As with any other piece of business software, success with your b2b ecommerce platform comes from doing more than simply buying it. Success is dependent on many things from selecting the proper solution, all the way through project planning, implementation, training, and how you manage your b2b ecommerce strategy in the future. Here are some of the common mistakes companies make that keep them from seeing success in their ecommerce investment.
1. Not thinking of integration first. Many companies will not think their decision all the way though and end up with a platform that does not tie into other important systems such as their accounting or CRM systems. This causes serious problems. Why? Here are some problems you will run into if you DO NOT have a B2B ecommerce platform that ties into your other systems:
- You will need to re-enter orders from your ecommerce site into your accounting/ERP system
- Customer info not synced between ecommerce and ERP
- Pricing and account history not synced with ERP system
- Customers who order on your ecommerce site cannot see negotiated pricing.
- Shipping costs cannot be calculated and tracked online
2. Ignoring the importance of customer experience. Even B2B buyers care about their shopping experience. B2b ecommerce in the past was clunky and hard to use, new b2b ecommerce platforms have become the ultimate tool to make your b2b customer’s experience on your site fast and easy so they can quickly make their purchases. If your customers have a hard time on your site they will either leave it and buy from another supplier, or they will call you for their order (not a terrible thing, but didn’t you implement ecommerce so they wouldn’t have to?). Be sure that, when shopping for your B2B ecommerce platform, you are keeping the end user in mind- would you shop on your site?
3. Basing decisions off of price, not product. “you get what you pay for” does not always apply. Yes, 9 times out of 10, paying next to nothing will get you next to nothing, but paying the premium price does not automatically get you everything you want and need. This is a strategic business decision, It is going to be an investment, but this investment will bring you a serious ROI if done correctly. so always make your choices based on the needs of your specific business and processes; never count custom ecommerce out as an option either. Buying a system that almost covers your needs won’t last in the long run- so if you cant find it, have it built for you.
4. Putting the decision and project in the hands of a single department. There is a reason democracy works- putting the choice in the hands of a single department is good for that department, but what about the rest of the company? by having a team made up of members from around the organization ensures that the solution meets the needs of the entire organization. A solid team might include the following:
- Product Manager (s)
- Marketing Manager
- Sales Manager
- IT staff
- Accounting department
5. Thinking B2B ecommerce and B2C ecommerce are two entirely separate entities. While it is true that B2B companies and B2C companies operate in different markets, B2B ecommerce and B2B buyers are largely influenced by our experience as B2C shoppers. In fact, Oracle conducted an online interview that spoke to this and of those respondents, 80% said customer expectations are a result of B2C retail practices. Choose a platform built for B2B’s but allows for a B2C-like customer experience. For additional information on the important similarities and differences between B2B and B2C ecommerce, and why they matter to you, read this white paper.
6. Assuming your customers won’t dump you for a competitor with a better ecommerce platform. Just because your customers have been with you for years, or because you are really good at what you do does not mean you are safe from the competition.A study from Acquity Group found that 71% said of B2B buyers responded saying that they would leave their current supplier if they found a new supplier with identical pricing if they had a supplier with an option to buy online and if the site was fast and easy to use.
For more tips on making a smart B2B ecommerce investment, check out our free guide to B2B ecommerce buying, download it here.