For some B2B companies, ecommerce can be a good way to streamline the sales process, and introduce new clients without the salesforce having to do as much legwork. While it isn't an option if your services are highly bespoke, if you sell out of the box products or services that a client can order without the need for one of your sales team to work with them to define specifics and prepare a quote, then having an online sales system can be a useful and productive new route to market, that can enable new customers to buy from your unassisted, or can perhaps allow for easy online reordering once a client account has already been established.
If you are looking to add ecommerce to your B2B sales strategy in 2016, then you will need to market your new ecommerce website, in order to help your clients find and use it. You will also need to find a platform that integrates well with your existing IT applications. Here are some tips on getting started:
Use a Solution That Works with SAP
If you currently use SAP as your ERP solution to run your business, then having an ecommerce solution that is SAP standard and requires no integration will remove a lot of the complexity from adding a new ecommerce layer both to your business processes and your IT. SAP ecommerce allows you a lot of flexibility, while giving you a branded, custom interface across multiple touchpoints.
Identify Your Audience and Product Range
You may intuitively think that your established product range and target market will be the same for your ecommerce. However, that may not necessarily be the best approach. Can you use ecommerce to reach a new audience? Do you want to launch it for your existing customers first? Can all of your products or services be sold this way? Are there any new offerings you can promote using your ecommerce site? All of these are things to think about in your launch strategy.
What Is the Marketing Message?
One of the key things to think about before launching or even going ahead with developing your ecommerce site is how the marketing messages around it will tie in with your overall strategy for marketing. You will be looking at SEO and potentially online advertising to promote the new ecommerce facilities. You will be pushing ecommerce to your existing customers, but how? Does marketing that currently points to your website need to be changed to direct people to your ecommerce? Will your direct marketing personnel need any additional training to spread the message about your new site? These are just some of the questions that will help you move in the right direction towards a cohesive marketing plan that will allow you to promote the new ecommerce facilities in harmony with your other planned marketing work.
Launching ecommerce for your B2B business can be a great move, but make sure you've put the planning effort in ahead of taking the leap!