It does happen that companies contacting us to create a B2B e-commerce are sometimes more focused on the “technological means” (platform, e-commerce software) than on the whole project vision.
Below some advice we can provide, based on our experience while accompanying customers in their B2B e-commerce sales digitalization itinerary.
The Sales Channel
- Carefully define the markets we mean to approach: when online, the whole world can potentionally see us, so our offer targets must be clear, as these will impact on the geography where we can distribute/deliver our products as well as on the modes, times, languages, timetables and legislation, if we are dealing with international customers
- Create a communication and promotion plan, coherent with objectives: we must communicate our current and future customers the existence of the new channel and promote it by digital means (Ads, DEM, Social…) and by traditional ones, including Sales force, when present in the target territory
- Customer Service: decide modes and tools (chat, chatbot, e-mail, telephone…) by means of which customers will be able to contact us or request assistance (a Customer Service, the Commercial reference persons in charge…)
The Business Model
- Define the pricing policies to be adopted on the digital channel
- Assess the promotion typologies (automatic or not) available to customers shopping online, compared to complementary sales channels
- Define management process of the orders which will arrive, how they will be processed and potential credit allowed: direct to Head Office, negotiated by the Area Manager in charge of the customer, approving workflow for orders from certain customers or for certain amounts
- Organize delivery logistics and therefore the geographical areas and delivery dates available in B2B by product typology and customer
- Organize the B2B channel product assortments by customer or customer cluster
- Optimize the taxonomy and hierarchy of the product data to facilitate online “self-service” purchase and increase products attractiveness on the basis of their attributes, use instructions, combinations and related products
- Prepare multimedial material for every product, allowing e-commerce users to realize the product without a salesperson presenting it
- Prepare IT infrastructure (cloud/on premise server, definition of domain with trademarketing, SSL certificates…) to guarantee performance and service scalability
These are just some hints to remind ourselves that from the moment we will be online, we will have the opportinity of gaining 24/7 access to stores, from anywhere and from any device (smartphone, tablet, PC, smartwatch…) and of establishing a continuous dialogue with our customers.