How important is an online buying experience?
Not only are more and more buyers searching for suppliers to have an online presence, they are also asking them to be equipped with e-commerce capabilities that will facilitate an efficient and streamlined approach to doing business. Moreover, it is becoming more of a reality that many buyers want B2B sites to be as simple and user-friendly as B2C sites.
Due to outdated catalogs and a lack of B2B e-commerce functionality, many sellers are in jeopardy of losing customers and potential sales as they are unable to accommodate the ever-growing needs of their buyers. These “buyer needs” such as quick and easy access to up-to-date product information, time- saving and convenient online shopping experience, and being better informed on the status of orders are starting to dictate how buyers choose to do business and with whom they do business.
It appears that B2B purchasers are choosing e-commerce and online tools as their preferred choice when it comes to researching vendors and procurement supplies, as well as utilizing e-commerce as a buying channel.
With increasing buyer demands and a variety of customer requirements, just how many sellers out there are delivering in this area? Sellers who offer online catalogs, cXML, PunchOut, and a complete e-commerce shopping experience? One company that comes to mind is Dell.
Dell understands the benefits of offering online tools to their customers. With the desire to provide outstanding customer service and fulfill their “buyer needs” through their online catalogs and e-business platforms, not only is the company able to give their customers current and accurate product information, but they are also able to ensure (pricing) compliance and offer order customization so that it can be processed seconds after it has been submitted.
As a result, Dell customers receive a great, online buying experience – a sure way to retain business for the organization and maintain happy, appreciative customers. All in all, it’s a win/win scenario. Dell helps buyers cut ordering processing costs by 75% and shorten cycle times by five days.
Whereas, automated ordering has improved accuracy, cut manufacturing and fulfillment times, and eliminated operational efficiencies for Dell. Due to their e-business capabilities, it has driven 50 percent growth in buyer relationships and a 95% increase in B2B revenue over the past two years.
So circling back to the question I had set forth in the beginning of this post: Is it critical that suppliers provide a solid online presence to build and retain their customer base.
What’s your take on this?