In the last few years, e-commerce has become one of the most preferred means of shopping. Be it B2C or B2B, customers have been spoilt for choice, price comparisons and delivery of products at their doorstep.
E-commerce has revolutionized the sales for small and medium enterprises. With geographical location not being an issue anymore, sales have seen an upward swing in the last couple of years, thanks to e-commerce.
Just like that, online shopping has now become more quick, convenient and more user-friendly.
If you are an SME and wondering if B2B e-commerce is the right way for you, there are a few things you need to consider:
Financial implications- Do you have what it takes to provide your customers an end to end online shopping experience.
Skilled IT Personnel team– To run an online store, you need a team of IT personnel to keep it up and running.
Operation architecture- Decide on your operating model architecture. From where you would source, store and sell your products. Operational structure is the foundation for the success of your e-store.
Risk-taker- Even if your e-store has the right products, product content, and in enriched with SEO keywords, it will still take time for a complete turnaround. So don’t lose hope. You may have to wait it out.
Management/board support- Without the collaborative effort from each member of your team, no store or e-store can be successful. If even one member does not comply with your thought and ideas related to e-store investment, you may have a problem brewing there for the future.
Legal assistance- Make sure you hire a lawyer to draft your sales policies and partnership policies if any. You do not want future customers dragging you to court for a faulty product or service.
Technology research to stay updated- Make sure you have done enough research product wise and technology wise in the market. You do not want to be out-dated as soon as you launch. Being up-to-date is key in managing a successful e-store.
Physical Infrastructure-Make sure you have the physical infrastructure needed to run an e-store. You will still need an office space for your small member teams to operate from or even a warehouse to store your products.
Government rules & policies- Every country has s different policy towards managing their internet accessibility and online sales. Make sure you adhere to the rules and regulations put out by the government.
Choosing the right e-commercesolution- Though this may sound as the most important of the 10 step check list, this is the most taken-for granted point by many start-ups.
- Make sure your have an inbuilt software algorithm to map customer behaviour. This will help you understand consumer behaviour better. Recording the purchase journey of every customer will give you unfiltered access to insights that can be used for making future strategic decisions.
- Categorization of products, creation of promotional email, targeted email campaigns etc., should be carried out in seasonally. Make sure the solution’s architecture supports this.
- Some products’ demands may peak during certain times of the year. The solution you opt for should be able to handle these sudden demands.
- The solution should be scalable enough to increase product numbers or be open to any upgrades in the years to come.
- Make sure your solution provides a seamless buying experience for your customers. Given that B2C is now taking precedence and making a benchmark in online shopping, make sure the B2B shopping experience you provide is close enough to a B2C seasoning and sophistication.
Yes, there are many benefits in choosing the B2B e-commerce way.
Low operating budget- Running an e-commerce store is much more financially viable compared to running a brick and mortar store. Consider the expenditure you would be shedding for the physical store itself, along with the sales force and operating cost.
Having an e-store, you only need a small office space, with the right technical people to run the show.
Increased ROI- With the absence of geographical limitations, the revenue you are bound to generate from an e-store is no comparison to a brick and mortar store.
You can capture new audiences everyday with the written feedback from your old and happy customers. With e-store functioning 24/7, you are open to different times zones and holidays all year long.
Social media Recommendation-With the boom of social media, customers happy with your product and service talk about their experience in social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, Pintrest, LinkedIn, Instagram and more.
This is an added advantage against the biggies in the industry, who usually do not have their customer recommendations working for them.
Learning consumer behaviour- In a mom & pop shop, small businesses are forced to assume and speculate over the purchase journey of a customer. With no fixed data to support his findings, he hovers around pre-conceived notions usually from big players in the same industry.
Having an e-store, with the right software algorithm in-built, helps you understand consumer behavior. How much time a specific consumer spends on a product, what he reads, which page he goes to, how much time he spends on a page, so on and so forth.
The insights are extensive and proves beneficial in making strategic choices for the future.
Larger marketing ROI- After saving so much cost, all that money can be diverted to marketing your e-store. Advertising worldwide, online or offline, you can drive customers to your e-store.
You can also create targeted marketing messages to specific customers, based on their behavioural data collected by your e-store whilst they were browsing through their purchase journey.
There are so many reasons pointing towards e-commerce being the next big idea you are going to work on for your SME’s lifecycle.
Make sure you hire a consultant who can help you lead the way.
For more queries and a free consult, Get in touch with us, Altius Technologies