5 Tips for B2B E-Commerce Success

The last decade of customers and B2B e-commerce project implementations have taught us a lot about what makes a project successful. It’s a big step for your entire organization to start selling your products online. A step that will not only reap larger revenue rewards, but also boost the proficiency of your sales team. 92% of Sana’s B2B e-commerce customers agreed that the following 5 best practices are crucial to ensuring e-commerce success…

  1. Start with a solid case study

Your team is going to want proof. A great case study will help you create urgency within the organization and offer valid results of your e-commerce plans. Review the case study with your entire team, including stakeholders, and define clear goals for the implementation. Ensure that everyone is on the same page and understands how this will impact and improve the way your company conducts business.

2. Involve IT

Go straight to the source. Implementing B2B e-commerce into your business will require that you work hand-in-hand with your IT department. You want your customers to have all the information they need when ordering online; product information, customer specific pricing, real-time stock, order history etc. This will require multifaceted functionality such as quick ordering, tier pricing, unit of measurement, RMA handling and so on. Sound Greek to you? That’s ok. Your IT department will understand the role of your company’s ERP system in delivering this data and functionality to the customer that places orders in an online sales portal.

3. Ask your customers for input

People aren’t shy about telling you what they want. Ask your customers what they are looking for and they will give you valuable information that you can use to develop the project. This will also help you avoid tunnel vision by keeping a balanced outside-in perspective on the project. Another added bonus? Seeking out customer input will also create buy-in from a group of early adopters.

4. Start with your minimum requirements

Do not try to build Amazon.com in your first release. Define your very minimum requirements and start from there. Starting with a solid release that fulfills all basic requirements will make it much easier to define the “must haves” for the second phase of the project. Furthermore, if you are able to have a successful first release in a short amount of time, you can show your project team results from their hard work and keep the momentum alive in your project. Your team will be more motivated to contribute and give feedback on changes and/or enhancements for the full release.

5. Launch for a small group of customers

Start small. Give yourself time to make changes to the sales portal before you open it up to all your customers. As we all know, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Your product team will be able to handle feedback much more comfortably from a small batch of customer versus your entire database. Once you make any changes realized with the small group, you will feel much more confident with the full release.

Conclusion

As with any project, the most important part is to have a plan. The key is to avoid overwhelming your team and defaulting to your old-fashioned and more expensive process of manual ordering. Keep your team in the loop with all goals and achievements and you will create positive synergy with your e-commerce implementation project.

Interested in getting more info about how to start an B2B e-commerce project? Download our eBook and find out how the right starting point is crucial to successful B2B e-commerce !

Michiel Schipperus is Managing Partner of Sana Commerce. Sana is a B2B specialist and delivers a fully integrated e-commerce solution for SAP and Mircosoft Dynamics AX/NAV.

Visit Sana at www.sana-commerce.com


Originally published at www.sana-commerce.com on March 9, 2015.

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