sales cycles have changed. No longer do people need to reach out to a sales team, wait for a call back, and deal with any pressures to purchase. Customers can find pricing and availability info online and compare their different options within minutes. If you’re not online, you risk being left out of your customer’s decision process.
5. Not Going Digital Is Costing You
Traditional B2B businesses reliant on sales calls require a larger sales team to support long sales cycles. Time costs money so shortening your sales cycle in turn means more profits. Going online removes time spent in back and forth communications and gets you the sale with less effort.
Further, eCommerce encourages customer loyalty. Convenience means people are more likely to subscribe to your service or product, allowing you to secure profits for months to come.
6. ERP Platforms Are The Heart Of On And Offline Businesses
An investment in an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is an investment in the core of your eCommerce and offline business. An ERP system like Acumatica keeps your backend inventory and online frontend in synch and records all sale information on one single platform, no matter where the customer comes from. Creating an omnichannel experience means your customer receives accurate information regardless of how they shop and means one version of the truth for you.
ERP’s like Acumatica also include a CRM. Easily add new contacts, add call notes, share information between teams, and respond quicker to customer requests. Combining an ERP with a CRM gives you a holistic 360 view of your business, from financials, to marketing, sales, and customers.
7. Tracking Customer Journey’s Enables Smarter Sales
Using an ERP system allows you to unlock powerful analytics about your customers and your products. Purchases from new customers, returning customers, returns, etc. are all data points that together can tell you what you’re doing right and what needs improvement. ERP’s process and display this data in a meaningful way for you, subsequently enabling you to make business decisions faster. This is a sure-fire way to adapt to changing markets.
8. An Endless Growth Opportunity
Scalability is a big bonus with eCommerce. If you’re a B2C, you need to open more physical locations to support growing demand. In a B2B, you have to hire more people and likely grow your space. With eCommerce, you can still keep things small while meeting demands. Since online retail and ordering systems take out the need for someone speaking to every prospect, your growth is no longer limited by the size of your team or restrictions of business hours.
9. It’s Marketing
Over 51% of smartphone users have found a new company or product while doing a search on Google. Imagine what the numbers are for those on their laptops. For a B2C, these numbers are astounding. eCommerce integration can mean a better SEO score which in turn increases your chances of being discovered on Google.
For B2B’s, having a place your customers can discover you and re-order from you is important. It means less time pitching to prospects and more time receiving inquiries.
10. Your Competitors Might Already Be There
B2B eCommerce sales are to outgrow B2C eCommerce sales by 2020. Naturally, it is likely that your competition will evolve to a new platform. Statistically, there’s no doubt. Using eCommerce ensures that your competitors don’t have any advantage over you– advantages that can cost you lucrative opportunities.