How do you know what to prioritize in a B2B online ordering solution?
The answer depends on your market, your products, and your customers’ needs. But certain high-level principles hold true across all verticals—especially for manufacturers.
Here are 3 questions you need to ask as you plan your B2B portal project (click to jump).
1. Do we need to differentiate our B2B portal user experience?
This question gets at the heart of your place in the market. Typically, answers to this question fall along a spectrum.
At one end, you’ve got customers who are going to order from you regardless of whether your B2B portal provides a B2C-style user experience. These customers might have a contractual relationship with you, or your product might be so unique and specialized, they don’t have many options. Differentiating from the competition based on a unique user experience in your B2B portal isn’t so important.
At the other end, you might be selling in markets that are much more competitive. Price, availability, and ease of online discovery may be the primary factors governing success. In this case, your B2B ordering portal may need to provide a unique, memorable user experience as a competitive factor.
2. Do B2B customers need personalized experiences in the portal?
You could say that transactions are generic in B2C. Discounts and coupons aside, you offer one price to all consumers. If you show product availability, you’re not showing different quantities to different customers.
The world of B2B online platforms is different.
Customers may have unique contract pricing for every product they’re allowed to buy. Along those lines, some customers may be blocked from purchasing certain SKUs. Even inventory availability may vary for different customers if you use ATP (available-to-promise) calculations to spread product around your most valuable accounts.
And let’s not forget credit status. Depending on your credit terms, you may need to block a B2B customer from ordering in the portal if their account balance is too large.
If you need this type of personalization in B2B online ordering, then you’ll need a comprehensive ERP integration. That’s what Corevist Commerce Cloud provides for organizations that run on SAP ERP.
3. Do you have the internal resources to support B2B online ordering?
This question has limited scope if your B2B portal doesn’t require ERP integration. However, most online ordering portals do require that integration. Without it, your customers won’t get the personalized experience they need to place orders online. (See #2 above.)
Yet ERP integration is incredibly challenging when it comes to online ordering. Because B2B transactions are so complex, you need a comprehensive integration that touches all parts of the buyer journey. That architecture is difficult to build and maintain if you’re relying on an integration platform sitting between the ERP and the B2B portal.
This is why Corevist Commerce Cloud exists. Our B2B ordering platform includes prebuilt integration for SAP ERP—and we manage the entire solution for you, including that integration. This empowers you to compete online while focusing on your core business.