As the eCommerce field grows exponentially every year, it would be safe to assume that all forms of business and retail would be making the leap. Not to say they would abandon brick-and-mortar locations or shut down their physical stores. Rather, they would keep their normal storefront, establish an online presence, and grow their customer base. This isn’t news to anyone, as most companies have an e-store, but there is a surprising number of businesses that have not made the leap, or at least committed to the idea of creating a solid online platform. Specifically, B2B – or business to business – companies have struggled to make the transition.
In a study by Accenture Interactive, it was reported that less than 10% of B2B companies make their sales online, and only 19% state that half of their revenue is generated online. That is an insanely low number, considering the predilection to online shopping (convenient, fast, easy) and the popularity of internet retail. So, what is preventing the migration of B2B? What is preventing the B2B environment from embracing the eCommerce community?
The simple and most reasonable answer boils down to a tried and true statement: “If it is not broken, don’t fix it.” Historically, B2B thrives on networking, making connections, and old-school order fulfillment. It’s a system that worked for decades and decades. It’s low-tech and easy to manage. Investing money into generating a fully-functional site, especially one with a good aesthetic and user-interface, becomes uncharted territory. “What if the site doesn’t drive sales? How much of the budget do we need to put into this? How much will marketing cost?” Unanswered questions, sure, but perhaps the wrong angle to approach the subject.
B2B would drastically benefit by utilizing the growing power of eCommerce. In order to paint a better picture for this, let’s dive into a quick example. Let’s say that Joe sells car products to other dealerships. The dealerships must contact him via phone or email and specify their order to Joe. He must then relay this information to his warehouse, to manufacturers, or whatever houses his inventory. This, of course, leads to manually captured payments, shipped orders, etc.
Making the Switch
If Joe has a Magento site, all of this could be done by the customer. Joe could store all customer information in the back-end (email, addresses, phone numbers, etc.). The dealership could just login and place an order. The system would pull up shipping and payment information. Magento logs and documents all information. Joe can easily pull up the order on his end, and if necessary, simply send it through the right channels. The system has the ability to customize reports, issue refunds (if needed), change customer information, and easily configure all shipping and payment processors. Joe can focus on sales and making new connections, while his current, loyal clientele can take care of their orders without having to go through the middle-man.
The site owner is not the only one who benefits from utilizing an e-store, however. Clients will be able to build wishlists, schedule orders, re-order from their past history of purchases, and go through checkout without any interruption. And, if Joe is the businessman we hope he is, promotions and discounts can be given to specific clients or customer groups. It’s a win-win for both parties: Joe keeps his clients happy, his business profits, and brand loyalty remains high, while the client can make quick purchases and potentially receive discounts.
B2B companies can, and should, continue to conduct their practices in their current manner. There will always be a need for networking and connecting. The human element should always be available. However, the online element is, arguably, just as important in the ever-expanding digital marketplace. It’s time for B2B to become a bigger part of the eCommerce community. The migration might seem daunting, but the rewards will be high.
If you are looking to establish your B2B in Magento, contact Razoyo right away. We will work with you to create a site that will satisfy your needs.