Defining & Prioritizing Your B2B eCommerce Strategy

In our last post, we recapped the first half of a webinar led by IBM’s Pete Wharton, and Terence Jukes, president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence, moderated by Total Retail editor Joe Keenan.

The focus? Driving more B2B eCommerce sales by acting more like B2C.

Building a B2B ecommerce strategy on B2C principlesIn Part of this webinar recap, we continue that discussion with three (3) questions that were recommended to help you define and prioritize your B2B eCommerce strategy, no matter your company’s size.

Here they are:

1. How might you change your business to take advantage of the current online environment?

  • More detailed segmentation and personalized offers?
  • Can online interactive data drive marketing communications?
  • Could S&H or returns policy vary by product/offer?
  • Special quantity and/or contract pricing by company, site or individual?
  • …and so on.

Caution: If you simply duplicate your offline business online you will not optimize your online selling.

2. What new selling tactics are available in the online environment that are NOT available offline, and how can you deploy/optimize those?

  • Adding unlimited brand, product and user content.
  • Driving email communication using transactional or web activity data.
  • Having print/phone/chat communications that are interactive with online activity.
  • Communicating with customers anytime, anywhere via mobile sites and apps.
  • Using videos and graphics to inform, educate, train, sell and support.
  • Using IP identification to identify and promote to site visitors.

3. What new, supportive technology can you deploy to sell online?

  • Build or buy an eCommerce and content management platform?
  • SAAS/cloud-based or installed solution?
  • Evaluate vendor solutions based on functionality, fit, cost, support, installs, etc.
  • Order management and accounting systems data integration is key.

Note: The point here is to NOT reinvent the wheel, but choose a platform that has proven integration with systems you already use.

B2B Marketplaces

Finally, the presenters suggest SMBs consider B2B marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, which can benefit businesses in the following ways:

  • Incremental sales & margin
  • New customer acquisition
  • Free and paid advertising
  • Improved organic search
  • Testing product/price/service offers

Now here is where things get interesting: Pete and Terence don’t quite see eye-to-eye on these benefits.

Pete cautions that you carefully think through the cons of selling on Amazon: Your product starts to get commoditized and compete on price, and the resulting SEO continues to drive traffic to Amazon after you leave.

Terence takes a different position: For SMBs, the benefit of reaching an active shopping audience you couldn’t duplicate yourself is worth the investment. Plus, you’ll also get SEO benefits from having your product on Amazon, and customers are smart enough to come to your website if they wish to see more options, or if they can’t find the product on Amazon.

In any case, eCommerce success hinges on your customers’ experience: Know them, remember them, make buying a breeze, and you’ll be ahead of the game.

Need help making sense of all of these components and the best next step for you?

We’re at your service. BlueSky eCommerce strategists will be happy to share what we’ve learned from working with your peers and guide you in the right direction, whether or not we end up working together.

Get answers to the questions that are holding you back by calling or dropping us a message here.