Pathway to Success Professional Services Series #12 with Insite: It’s Time to Upgrade Your Website
It’s no secret that B2B buyers’ expectations have evolved. According to Forrester, more than 70% of B2B buyers find buying from a website more convenient than buying from a sales representative. In other words, B2B buyer appetite for digital ordering tools is increasing. In order to compete and bring their businesses into the future, distributors have to improve their digital offering.
Many distribution companies have noticed the shifts in the buying cycle. They’ve deployed some kind of website or eCommerce experience simply to keep up with the pressure. But the truth is, most distributors are still in first gear when it comes to their websites.
Some have tried to build eCommerce on a basic ERP storefront that limits them from delivering a modern, intuitive experience. Some have selected a platform built for B2C purposes and unfit to handle the complexities of B2B. Others have yet to even consider eCommerce as a new sales channel for their business.
Technology is advancing, competition is fierce and buyers’ expectations are changing, yet customers are still finding themselves calling CSRs to place orders or thumbing through print catalogs to get the information they need. Meanwhile, sales teams are being held up by low value activities like checking order status or inventory.
When a distribution business can provide its customers a better means to self-serve it is a win all around. Customers have better access to product information, orders and inventory and sales people are freed up to complete more value-added tasks and build better relationships.
To deliver better experiences for everyone,distributors have to focus on improving key areas of their website including:
For years, distributors’ most effective method to get their products and information in front of current and prospective customers was the print catalog. Given the natural generational turnover in distribution, the demand for robust and always available content online has never been higher.
To meet the demand, distributors must make improvements to their online catalogs. Customers expect to find product information and high-quality product images from multiple angles. Plus,they expect seamless search experiences.
We still see many distributors simply listing their products on their sites then linking out to the manufacturers’ websites. Even if you aren’t ready for full online ordering capabilities, building a digital version of your catalog makes it easier for your customers to do business with you and easier for your prospects to find the information they need to find.
Customer Portal Functionality
We have grown used to Amazon-like experiences in our personal shopping lives. We bring these expectations for seamless experiences with us into the world of B2B. That means, if we are ordering from a company, we expect to be able to login and find relevant information. Customers want access to view order status, invoices, commonly purchased products and more.
Customers are demanding nearly 100% functionality for every device they’re using. In January of 2017, eMarketer reported that 84% of millennials considered their mobile device essential to their work, with Gen X (aged 36-51) not far behind at 76%. As Boomers leave the distribution industry workforce, reliance on smartphones and mobile devices to do just about everything personally AND professionally will continue to increase.
The primary goal of any eCommerce solution should always be to make the B2B commerce environment, and the people within it, more efficient. Distributors who aren’t factoring mobile into their strategy are ignoring the ways in which mobile technology can transform how people work in the field, leading to incredible efficiency gains as well as reduced cost of sales.
Distributors should consider native mobile apps for B2B eCommerce that are capable of displaying user-specific rich product catalog, specific pricing and product recommendations and sophisticated order and re-order capabilities.
The key to a great site experience is understanding how your customers look for the products they most commonly order and helping them locate new products that fit their specific needs. In distribution,different people often refer to the same product in a variety of ways. Whether searching by dimension, brand name, generic name, industry jargon, or by a customer specific number, your search needs to deliver the right results.
As mentioned earlier, B2B buyers increasingly prefer to order from a website rather than a sales representative. To deliver seamless ordering experiences, distributors have to select an eCommerce solution that is built with the complexities of distribution in mind. That means it needs to accommodate complex workflows, customer-specific pricing and multiple shipping locations.
To make improvements to a distribution website requires a fully functional eCommerce solution. Luckily, NSA and Insite Software have partnered to offer a complete online solution built specifically for distributor sand integrated to Infor ERPs. Join us on Wednesday, September 11 at 1pm to learn about this solution that will help you deliver better customer experiences.
NSA Professional Services Series Webinar #12
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 1PM EST