[Tribune] B2B E-commerce: integrating new purchasing practices in the service of customer relationships – Retail Strategy > Retail

Two-thirds of current e-commerce projects are related to the B2B component, with a 19.6% increase in sales versus a 15% post-Covid drop (Fevad) for B2C purchases in 1er quarter of 2022. Whatever the orientation, building a platform involves understanding certain similarities between a course “consume” Where “for business”, in terms of user expectations. The challenge then lies both in optimizing the customer journey and in the specifics inherent to the complexity of the offer (products, prices, etc.).

A single model…

B2B e-commerce has recently established itself at the center of exchanges between companies. Whether it’s a first design or a re-platform (evolution of an existing platform), an e-commerce project meets the objectives of customer acquisition, loyalty or operational excellence, requiring a long-term commitment. With gains in efficiency, simplicity, security or even reduced operating costs, B2B buyers expect a seamless user experience from this solution, with access to all their personalized information, while at the same time matching the ease of purchase offered in B2C. , away from dusty faxes or mail or phone purchase orders.

Buyer loyalty or customer commitment is an important issue in the implementation of this new channel that will meet an important need for autonomy in order management. Digital allows companies to operate faster, at greater scale, providing more services and therefore freeing up significant time for sales forces to focus on their core business: customer acquisition and relationship. Thought of globally, the platform will have to be in full coherence with all channels, including the use of tablets, hand showers or even smartphones for greater mobility. In addition, the challenges of B2B e-commerce are numerous and changeable, technological platforms must be flexible and scalable, due to the specific complexity of the products offered. The functionalities can be multiple, from the simple one-click recurring order to some adaptations such as obtaining quotes or the multi-basket function.

Given the technological and design particularities of the user experience, the nuance of a B2B approach is based on the expertise produced but also on the specificity of the customer’s profile. This is the goal of being able to digitize a relationship based on personalization.

…involving a personalized integration, complementary to the information system

From the general framework of the project, it is a matter of crossing the various information repositories held by the company, whether related to the product (PIM), to the management elements (prices, orders, invoices) (ERP) or to the relationship with the customer (CRM), considered as the back-office of an e-commerce platform. It is through the various operational processes agreed with each of the customers that it will be possible to customize the course: price, quantities, logistics, delivery… The conversion of this data, intertwined with the new data enabled by the e-commerce solution, will offer significant visibility and lessons in terms of customer acquisition and/or loyalty. For more, these collected data will also make it possible to develop the commercial relationship with increasing relevance in the proposal of added value services (cross-sell, up-sell, etc.)

However, the challenge remains to map all this information within the company, whether digitized or not, in order to identify and thus involve the various stakeholders. The integration of this business intelligence will, in fact, have to be supported by different blocks of business, even if it means creating certain connections, for a successful restitution. Be careful not to reproduce the complexity already rooted in the company’s processes so that the integration of the information system remains as simple and intuitive as possible. The challenge is even greater when the case applies to certain specific sectors, which are complex because they are highly regulated or demand large inventories, thus involving solid logistics and flow management.

Indeed, the transition of an entire story is a profound change that sometimes requires the transformation of certain professions or co-construction, such as the design component of an e-commerce platform. As with the more elaborate features, the buyer expects to navigate a fluid and visually attractive space, where it is easy to find their way around.

The integration of an e-commerce project involves a complex range of steps and evolutions. Conceptualization of the project, design, online placement… each of these branches is complemented with the work of an integrator who will guarantee consistency and harmonization, until defining the positioning of the portal in the digital ecosystem of the ‘company’. Indeed, the challenge is to build a coherent architecture, integrated with the company’s IT to leverage customer data. As in any construction site, the phase that precedes the completion of the material is decisive and requires specific advice to be able to scale and evaluate the issues raised. Although the technical aspect governs the purpose of a finished product, it is this deep understanding of the customer that will make the difference, either upstream, avoiding the simple duplication of identified information, or downstream, with the transformation of processes and team Support, support. While such a launch could materialize in a few months, the key success factor lies in adjusting the platform over time, to increase as the market evolves. Internationalization, market… each undertaking will then be simplified, saving time and adding value to the various commercial businesses.

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