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“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” –Peter Drucker This is the story of how e-commerce can help you increase efficiency by freeing you up to focus on the right things.
Orders placed through your web store take only a fraction of the time to process compared to orders from traditional channels, which require manual processing. Selling online can save your company a lot of time, especially if the online orders are automatically sent to your ERP system.
Another issue that can eat up a lot of your time is dealing with out-of-stock items. Customers placing orders offline don’t have access to accurate inventory information. They also run the risk of ordering products that can’t be delivered on time. As a result, your sales reps often have to reach out and ask if the client would like to order alternative products or wait until your inventory is replenished.
But this isn’t a problem if you sell through an online storefront. If you integrate your web store with your ERP, your clients have direct insight into accurate inventory levels and you’ll never have to run out of stock again.
Letting clients place orders directly in your online sales portal minimizes the risk of miscommunication. Why? Because you’ve phased out the most error-prone steps in the ordering process.
With online sales, your customer support or sales support employee no longer has to copy order information into your ERP or administration system by hand. This kind of manual processing often causes mistakes that can be expensive and time-consuming, such as shipment return errors.
Customers can easily find the answer to most of their questions if you have a B2B web store. According to research by the Acquity Group 71% of B2B buyers prefer to conduct their own online research before contacting a sales rep.
An online sales portal that integrates with your ERP system offers all product information like (customer-specific) pricing and up-to-date inventory levels. If you don’t have a web store with a real-time connection to your ERP, your clients have to call or email you for all their questions. This alone makes adding an online sales portal to your business a big win for efficiency.
When you start selling online, you’re making all relevant product information available at one location, anytime and anywhere. Just as Justin King mentions in his blog about the benefits of B2B e-commerce, an online sales portal soon becomes a convenient tool for everybody in the organization. It lets them look up product information, prices, product images, inventory levels and more.
If you do this right, your sales colleagues will embrace the web store as an essential knowledge center. And by the way — if they love it, chances are they will promote it among your client base, leading to better adoption and more efficiency. It’s that simple.
Once the B2B web store is up and running, sales reps have instant access to all product information, prices and inventory data. But they can also view information concerning customers’ order history, possible outstanding amounts and frequently ordered products. Using all this information in meetings with customers helps your employees work much more effectively, such as by making more specific on-the-spot product suggestions based on previous orders.
Additionally, any order clients place with the sales rep can be processed directly in the sales portal, which then displays customer-specific pricing and takes their particular ordering conditions into account. And if your CSRs are visiting a client location with no internet connectivity, they can simply use our mobile app designed specifically for sales reps — which also works offline.
There’s more to maintaining efficient sales processes — and more benefits. Curious to see how a fully integrated online sales channel can help your clients and your business? Download your free copy of our white paper and discover why selling online is the key to success for B2B companies.
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Yes, B2B e-commerce can be this easy.