One of the biggest challenges for any company is how to reduce costs and it is even more difficult to do so without harming customer service, especially in the B2B model. In order to stand out in the current scenario, it is necessary to generate savings in sales management since this will not only help us to guarantee an increase in profit but also in competitiveness, since the company can offer more competitive prices to the market.
However, consulting with suppliers is not enough to reduce acquisition costs, in order to optimize future purchasing processes and reduce these costs in transactions, it is necessary to make a change in the sales model, ceasing to depend on the model. traditional based on vendors and limited hours, by a new model with the ability to operate 24/7. With the ability to generate customer loyalty by providing you with a quick and easy shopping experience. A digital commerce platform can significantly reduce order processing costs by prompting self-service orders, easier quote management, and assisted selling - these are some of the elements that the B2B eCommerce model offers.
To help you in this process, the idea is to expose you some of the most important characteristics that a B2B eCommerce platform should have in order to reduce costs, at the same time that it helps to increase sales as it will improve the customer experience, this will help you in principle to increase customer retention, which according to a study by Amy Gallo of Harward Business Review, which says that by improving the customer experience it is very likely to increase the retention rate of the same by 5 percent and this translates to an increase in profits of 25 to 95 percent.
To achieve this, then what should be those elements that the B2B eCommerce platform must have to achieve it:
Next, we analyze the most important components of a B2B eCommerce and their customization:
- Catalogs and lists
- Marketing (promotions and commercialization)
The areas that impact these elements and how they favor the business are considered.
For the B2B customer, everything revolves around finding the correct information without having to review thousands of SKUs and other data that are irrelevant to their work, they need that searches be reduced only to the products and services that are relevant to them. They also need all the supporting content such as specifications, manuals, electrical diagrams, environmental conditions, among many others.
Personalization is incredibly important due to the volume of searches that customers must perform within the purchase cycle. The bottom line is this: The ability to personalize the search experience for each unique customer adds tremendous value by reducing the amount of time spent searching for relevant information. Also, it is incredibly important to only show the products available to them and presented within the conditions of the contract they have in force with the supplier. Therefore, instead of doing a broad search, B2B buyers often require custom catalogs or use lists to create orders.
Catalogs and lists
While an expert marketer can browse through all the company's catalogs, B2B customers need to be able to easily find only the specific products that meet their needs. Often, a custom B2B catalog is the most valuable part of the B2B commerce experience.
Managing multiple identifiers like part number, SKUs, codes, and other data can make the self-service process easier for customers, as they have many ways to find what they are looking for. Also, you should be provided with the most accurate data possible about product information, delivery logistics, inventory counts, and necessary complementary products or services, among others. Also, similar products and recommendations.
B2B purchasing managers are not the only roles to benefit from custom catalogs. Sales agents could use mobile devices to find product information and generate orders on behalf of the customer. On the other hand, the histories, the ability to find relevant information during the post-purchase experience can also generate more income.
In many ways, list management within B2B is about creating mini catalogs that support not just buyers, but sales and even teams in a workplace. Custom lists can be created to increase the efficiency of new orders. Lists can be added to each stage of the buying cycle and distributed according to the business rules that exist for purchase approvals, total purchase, contracted vendors, locations, or other factors.
While everyone wants to think that pricing is getting simplified, the fact is that pricing is getting more complicated within the manufacturing and distribution industries. This is because the competition is getting more intense. Each individual product item could end up with a different price or margin depending on what the market dictates. Custom pricing reflects the pricing agreements within each contract, helps with complex calculations that follow established business rules, and provides quick pricing for customers, allowing them to self-service on a B2B platform. When it comes to sales, custom pricing also provides correct pricing and contract information.
Custom prices need to be available for many roles within the B2B buying cycle beyond sales. B2B buyers may need to compare commodity prices between different vendors. Additionally, they may have strict approval rules that limit the amount of a total transaction or indicate a maximum price per item. Customer service representatives and sales agents may also need to provide price quotes. To the extent possible, an e-commerce system should automate pricing mechanisms and provide a transparent view of pricing that is customized to the needs of each function in the purchasing process.
It is key to remember when it comes to customizing your order management capabilities, you need to be able to save all historical customer order data as today's B2B commerce is a hybrid experience. Customer buying scenarios can vary even for the same item, sometimes ordering that item through the seller or a customer service representative at a later stage in the buying process.
Customization of the ordering process is an area where large reductions in the cost of sales and service can be achieved if done effectively. Additionally, you can increase customer loyalty by ensuring that only relevant information such as order history, invoices, easy reorders, and shipment tracking are presented. Additionally, specific payment terms must be applied to future orders, and those terms could be further customized based on the role of the person placing the order. A field service technician, for example, may only be able to order parts that are relevant to his job or even the maintenance visit that is taking place at the time.
Regardless of the roles involved, or if the order is placed through self-service or through the traditional channel, displaying the relevant data of the order within an e-commerce platform is essential to increase orders, decrease the cost of sales and make logistics are as efficient as possible.
Finally, it must have the ability to offer different payment options such as credit, credit card, bank transfer, financing, among others, as well as volume discounts.
Marketing (promotions and commercialization)
One way to increase sales per customer and generate more revenue is to take advantage of promotional and marketing opportunities during the buying cycle. For promotions, it involves suggesting discounts on items that have significant relevance to that particular buyer. Those promotions may still need to be performed based on contractual rules and based on information from other sources. Unlike B2C promotions, these tactics are highly specialized to meet the needs of the roles involved in the transaction. It is less about "add-ons" and more about providing product information that enables the customer to do their job more efficiently.
Marketing in B2B commerce is equally complex and must also be done based on existing business rules and the needs of the roles involved. Cross-selling and up-selling within B2B generally involves offering accessories, installation items, or other products that are necessary to do the job at hand. That is why marketing must be personalized so that any transaction involves offering all required goods and services, even if the buyer is unaware of those needs.
Although it may seem like a minor point, the approval process within B2B purchasing scenarios can be quite complex. We have mentioned that approvals can be different depending on the customer and also depending on the functions involved in a particular transaction. Custom approval means, for example, that a purchasing supervisor can log into a manufacturer or reseller portal and set rules for each specific buyer in the organization. In addition to delivering only relevant data, this customization means that the e-commerce system allows them to manage the data and the people involved in the purchasing process. Personalization of the approval process also occurs both during purchase and during post-purchase activities such as service calls.
Custom approvals help make every function within the purchasing process more efficient, from procurement to sales, and also ensure that orders are fulfilled. An e-commerce system should provide customer-specific administrative access that helps everyone shop within the terms of the contract and ensures that all orders are approved in accordance with the underlying business rules. This reduces the need for paper forms or other laborious manual processes and consequently also reduces the cost of sales.
B2B eCommerce is not just about personalizing content; goes beyond the content and is even more about the characteristics and functionalities of the platform, there are few platforms that have the capacity to solve all the characteristics that we have just described, in fact Magento Commerce is one of the few platforms available in the world. market and affordable cost that can help you implement a new sales model.