"E-commerce opportunity is evolving fast, but only 25% of B2B marketers are taking advantage of it, according to a 2012 Oracle study. Time for another look."
So what are the e-commerce success factors for business marketers as they look to take advantage of these opportunities? Here are some tips:
Review your customer segments and product lines for e-commerce potential. Small and medium business customers may be a perfect fit. Same for high-volume, repetitive-sales product categories, like replacement parts or warranty renewals.Examine your sales and marketing process for elements that can be automated with e-commerce technology. Look at quote management, contract pricing, channel partner support, purchase order processing, order approvals, cross sell and upsell, licensing, renewals, reactivation, winback—there are more than you may think.Select software that was built specifically for the complexity of business markets. Companies that buy consumer solutions and try adding B2B capabilities will quickly be frustrated.Select software that provides consumer-like e-commerce functionality. Ease of use is the competitive watchword today, according to Forrester’s recent study “Thrive by Adopting Proven B2C Principles.”Make sure you connect your e-commerce with your existing accounting, manufacturing and other systems. Xiameter customers, for example, get their order confirmation, shipping notices and invoices out of Dow Corning’s SAP, which also communicates with the manufacturing plants to get the order produced.Consider using cloud-based suppliers, where you can get up and running in less than a month, and leave the technology to someone else. Rainmaker Systems offers not only dedicated “sales assist” from its call center, they will even deal with their clients on a revenue-share basis.Remember that e-commerce is global by definition. So look for technology that offers multiple languages and currencies, and supports tax and customer compliance.
The third wave of e-commerce is all about bringing emotional purchases online. Non-commodity products. More thoughtful purchase decisions. I like to call this Emotional Commerce. This is categories like furniture, home accessories, home textiles, fashion, art, and jewelry. These are categories where people care about having something special in their lives.
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