A lot of people perceive the online B2B eCommerce platforms solely as an order acquisition tool. In fact, these systems offer much more. They provide self-service capabilities for customers, allow merchants to execute sales strategy and provide data to understand market needs.
B2B platform self-service modules
Self-service capabilities result in less time used on addressing repetitive requests for information such as: “What is my credit limit?” or “What is the expected delivery time for my last order?”
Limiting these types of interactions generates time savings which can be instead used to run activities related to relationship building and direct sales.
Self-service modules examples:
- New customer registration (may include automated verification of legal entity, cross-checked with existing CRM data etc..)
- Access management
- Order tracking
- Shipping tracking
- Access to account receivables (credit limit vs used limit, payment history, invoices overdue, etc..)
- Contract information (allocated products vs ordered products, discounts, trade terms, logistics terms)
- Dedicated pricelists and discount rules
- Access to documents (invoices, shipping slips, customs etc.)
- Product information (basic product info, detailed product documentation, certificates, high-resolution photos to be used in consumer channel, substitutions, product lifecycle information, etc..)
- Marketing and sales information (ability to order display products, coming soon products, promotion information)
- Claims and support workflow
- Offer generator for customers of the ordering customer (B2B2B model)
- Custom reporting module
In most of our implementations, the B2B platform is also used by Sales Representatives to act on behalf of their customers. The limitation of a number of tools boosts efficiency and allows for a closer interaction with a customer.
B2B e-commerce driving sales
A proper B2B platform can as boost sales thanks to mechanisms like:
- Whitespace customer registration (may include automated verification of legal entity, cross-checked with existing CRM data, etc..)
- Recommendation engines
- Subscription based ordering
- AI powered order maximization engine (maximize order while maintaining the same logistics cost)
- Dynamic promotions based on current stock levels
B2B e-commerce as a data-gathering tool
Not to be under-estimated B2B platform is also a great source of data on customer behavior and needs (for example analysis of search queries can reveal gaps in the offering).
A proper B2B platform is much more than an order acquisition tool. It allows any business to acquire and grow customers from the areas that are not served by any on-ground salesperson.