The current boom and predicted rise in b2b ecommerce is well documented, but for many businesses, it’s been part of their channel mix for some time. The problem is, a lot of legacy ecommerce platforms are rudimentary and have limited capabilities compared to the latest systems – and that could be holding back companies who now need to prioritise their online customer offering to stay competitive.
In the past, b2b buyers have generally placed their orders with sales teams – on the phone, at the trade counter, in face-to-face meetings or at trade shows. But with the growth in b2b ecommerce, that’s all changed. Today, b2b customers want an omnichannel experience where they can choose how they engage with the seller’s business, just like they enjoy in their everyday role as b2c consumers. And increasingly, their preference is for doing business online. Sellers must therefore be able to provide a seamless customer experience across all channels.
As b2b companies look to update their ecommerce technology in order to fully capitalise on these new sales opportunities, they face the challenge of implementing a fully-featured, cost efficient platform that supports both their operational needs and the expectations of their customers. This is where effective integration of their ecommerce platform with business and accounting systems like Sage has a crucial part to play.
With the right ecommerce platform, b2b sellers can simplify their operations and reduce the cost of dealing with customers by standardising and automating ordering and reordering processes. And they can enhance customer service with account-specific products, pricing, promotions and payment options, as well as the facility to order at anytime from anywhere. This technology also frees up time for sales reps, allowing them to focus on cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, while customer service staff can take a more proactive sales role rather than simply fielding calls for orders.
A successful omnichannel approach is dependant on an ecommerce platform that’s fully integrated with back office systems in order to consolidate and synchronise activities across online and offline channels. This kind of integration provides buyers with the real-time information they need to make online purchases – and it gives b2b sellers increased visibility of all customer interactions and transactions so they can make better-informed strategic decisions.