When considering the B2B ecommerce boom, we are often pointed in the direction of Alibaba. This B2B internet giant, larger even than Amazon and eBay combined, with gross merchandise value of $27.28 billion currently, is expected to grow by 11% by 2020. Big numbers. And we can assume that Alibaba is enjoying the best systems that money can buy. Integrated, customer-focused ecommerce that allows them to dominate. They have millions of customers to keep sweet with better deals, better service. But most B2B companies aren’t in this range. Paul Dorey, MD of Aspidistra Ltd, the developers of the leading Sage-integrated ecommerce platform said: “Obviously most B2B companies aren’t in the league of Alibaba, they run on a tight budget and are strapped for man-hours. The savings they can make are certainly welcome on the bottom line, but it is in the enhanced customer experience that B2B comes into its own.
Seasonality, high demand times, out-of-hours, all these are times when there might not be enough people on the ground to deal with customers immediately, which can damage a company’s reputation and efficiency.
Aspidistra’s system is one that can support growth through integration. Because it is totally integrated into a company’s Sage system, be that 50, 200 or 1000, it is exactly the right platform to enable a company to support their customers” One of Aspidistra’s clients illustrates the difference perfectly: this client is a national organisation that sells plumbing parts to their customer base of plumbers and engineers. As far as the engineers are concerned, time is money. They don’t want to hang around – they just want to locate the part, order it, and know that it will be delivered where and when they want it. The last thing these people want to do is have a nice chat with a friendly customer service rep.
In just a few months from going live, the new site is providing precisely what the customers want and need, and as a result it’s even boosted sales. Paul said: “Our customer realised that their customer needed this service, and they have implemented it. I am convinced that they are well ahead of the curve, because when you look at their competitors many of them have no ecommerce offering.” “Although the trends are all pointing in the right direction for a B2B boom, I believe that much of the growth is going to be driven by companies wanting to do the right thing by their customers. The more we talk to our customers, the more we understand their world, the better we can serve them.
“Moreover, when taking into account the transformation of the sales experience for B2B customers, particularly at high-peak times, one can easily see why B2B commerce is on a roll, and from that start, it’s inevitable that greater profitability will follow.” Sources: http://www.forbes.com/sites/sarwantsingh/2014/11/06/b2b-ecommerce-market-worth-6-7-trillion-by-2020/
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