Amid discussions about supply chain woes, there is another threat to manufacturing that is NOT being discussed: overwhelmingly, e-commerce sites are failing their customers. Why is that happening in 2022? With groundbreaking technological innovation and automation tools at our fingertips?
A new global B2B e-commerce study, conducted by Sapio Research on behalf of Sana Commerce, reveals that 52 percent of e-commerce sites are not fully meeting expectations. With 45 percent more companies spending more online, it is critical to ensure that your e-commerce plan is not a roadblock to your success. Here are three strategies to avoid missing the mark with your customers.
Get the details right
It is important to ensure that when buyers visit your e-commerce website, you have accurate information to facilitate their order. One of the top complaints about suppliers' sites was missing or inaccurate stock information (29%), inaccurate product information (26 percent) and no or inaccurate pricing information (22 percent).
One way to ensure that your buyers always have the right information, is to choose an e-commerce platform that integrates with your existing ERP system. An integration is much more effective than the ability to simply push data from your ERP to your website. An e-commerce platform that integrates with your ERP will allow you to show your customers real-time updates on stock availability and pricing. You can also leverage their customer agreements and offer targeted promotions.
Accuracy will remove common customer frustrations, but it will also benefit your internal teams. If your e-commerce platform relies on manual synchronization, you risk delayed updates (and customer complaints), duplications and disruptions. Any source of inefficiency can hurt your bottom line, so eliminating these challenges is worthwhile.
Personalize the experience
Your B2B customers are also consumers! They're used to the sophistication of online consumer ordering. There are some facets of B2C they would like to see duplicated in their B2B experience. According to our study, 36 percent of respondents would like the personalization of an online customer experience mirrored in B2B.
Personalization shows your customer that they are seen and valued, and the right technological experience can help you tailor your buyers’ experience. For example, make it easy for repeat buyers to reorder products. Your system should be able to store data, such as specific pricing, product preferences, address and contact information so that the buyer is not starting over each time they visit your site.
Conversely, you should always have an option for “guest checkout,” that allows your suppliers to remain anonymous if they so choose. Some buyers want a quick and easy checkout without filling out a long-form, and a guest checkout fulfills this need. This option is also effective in reducing your shopping cart abandonment rate.
Avoid Buyer’s Remorse
If you have ever ordered an item online only to receive something that was not quite what you expected, you know the frustration of poorly worded or inaccurate product descriptions. Your B2B buyers want your web store to be a source of information. They should be able to easily access accurate product descriptions, technical specifications and even details on spare parts if applicable.
You want your product description to be as comprehensive as possible. Include details such as scale, and add photos to provide clarity to your buyers. Product descriptions that are detailed and provide accurate information can make or break a sale. You can stand out even more, by highlighting the differentiation of your product in the market.
You should never have a product without a description. Ever. In fact, this can harm you even more than a poor description. Keeping product descriptions up to date is a top priority for your e-commerce strategy.
The Bottom Line
Trust is crucial to buyers making a purchasing decision. If the information on your e-commerce platform is missing or wrong, it erodes your buyers’ confidence in your product. Remember, relationships matter in sales, even when those sales happen online! It is vital to take every step to ensure that buyers can consistently get accurate and detailed information from your webstore. One way to ensure that you win the buyer relationship is to fully integrate your e-commerce site with your ERP so that you have a single-source of accurate information.
Tim Beyer is global COO of technology scale-up Sana Commerce, an ERP-integrated B2B e-commerce solution provider and certified partner of Microsoft Dynamics and SAP.