“Start selling online.”
It started as a whisper in the late nineties. That whisper turned into chatter, and now it’s practically being shouted from rooftops: START SELLING ONLINE.
Still, many businesses aren’t doing it. They have good reasons, of course, but as technology advances, those good reasons aren’t as good as they used to be.
We believe that selling online is the absolute best thing you can do to drastically improve customer satisfaction, increase sales and streamline processes. Let us give you 5 good reasons why e-commerce definitely has a place in your business.
Reason 1: Expansion
For starters, selling online enables you to provide excellent service with minimal man-hours. Time saved with e-commerce can then be invested in growing your business via outbound sales and marketing, for instance, which will help you generate more revenue in the long term.
Automate sales tactics
Another great thing about starting an online business is that it allows you to automate cross-selling and upselling, and implement predictive ordering. Using these sales tactics online means you can quickly and easily let your customers know about related products and create a new need for products they may not have been interested in initially. Research shows that cross-selling and upselling results in significantly higher order value.
Reason 2: Personalization
Successful B2B companies provide their clients with personalized product catalogs and pricing that matches their specific trade agreements. Figuring out the best way to approach this kind of customer-specific pricing and assortment, however, can be a challenge.
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Give every client exactly what they need
The modern, customer-friendly way to do this is to create an online environment for clients where they can access their personal order history and unique pricing. Such an environment is easy to set up in an integrated web store based on your ERP. It’s a simple solution that makes a big difference in solving day-to-day challenges in an effective and innovative way.
An ERP-integrated web store will also help you implement personalized marketing strategies. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic and its role in your business, check out our blog posts on personalized content marketing, smart content and personalized email marketing.
Reason 3: Lower support costs
A B2B online sales portal saves your business money by functioning as an information portal for customers.
Your e-commerce system can easily answer all of your clients’ questions about which sizes, colors, and quantities you have in stock, as well as queries about special bulk discounts.
Get even more out of your ERP
It’s also a good idea to set up your system to provide information regarding other frequently asked questions, such as product part availability and maintenance requests. If your web store is integrated with your ERP, you can use the logic that’s already there directly in your web store.
Imagine all of the time and money you’ll save by not having to answer these kinds of questions by phone or email!
Reason 4: Efficiency and accuracy
Does your order process still rely on manual processing?
Then your company is spending a lot of unnecessary time and money on a time-consuming process that is vulnerable to human error. Launching an online store that is integrated with your ERP system takes order processing out of the hands of your sales team.
Starting an e-commerce business is vital to fully unleashing the potential of your sales representatives.
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Provide key information in real-time
When your web store is built inside your ERP, it is able to transfer data seamlessly back and forth. As a result, orders placed in your web store appear automatically in your ERP.
It works the other way around as well. Orders placed in a store, via telephone, or on the location are also directly available in your online store. If it’s in the ERP, it can be made available in your web store. That means your sales agent can create and save a quote while speaking to a client on the phone. The client can then view it, adjust it, approve it, and even turn it into order immediately.
Not only does this save your company operational time, but it also improves the reliability of order information, optimizes the efficiency of your sales department, and paves the way to better customer service.
Reason 5: 24/7 business
Good businesses put their clients first, and that means it’s important for your clients to be able to place their orders however they like – whether it’s by phone, fax, email, or online. But don’t you also want to give customers the opportunity to order whenever they like?
The easiest way to provide this service is with a web store. It will enable your company to provide customer-specific prices and products at any time of day (or night), and it will make your business available 24/7. Experiences from our B2B customers show that they actually sell more outside of office hours.
Make sales Around the Clock — Case Study
The 24/7 nature of e-commerce benefits businesses just as much as clients. Pelican Rouge a Selecta brand and global coffee supplier that serves 7 million coffee lovers every day, is a great example of this. They were contacting 40,000 customers by phone every month, and they were missing out on a lot of sales as many customers were unable to place orders during office hours.
They saw countless benefits, however, soon after launching their integrated web store. 24/7 service and automated order processing let customers place orders outside office hours, and even on weekends. Their ERP, Dynamics AX, supplies all of the product data and calculates costs, so order accuracy is ensured.
After reading this, you might have some questions about online business. What kind of investment will selling online require? How much time will it take? Will your customers even order online??
We have a wealth of resources to help you tackle these issues and learn how to start selling online. You could start by having a look at our article on B2B E-Commerce Myths (and How to Get Past Them).
We also have plenty of success stories from companies who have already made the leap and joined the e-commerce movement. If you have any questions about getting started or would like some advice, we’d be happy to help.