Business-to-business commerce is the first idea that jumps into people's minds when they think of how a wholesaler or distributor operates. Some examples are looking for local companies to get supplies, looking at warehouses to hold your inventory, finding a retailer to provide a market, or sourcing shipping companies to send your products. B2B e-commerce is the transfer of that normal operation from traditional routes to ones conducted over the Web. It's when businesses find suppliers and make purchases on-line without using the traditional means of placing orders with a sales rep or over the phone or fax with a customer service rep in the home office.
Andy Hoar of Forrester Research estimates that B2B e-commerce will account for $1.1 trillion by 2020. This is a huge trend that encourages many businesses to establish themselves in the on-line market; however, some businesses have found the process to work differently than expected.
Businesses first entering into a B2B e-commerce solution began with the impression that it works similarly like B2C. B2C and B2B have very striking differences that do not relate. What businesses were looking to build on was the simple methods by which customers have access to information and can make purchases or request quotes effortlessly.
As more businesses enter into a B2B e-commerce strategy, this growth will stimulate developing better methods for conducting business with customers. It will streamline the operation using automated software that processes orders, notifies shipping and receiving, and keeps everything greased for continuous performance.
B2B e-commerce allows businesses to expand from local outlook to global opportunities. There are markets available on-line which let businesses connect to manufacturers and distributors from all over the world. Businesses can find products to sell which are direct from the factory or provide their services to companies in any country. It opens the doors for businesses to begin looking at their operation in a wider scope than what is locally available.
Having a position to sell globally affords businesses advantages that competitors can't match. Businesses may find suppliers with better quotes for purchasing bulk materials and stock. They can also find customers which have an unfilled demand for their service in that emerging market. B2B e-commerce lets businesses become aware to these opportunities and gives a way to make them happen.
Streamlining with Software
At the core of B2B e-commerce is software. It is used to run the servers, keep the networks safe, and to provide businesses with easy solutions for maintaining vital operational processes. There are customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms, and order management systems (OMS). Each of these help businesses establish and build stronger customer relationships with other businesses and maintain resources efficiently.
These systems have expanded lately to include on the go technology. Because most people have smartphones and tablets, software design incorporates using these devices to make business teams and employees their most productive. It gives them the information at the moment they need it to seize an opportunity. This is where CRM platforms are so effective. Sales can monitor when a customer shows interest by sending contact details; CRM alerts a team member, by e-mail, text message, or through an app, to act on the customer interest.
ERP expands on this by giving businesses an additional e-commerce tool to see what processes consume which resources. Businesses use ERP to manage cash resources, labor, raw materials, and inventory. This provides excellent foresight abilities to businesses assigning resources to demanding processes. If a customer has a high demand for its service, a business can adapt by applying more labor, evening labor forces for peak demands, or scheduling labor for different tasks for different times. ERP lets businesses have the information about their resources from all branches in a global, real-time network accessible by desktop, laptop, or mobile device.
When selling through a web site, businesses should have an OMS so that customers are able to place orders quickly and easily, anytime they need. With a system that allows customers access to all pertinent account information, like pricing, real-time inventory and tracking information, they get the B2C experience that they’ve grown to expect and the business gets to capitalize on less order processing needed on their end.
B2B e-commerce shows enormous trending growth potential, and it gives businesses new outreach for attracting new customers. Businesses can use e-commerce to reach other businesses all over the globe for obtaining products or selling services. Many businesses have found that the current state of business to business e-commerce needs some improvement for making interaction streamlined. Software helps with that problem by providing automated solutions that can give updates and alert businesses when a customer needs a required action.