The B2B eCommerce market is growing at a fast pace and does not show any indication of slowing down. Findings from Statista show that the value of global B2B eCommerce Sales reached $7.7 trillion dollars in 2017, a 32% increase compared to 2013. This is a clear indication of the huge potential which B2B eCommerce has to offer. If you haven’t already, you should ensure eCommerce is part of your B2B business’s strategy now.
If you are still wondering how B2B eCommerce might benefit your business, or whether it’s worth investing in, then you’re in the right place. We will be answering those questions.
We will examine why conventional B2B manual order management is ineffective and how B2B eCommerce can fix some of the common pain points your business probably experience.
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B2B eCommerce: Your Ultimate Guide To Getting Started
Here are 7 powerful benefits of B2B eCommerce: how adding an eCommerce channel to your B2B business can benefit both your business and your customers’ businesses.
How Does B2B eCommerce Benefit Your Business
- Save Time And Reduce Errors
- Enjoy Better Customer Retention
- Get Paid Faster
- Improve Your Inventory Management Accuracy And Efficiency
How Does B2B eCommerce Benefit Your Customers
How Does B2B eCommerce Benefit Your Business?
1. Save Time And Reduce Errors
Using conventional processes to handle order management are both time-consuming and error-ridden.
Let us take a look of how an order gets processed using conventional ordering methods. Typically, a business would receive a customer order through a phone call or email. The order details would then be inputted manually into a spreadsheet. Following that, the information gets disseminated to different departments to help fulfill this order. Now, consider the countless spreadsheets required to store your customers’ order, stock information, shipping updates, and more. It will be hard to keep track which spreadsheets have the most updated information with no centralizing of information.
Also, during the manual transferring of data, errors occur easily due to human error. Worse yet, in case of errors, data recovery is difficult as it is hard to track which is the latest spreadsheet that contains the most updated information.
Furthermore, the workflow gets delayed when different work departments have to wait for their turn to update the information in the spreadsheets. Manually transferring data is a time-consuming process and can be a massive bottleneck for your order management operations. Ultimately, this leads to a long time taken to process orders.
With a B2B eCommerce platform in place, your order management process is centralized to one platform. With a single source of truth in place, employees can search for information with ease and be confident that the data is both reliable and up-to-date.
Also, by automating the data collection process, your business can save time by eliminating specific time-consuming manual activities. Your employees no longer have to waste time doing mundane tasks such as transferring data manually. Instead, they can focus working on more productive activities.
With your newly-streamlined order management workflow, your business will reap the benefits of faster order processing time and reduced errors.
2. Enjoy Better Customer Retention
When businesses have a long and tedious ordering process, it is easy to lose customers to competitors with a shorter and easier ordering process. 74% of B2B customers said they are highly likely to change brands if a business has a complex purchasing or checkout process. Thus, it is vital to reduce the number of complexities customers face when ordering from you.
Customer support is also an important factor in retaining customers. However, being a small business, you might not have enough manpower to attend to every customer query swiftly. Thus, there is a high possibility of losing these customers if they are frustrated with the lack of customer support.
A B2B eCommerce platform can help you retain customers with a better browsing and ordering experience. Moving your store online provides customers with 24/7 purchasing, allowing them to order from you anytime and anywhere they are.
In addition, you can reduce your cost-to-serve by giving customers access to an up-to-date product catalog and pricing list. Your customers no longer have to call or email you every time they have basic product catalog and pricing questions. Instead, they can head to your eCommerce website where they can have questions answered.
3. Get Paid Faster
A common problem most B2B businesses face is a lengthy payment capture timeline. This is typically due to extended payment terms and/or late payment. With different customers operating under different payment terms and conditions, tracking whether a customer has paid is difficult using manual methods. Also, there is also a problem of monitoring customers who have exceeded their credit limit.
Help your business get paid faster by optimizing your payment workflow with a B2B eCommerce portal. With online payments set up on your portal, your customers can pay you instantly on your site with a credit card. Now, your business can manage and track each customer’s payment status through your B2B eCommerce portal.
To prevent your customers from owing you too much money, you can set predetermined credit limits on your customers’ accounts. Your business can then control how much credit your customers can owe you without providing payment for their orders. Once your customers exceed their credit limit, they are unable to buy on the portal until they make payment for their previous orders.
4. Improve Your Inventory Management Accuracy And Efficiency
There is nothing worse than accepting a customer’s order and then finding out you cannot fulfill it due to an out-of-stock situation.
Without real-time access to customers' order information, it is challenging for a business to anticipate customer demand for their products accurately. As such, companies often make mistakes when predicting how much inventory they need, consequently leading to excess stock or out-of-stock situations.
With a B2B eCommerce portal, your business can track and have real-time access to accurate inventory level. By monitoring your customers’ orders in real time, your production team can take quick action to replenish stock when it is running low. This helps to improve your business’s organizational efficiencyand reduces your supply chain costs.
As you grow your business over time, you can use your customers' real-time order data to analyze demand and plan for future production needs.
How Does B2B eCommerce Benefit Your Customers?
5. Empower Your Customers
B2B customers often experience difficulty placing orders for their business. In order to find out about the latest product catalog or prices, they would have to call or email the company within their fixed working hours. For customers who work in a different time zone than their suppliers, making orders and having their queries answered often takes a long time. Without any self-service application in place, customers are reliant on sales reps to manage or change their orders or stay up-to-date on any changes to the product catalog and prices.
With a B2B eCommerce portal, your customers now have an online store which they can access 24/7. They can order your products at their own time and own pace without being restricted to your company’s office hours. They can avoid being pressured by salespeople and order at their convenience.
Furthermore, a digital platform makes ordering more accessible for your customers. On a single platform, they can view your latest product catalog and price list and instantly make their orders. They no longer have to waste time waiting for your salespeople to answer their phone calls or have lengthy email conversations to place orders.
6. Easily Track Order Status And History
One pain point faced by B2B buyers is difficulty tracking order status and order history. To find out the latest update on the status of their order, they have to waste time making costly calls to their suppliers.
With a B2B eCommerce portal, your customers have all their order details at their fingertips. They can access their current order details, order history, and account information; anytime and anywhere they need to. Your customers can save time on calling your sales team for order inquiries or browsing through their email history to check their order history.
7. Pay With Flexible Payment Methods
Often, B2B customers have a difficult time making payments for their orders. Some businesses only accept specific payment methods which are time-consuming for customers to complete the transactions or are not readily available to them.
Furthermore, it is difficult for customers to track if they have made their payments. Thus, they would not make their payments unless their supplier reminds or chase them to complete it.
With a B2B eCommerce portal, your business can allow your customers to pay for their orders with more payment methods such as credit cards and ACH. Furthermore, customers can track their payments using their online customer account and check when they need to pay for their orders.
Convinced that selling with B2B eCommerce can bring your business to greater heights? At Sweet, our dedicated B2B eCommerce portal can help you meet the demanding needs of your B2B customers. Request a free demo today and let us work together to take your B2B business to the next level.