George Anderson


B2B Ecommerce UX

Here’s a hard question: What’s the most annoying thing in your customer experience?

Whether your customers can order online, or must order by phone/fax/email, it’s worth stepping back and asking this question.

A recent survey of 700 B2B decision-makers asked them how companies can become easier to do business with online. Here are the top two answers which respondents selected:  

  • 44% want to see pricing on the website
  • 41% want self-service functionality

Here’s how these two friction points may impact your business—and what you can do to mitigate them.

1. Lack of pricing visibility in ecommerce (44%)

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes for a moment. You come to the ecommerce store, but you can’t see pricing at all, or you can only see a generic price which might not be accurate.

You may have all kinds of questions related to pricing—questions which could make or break the transaction:

  • Are they going to honor my contract price, or will I have to talk to a CSR about this order?
  • Will I still be under budget if I place this order?
  • Will I go over my credit limit if I place this order? (More on how to provide this information in #2 below)

Obviously, accurate pricing visibility is critical to B2B ecommerce UX. The trick is providing it.

How do you display accurate pricing in B2B ecommerce?

Pricing rules are already specified in your SAP ERP system. These are the rules which show customer pricing to a CSR (Customer Service Representative) when a customer calls in.

Since your pricing rules live in the ERP system, the question is: How do you ensure your ecommerce store offers the same personalized pricing which the customer could get if they called in?

At a high level, there are only two ways to get that pricing info out of the ERP and into ecommerce:

  1. Batch updates between ecommerce and the ERP, with middleware sitting between them. Pricing rules must be maintained separately in all 3 systems.
  2. Direct, real-time ERP/ecommerce integration, in which the ecommerce store acts as a window into your ERP system. You only have to maintain pricing rules in one system (ERP), and ecommerce interacts with those rules automatically, hands-free.

Corevist Commerce is built on #2. You don’t have to reconstruct or maintain your pricing rules in 2 extra places (middleware, ecommerce). When you make a change to your pricing in SAP ERP, that change is reflected immediately in Corevist Commerce, hands-free.

That has huge implications for the long-term success of your ecommerce channel. If your IT team doesn’t have the capacity for anything but minimal involvement, you’ll need a solution that creates a seamless, hands-free relationship between ecommerce and ERP.

That’s why we built Corevist Commerce.

2. Lack of self-service functionality (41%)

Point #2 actually includes Point #1. Pricing visibility empowers customers to build and place their own orders, which is a key part of offering a self-service web channel.

But 100% self-service goes beyond pricing. It even goes beyond order creation, encompassing every account management task which a customer may need to perform.

Think of it like this: Any routine task which requires a touch from a CSR can be transitioned to self-service in your ecommerce portal. These tasks fall into 3 categories—Order building, order placement, and post-order tasks.

Order building tasks:

  • Search for products with an intelligent search tool that doesn’t introduce friction.
  • See related products and cross-sell/upsell products.
  • Understand products better through rich content, documentation, photos/videos, customer testimonials, and more.
  • Easily compare products to make a decision.

Order placement tasks:

  • Get accurate pricing for the order and receive any associated discounts/promotions set up in SAP ERP.
  • See real-time inventory availability/ATP for every line item on the order.
  • Choose between multiple ship-tos, as applicable.
  • Choose between multiple payers, as applicable.
  • Choose between multiple sourcing warehouses, as applicable.
  • Select a requested delivery date (RDD).
  • Be advised of SKU substitutions if an SKU is discontinued or not sold to that customer.
  • Choose a payment method (credit card, ACH transfer, invoice, eCheck, PayPal, and more).

Post-order tasks:

  • Review order status, shipment status, tracking numbers, and all order-related documents from SAP.
  • See real-time credit status, open items, and open invoices.
  • Pay down open invoices online to get their account off credit block.

How do you offer ALL this self-service functionality in your web portal?

It doesn’t make sense to rebuild so many data points in middleware and ecommerce. A lot can go wrong when your architecture depends on manual updates to 3 different systems to keep it running smoothly.  

Rather, you should choose a real-time integration to SAP ERP to really nail this for your customers (and keep it low-to-no-effort for your IT team). That’s why we built Corevist Commerce on a real-time, configurable integration to SAP ERP. It’s the key to empowering your buyers to place orders and manage their accounts without picking up the phone.

Moving forward: FREE case study

Want to see friction-free, self-service ecommerce in real life? Download this case study on PARI Respiratory. You’ll learn how this medical manufacturer became Easier To Buy From with Corevist Commerce—and gave their Marketing department the attractive ecommerce catalog they wanted, with full SAP integration.

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