Wholesale Distributor’s Guide To eCommerce Strategy

A good eCommerce strategy is no longer an optional piece of your sales and marketing mix. Distributors must continually find better ways to attract and retain Customers, and adding eCommerce opens the door to the $1.13 trillion business-to-business online sales in the U.S. This ebook reviews best practices to help plan your company’s online strategy and introduces how Epicor helps your eCommerce capabilities rival those of large online retailers.

Epicor
Epicor
The World Is Waiting for Your eCommerce Strategy A wholesale distributor’s guide to welcoming customers from everywhere What’s Inside… Common eCommerce errors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 eCommerce best practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Your eCommerce answer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Epicor® offers everything you need . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 2 | The world Is Waiting for Your eCommerce Strategy Common eCommerce errors With competition steadily increasing, Distributors must continually find better ways to attract and retain customers . And as you probably already know - a good eCommerce strategy is no longer an optional piece of your sales and marketing mix . Today is the perfect day for you take a step toward eCommerce—shifting your sales online to make things easier for your customers and harder for your competitors . When you shift your focus to eCommerce, you begin to catch up to large online distributors and secure your position over the smaller ones . It’s going to take considerable effort to get a solution up and running and constant effort to keep it running efficiently, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore what will soon be a $1 .13 trillion business-to-business (B2B) industry in the U .S .1 What you do want to avoid are the five most ubiquitous eCommerce mistakes companies make: 1. Believing that it’s too complex and time consuming and that costs outweigh gains Too many corporate executives look at eCommerce longingly before ultimately looking away . It’s an easy habit—focusing on the day-to-day pressures of running the business and putting off more ambitious goals as long as possible . The problem is that this “we’ll-look-into-it” philosophy only stands up so long . Instead, consider partnering with eCommerce experts who can trim time and complexities from the process and get you your share of those trillions . 2. Choosing the wrong deployment model Many B2B businesses fail to align their growth objectives and requirements with the characteristics of a particular eCommerce model, and that ultimately prevents them from creating a tailored and effective system for online sales . Before diving into eCommerce, or not diving in at all, you’ll want to closely examine what you hope to gain and which platform is able to get you there—on your terms . Otherwise, your perceptions of eCommerce might just turn into reality . 12016 Forrester Research, Inc . 3 | The world Is Waiting for Your eCommerce Strategy 3. Opting for a turnkey marketplace platform If it’s too easy to be true, it’s probably not going to work for you in the long run . Marketplace sites offer very little differentiation potential and make it virtually impossible to tailor the platform’s content to specific customer needs . In other words, if you don’t get precisely what you need, it doesn’t matter how simple it is to set up . 4. Failure to integrate with existing systems When you use a basic eCommerce platform, integrating with other corporate systems—like your company’s warehouse fulfillment software—is virtually impossible . If your existing systems don’t integrate with your eCommerce platform, then your eCommerce effort may be fruitless . Integration can be incredibly difficult and time consuming, and it requires a significant investment of manpower . Some systems, however, handle integration with much less hassle than others . 5. Not paying attention to scalability We’re talking about the future of commerce, so one would think it’s natural to think ahead . All too often, however, firms build eCommerce platforms that are limited to current capacity rather than allowing for future technology requirements—even if they have an aggressive business growth agenda . 4 | The world Is Waiting for Your eCommerce Strategy eCommerce best practices What are the leading-edge companies doing? How are they handling the switch from catalogs and phone calls to self-serve shopping? How are distributors making the most of this opportunity? What can you do to successfully enter the realm of eCommerce? Consider these recommendations based on recent research studies by Forrester Research, Advantage Business Media, and others1: Online sales have grown 40% in just two years, from $559 to $780 billion. 12016 Forrester Research, Inc . 2 ”eCommerce Best Practices for Distributors,” researched and produced by Industrial Distribution in conjunction with Epicor Software Corporation . Statistical data was researched and compiled by Advantage Business Media in April 2016 . 40% 5 | The world Is Waiting for Your eCommerce Strategy Optimize the B2B experience to match B2C expectations The shopping people do at work is just like the shopping they do at home— they want an effortless, enjoyable experience that makes it easy to buy . When you deliver on those expectations, it’s easy for them to buy more . XX Drive additional sales by personalizing cross-sell and upsell experiences based on previous purchases XX Capitalize on long-tail selection, similar to Amazon and Grainger XX Attract deal-seekers with B2C-like pricing and fulfillment offers Overcome channel conflict between direct sales and eCommerce Your eCommerce platform can make easy work of time-consuming sales tasks, making it simpler for your sales team to take care of key accounts . XX Use self-service eCommerce efficiencies to give low-volume and entry-level customers the effortless buying experience they demand XX Easily handle reorders and replenishment volumes by letting clients help themselves XX Free up sales reps to focus on higher-margin, highly complex solutions for larger clients Use mobile like everyone else does You don’t use your mobile phone as just a phone, so why would your business? Mobile is now a viable platform for eCommerce and additional sales . Mobile commerce is quickly becoming as important as overall eCommerce—and the shopping experience must be as dynamic on a customer’s smartphone as on her desktop . XX Reach, serve, and sell to more customers, more quickly XX Open your doors to anyone, anywhere—from their desk, dining room, or at the jobsite B2B 93%92% 93% of mid- to senior-level executives want to see peer reviews when B2B shopping.2 92% want to see a product in action. 