When it comes to B2C sales, ecommerce has stepped up to the plate. Once customers log in, they can easily see past orders, view recommended products based both on past purchases, as well as browsing history, and any number of other customizations that bring the right items to the forefront and allow the ecommerce site to close more sales.
But what about B2B customers?
B2B Keeps Growing, and You Need to Keep Up
It may feel at times like B2B customers don’t need the same level of customization as B2C customers. After all, they need what you sell, and if you sell it, they’ll buy it. Right?
Not quite. Forrester Research expects that by 2020, the US B2B ecommerce market will be worth $1.1 trillion, making it twice the size of the B2C market. Within the next year, we could be looking at a B2B ecommerce segment that brings in more money than ever before. In order to make higher profits, B2B ecommerce companies will need to invest more in that segment. This means working closely with B2B partners studying their operations and processes and, yes, building custom portals for every B2B customer to expressly meet their business process needs.
The Customization Bonus
If you think building custom B2B portals for every customer sounds time-consuming, you’re right. Most businesses estimate that building a custom portal takes six to twenty-four months. This is owing less to technology and more to the actual process of customization, finding which features are actually useful, and whittling them down to their best performance.
While it might seem a large undertaking at the front end, your customers will benefit from:
- More online attention
- Systems that are customized to their business processes, including scheduled orders and specific user roles
- Customer intelligence that offers them special promotions unique to their company and purchasing habits
While you as a B2B ecommerce provider will benefit from:
- Better understanding of your customer and their needs
- Increased partnership and cooperation
- Reduced risk of losing B2B customers
- Discovery of new ways to improve the portal based on feedback and behavior
Keeping Success Flowing: Palmetto Parts Company
But how does B2B portal customization work in the real world? ROI Consulting customer Palmetto Parts Company began their customization efforts well in advance of Forrester Group’s research. In 2008, Palmetto VP of Sales, Bill Meany, determined it was time to offer a full-service web-shopping experience for his customers that also included a catalog of parts and pricing to enable his sales force to identify and recommend the right parts for the job at the best price. This meant customization.
Palmetto Parts Company partnered with ROI Consulting to synchronize data across website catalogs, shopping carts, and Sage 100 to create a professional, easy-to-use, easily understood solution. Bill worked closely with his ecommerce platform provider, Clearnine, and the ROI Consulting team to implement the website catalog and integrate it with Sage 100 via IN-SYNCH. The result? An integrated, customized ecommerce solution that has sales growing year over year. Outside salespeople can log in via mobile or tablet and pull up immediate and accurate pricing based on that specific customer.
“When our sales reps walk into customer facilities, they have instant credibility,” Bill confirmed. “Our website is impressive, and it gives the customer confidence in use. If they want something, they can just log in and find it.”
Customized Portals with IN-SYNCH Integration
It takes time to customize a B2B website and do it the right way but taking the time up front builds credibility and truly sets your B2B ecommerce business up for long-term success. Ready to see how IN-SYNCH and ROI Consulting can help you build customized B2B portals? Contact us here or call 402-934-2223, 1 to speak to an expert today.