eCommerce – are you as good at it as you think you are?

Could a unified strategy help your business out of its B2B eCommerce hole?

We all know that B2B buyers have increasingly high expectations when it comes to making eCommerce purchases. I know that I personally expect a simple and smooth experience, which – to be frank - not all B2B eCommerce businesses are currently able to deliver.

When I deal with a supplier online I expect my engagement, or shopping experience, to be relevant and personalised. I expect to be able to view my order history and check my order status easily. My customer account should allow me to order quickly from my saved product lists, see outstanding and available balances, and pay invoices online.

I have found that many of the common problems faced by B2B businesses can be eliminated by unifying your approach. Grab a coffee, and ponder the business benefits of doing it right.

1. Feel the customer love

The easier it is to make purchases on your eCommerce site, the more likely it is that your B2B customers will return, time and time again. And as business people, we know that’s got to be good for your bottom line.

Today’s customers don’t have the time to buy from a company whose processes are just too complex or clumsy. And when you improve your customers’ experience, you’ll also encourage greater loyalty to your brand. This also has the bonus of increasing word-of-mouth recommendations, which will grow your business without you having to spend so much on marketing costs. What’s not to love in that strategy?

2. Out-think your competitors

If all your processes, from manufacturing through to distribution to customer and service management, are covered under the same unified approach, you'll be able to clearly identify vital insights. With these insights, you’ll be able to:

  1. Better inform your budgeting decisions, so you can streamline your business
  2. Use your new understanding of what all the elements of your business are doing at any one time to gain greater cohesion and control, maximise productivity and enable you to track your ROI more efficiently
  3. Highlight which areas of your business need greater (or less) investment
  4. Show you the ways in which you need to adapt your eCommerce strategy to stay ahead in an ever-evolving marketplace.

3. Show your customers the love!

It’s a universal truth that the better you know your customers, the easier it is to make them really, really happy.

ECommerce offers an advantage over other types of business in that it makes it easier to understand your customers, if you know how to track their behaviour. This is much simpler to do if you have a unified approach. You can put systems in place that show you every part of the customer journey – where your sales are coming from, which products are selling particularly well, and what the needs of your customers are.

Understanding your customers has a huge number of advantages when it comes to growing a successful eCommerce business. Firstly, it enables you to adjust your stock levels. This means you avoid wastage and you can negotiate more advantageous contracts with your suppliers and distributors, saving your business money from the outset. In addition, it has a huge impact on your marketing efforts. Understanding your target audience will allow your marketing team to market more efficiently. Rather than wasting time and money with an inefficient shotgun approach – and attracting interest from people who will only ever be tyre-kickers - you only target and engage with the people you know can be converted into great customers.

This also enables you to improve the buying experience for your customers as you can offer them the products they really want, and make sure the buying process is smooth and stress-free. The easier your customers find it to engage with you the more likely they are to return to your business. And when your customers feel the love, they stay loyal, and your ROI goes up.

So, how can you unify your eCommerce strategy?

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to unify your eCommerce strategy is to use a cloud-based system that has everything including CRM, Financials, Supply Chain Management and ECommerce in the one integrated business solution – all delivered via a storefront that has been created for multi brands, languages and currencies on a single eCommerce platform.

NetSuite enables small businesses to compete with much larger corporations by offering a complete system for streamlining business and unifying all your processes. This innovative, cloud-based software also incorporates dedicated ERP, CRM and eCommerce systems, so you can accurately track stock, monitor customer behaviour and stay on top of your sales, all from one single view.
To really ‘do right’ by your customers, you will be able to tailor each buying experience with customised pricing, terms and credit limits, channel or volume discounts, offering a customer engagement that is relevant and personalised.

With NetSuite, you can meet the expectations of your B2B customers at every stage. You’ll show them understanding and love, outthink your not-so-savvy competitors, and reap the rewards of having customers who show their love for you every time they click ‘Buy Now’.

Lisa Nicks

Fusion5 | ERP Sales Manager NZ



Great outcomes start with great conversations