Operating in a B2B sector brings its own set of challenges, which can be very different to the B2C landscape. If you’re a B2B manufacturer, you’ll have built up strong connections with your distribution partners and may even be concerned that ecommerce will harm your supply chain relationships.
The Word From The Trade Shows
We’ve been attending trade shows for a range of B2B industries over the last few months, talking to attendees and getting a feel for how companies are using ecommerce. We’ve heard some terrific success stories, echoing what many of our clients have been telling us.
Whether a company is in the automotive industry, packaging, industrial supplies, pharmaceuticals and medical, safety equipment, chemicals or any one of a number of similar B2B sectors, we’ve found that the core benefits of selling online remain the same:
- Saving time for internal sales teams
- Reducing ordering errors
- Speeding up repeat orders
- Bringing in international business
- Giving sales teams more time to focus on winning new clients
- Capturing new business from direct competitors
- Positioning the company as an innovator and a leader in its industry
B2B Ecommerce Concerns
However, we’ve also heard concerns from companies who have yet to establish an ecommerce presence. Many manufacturers are worried that if they show distributor pricing on their website or undercut distributors on price they will put their supply chain relationships at risk.
One of the great benefits of B2B ecommerce is that you can build an ecommerce presence to your precise requirements and circumstances.
Don’t want people to see your distributor pricing? No problem. Just include a login system, which only shows a distributor’s pricing when they are logged in to their account.
Don’t want to undercut your distributors on price? No problem. Just introduce a tiered pricing structure based on purchase volumes.
The Ecommerce Solution
We’ve also found that once a business implements ecommerce it can improve relationships with distributors, as well as suppliers and end-users. Distributors can order 24/7, flexibility of stock replenishment comes into play, convenience and immediacy goes through the roof and ecommerce adds a new string to the relationship experience.
We’ve even had clients create an option within their ecommerce systems which triggers if the order volumes are too small. The buyer is referred to distributors within their area to make the purchase and distributors are alerted to the opportunity on a rolling basis.
Once businesses begin to realise the flexibility of ecommerce in the B2B environment, the opportunities open up for them. Many B2B customers now expect to be able to order online, but a study by Mintel shows that less than 22% of B2B companies offer an ecommerce option. This represents a huge opportunity for you and your business if you make the move before your competitors do.
How Shopcreator Can Help
If you’re starting to explore the potential of ecommerce for your business, we can help you with our Ecommerce Horizon Plan. It’s a bespoke service designed around the unique needs of your company, taking into consideration your sector and your business goals. Based on our extensive practical knowledge of what does and doesn’t work online, it provides you with a comprehensive report and actionable recommendations that could begin to improve your profits right away, before you take the next step into ecommerce.
We think our Ecommerce Horizon Plan could help you evaluate your options and build a foundation for your ecommerce strategy. Give us a call on 0345 12 11 400 or send us an email to find out more about our horizon plan and how it can boost your business.