Remember what it was like to sell products back in the day? You had to create some form of product catalog, pay to have it printed, pay to send it out. You had to do things like cold-calling or going door-to-door. Everything was done on paper; piles and piles of paper. Then you had to enter the data from all those papers onto a computer, create invoices and packing slips. You had to deposit checks at the bank and keep books. There were giant filing cabinets everywhere with folders upon folders of information. It was a long, drawn out process.
Things are definitely simpler nowadays. Your company or organization probably uses an ERP and databases to be more efficient, as opposed to paper and telephones. Many processes are now automated using computer software. People can phone in or fax their orders. But what if this process can be made even more efficient? It can be by using an integrated eCommerce solution.
B2B eCommerce has around for a little while now and more and more companies are getting on board. Did you know that B2B Commerce is growing with each passing year? In 2015, Forrester projected that by 2020, B2B eCommerce sales in the US will surpass 1.1 trillion dollars. Yes, you read that right: 1.1 TRILLION. B2B buyers use the Internet a lot to research products. If your organization isn’t there, it’s missing out.
Why is B2B eCommerce growing? For the same reasons its B2C counterpart did; it’s fast, easy and efficient. Buyers like to shop online because they can get it all done in one place. They can look up product specifications, read reviews, get real-time information of inventory and place an order. In some cases, they are also paying for that order right away. There’s no flipping through pages upon pages of catalogs, calling the company to get more information, faxing in an order sheet and waiting for an invoice. They crave the B2C experience for their B2B needs.
What’s the best way that companies are taking advantage of this new trend? By investing in eCommerce solutions that integrate with their existing ERPs. With an integrated solution, you further reduce your overhead by eliminating the need to enter data from one system into the other. You avoid errors and cancellations on orders because the web store is pulling and updating inventory directly from your ERP. With a solid initial investment in a reputable integrated eCommerce solution, you can expect a healthy ROI because it will be an extension of what your business already does. You’ll just be selling over a new, more diverse channel. You owe it to your B2B business to stay competitive and relevant in today’s world.