This week I had the pleasure of interviewing an e-commerce manager at a B2B wholesale company, specialized in safety and lighting products. Read her story and discover how you can grow your wholesale business with a B2B e-commerce strategy.
Michiel Schipperus: What were the main reasons for your company to invest in B2B e-commerce?
E-Commerce Manager: “As an international wholesale company, we invested in B2B e-commerce because it provides us with the possibility to expand further and quickly improve our business. For example, we are continuously looking for ways to increase the international sales department’s efficiency, combined with an easy way to enter new markets. Having an online sales portal available worldwide allows us to scale up and expand our sales efforts without growing our team.”
MS: Can you explain how B2B e-commerce lets you expand your sales efforts without growing your team?
E-Commerce Manager: “Having an online sales channel enables us to sell in countries where we do not yet have a significant sales force. We found that even in areas where we already had a local sales team, e-commerce made their jobs easier and increased their effectiveness. Adding online capabilities helped prepare our company to grow our reach.
For example, dealing with international shipping costs is no longer complicated because our web store has incorporated fixed shipping costs based on the information in our SAP ERP. In addition, we have seen drop shipment become more popular. For us, B2B e-commerce is the answer to adapting to our changing market.”
MS: How do you see the market changing?
E-Commerce Manager: “Within our market, and also within the complete B2B industry, ordering by fax and phone is on the wane. Customers in both B2B and B2C businesses expect online capabilities from their suppliers. Not only to be able to order online, but also to inform customers about the products that they have to offer.
Our catalog encompasses thousands of products, so providing this information online with the right custom prices is a very important step in better serving our customers. In our opinion, this one of the biggest challenges when it comes to being successful in B2B e-commerce.”
MS: Has B2B e-commerce provided you with a way to expand your sales while improving your efficiency and service to your customers?
E-Commerce Manager: “Yes, definitely. Of course B2B e-commerce success is an ongoing challenge, but being more efficient, selling more, and adapting to the changing market are definitely our main advantages of selling online.”
MS: What was your biggest challenge when implementing your e-commerce project?
E-Commerce Manager: “Given the size of our catalog, we thought our biggest task was going to be organizing all the product information. With Sana Commerce’s ERP-centric methodology, we were able to combine the convenience of our e-commerce web store with the power of our SAP ERP data.
All of our product information and customer specific-prices stored in SAP were funneled directly to our web store. This made Sana Commerce a very pragmatic solution for us to build our online sales channel.”
Ready to Grow Your Business?
E-Commerce can help wholesale, distribution and manufacturing companies thrive in a changing market. Download your free ebook and find out how you can scale up and improve your business with a B2B web store.
12 March, 2015