As businesses emerge from the economic downturn, there is an increased focus on drawing together customer insights and digital channels to transform the customer experience, open up new markets and reduce the complexity of business processes.
IBM’s Institute for Business Value Global CRM Leaders Study, “The path forward – New models for customer-focused leadership”, found that nearly half of all business leaders surveyed have increased focus on e-commerce and 46% of
them are currently developing an effective digital customer experience.
For Business-to-Business (B2B) companies this mean shifting from the traditional phone/fax/e-mail channels to the web channel in order to deliver a rich and buyer-centric experience. This is a significant transformation as the familiar human aspect
of business transactions will now be replaced by an online experience. For many B2B companies this can be challenging due to complex contractual relationships, product complexity, and a variety of B2B order placement methods that the buyers are
accustomed to using.
B2B buyers’ expectations are set by the B2C sites that they use for personal shopping experiences. Buyers want a rich and personalised online experience based on their role in the organisation, as well as an easy-to-use interface for order
placement, enquiry, and tracking. They are also looking for access to product information, product-related news, and other necessary tools, including product comparison, purchasing under multiple contracts, saving and sharing frequent orders, and
support for B2B payment methods.
PureNet’s chief executive, Dr Paul Gibson says: “For B2B companies the online transformation has become crucial but it is neither as simple nor as straightforward as B2C e-commerce primarily due to complex B2B relationships and processes.
“Any online B2B store needs to combine the best practices from B2C e-commerce with the B2B operational automation features in order to reduce costs and increase sales.
“In the case of one of our clients, Academia, the online channel has become a virtual salesperson that is able to offer customised catalogues, contract prices, accept
quotes and price for special orders and promotions, as well as perform cross/up-sell and make product recommendations.”
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Dr. Paul GibsonChief ExecutivePureNet