6 | The world Is Waiting for Your eCommerce Strategy Build for the long term Personalized service built the powerful client relationships you enjoy today . Efficient self- service options will build the relationships you’ll enjoy from now on . XX Deliver an eCommerce experience that transcends the transaction—it’s not just about buying, it’s about ease, enjoyment, and efficiency XX Expand the use of self-service models and begin migrating customers online—if your site is easy to use, they’ll save time and be much happier customers Align B2B procurement processes with B2C eCommerce functions The two are closer than you think . Just take a look: XX Personalization features, such as customized product recommendations and best-seller lists, save buyers time and give your brand the opportunity to segment XX B2B eCommerce platforms can and should provide the same level of convenience as retail operations by offering, for example, the ability to locate items according to product specs, SKU, price, and availability XX Staying current on how buyers use the Internet in non-B2B purchasing environments improves and simplifies the B2B experience XX Customers gain visibility into order history, inventory, and billing deadlines, plus reorders are easy—businesses can tap into rich analytics for a clear picture of web traffic, buyer behavior, and ordering patterns XX You can nurture online relationships with buyers throughout the process Be flexible, scalable, and in control of your online store Your online store has to grow as your business grows, while adapting to the ebbs and flows of consumer demand . When it does, you’ll be able to: XX Differentiate your company as a simple, user-friendly solution for B2B procurement XX Lower marketing, sales, and customer-service costs by offering self-service options customers want XX Generate higher website traffic, a greater conversion rate, and more revenue Distributors without the means to provide eCommerce are seeking support from outside sources—software solutions, independent system integrators, or eCommerce providers. 7 | The world Is Waiting for Your eCommerce Strategy Your eCommerce answer: Epicor Commerce Connect™ As you prepare to open the doors on an entirely new way to sell—to anyone, anywhere who wants what you’re offering—you’ll need more than a sales rep with a positive attitude. You need a partner with extensive experience in online sales. Epicor Commerce Connect™ is the platform that delivers Epicor Commerce Connect is a cloud-based solution built on the robust functionality of the Magento platform—meaning your customers get a consumer- friendly shopping experience—and is supported by powerful B2B and B2C toolsets . It’s mobile-ready and poised to boost your online presence, migrate customers to your website, and shorten the sales cycle . It’s built to adapt—like you—to changing market conditions and designed to grow as you grow . Epicor is fully integrated with your back office—right out of the box Epicor Commerce Connect makes things easier for your customers, and because it comes completely integrated with Epicor Prophet 21®—and all your back-office operations—it dramatically simplifies how you get things done . It’s scalable, simple, and so advanced that it eliminates the most risky and time- consuming element of eCommerce—the expensive custom work that connects your eCommerce system to your back office . Epicor drives growth Epicor eCommerce helps you reach more customers, differentiate your business, and deploy best-in-class distribution . Maybe you don’t want to compete with the likes of Amazon and Grainger, but you will be able to manage more services for more customers, all while managing costs . With sophisticated inventory controls, exceptional customer service, advanced forecasting, and sharper pricing tools, your eCommerce capabilities can rival those of large retailers . Because of our deep distribution expertise, Epicor eCommerce solutions help you boost both productivity and growth by combining best-practice processes and top technologies to help differentiate your business from the competition . 8 | The world Is Waiting for Your eCommerce Strategy Epicor offers everything you need Epicor improves the customer experience Epicor provides an eCommerce platform that’s convenient, mobile, and easy to use . Epicor Commerce Connect offers detailed product content that includes recommendations and the kind of personalized experience that buyers demand . In other words, it offers the features you’d demand . 2 ”eCommerce Best Practices for Distributors,” researched and produced by Industrial Distribution in conjunction with Epicor Software Corporation . Statistical data was researched and compiled by Advantage Business Media in April 2016 . Epicor Commerce Connect™ Your Business Total, Out-of-the-Box Integration Magento Full-Service B2B eCommerce Cloud Delivery Speed to Market Flexibility and Scalability Extensive Consulting Support 9 | The world Is Waiting for Your eCommerce Strategy The contents of this document are for informational purposes only and are subject to change without notice. Epicor Software Corporation makes no guarantee, representations or warranties with regard to the enclosed information and specifically disclaims, to the full extent of the law, any applicable implied warranties, such as fitness for a particular purpose, merchantability, satisfactory quality or reasonable skill and care. This document and its contents, including the viewpoints, dates and functional content expressed herein are believed to be accurate as of its date of publication, November 2016. The usage of any Epicor software shall be pursuant to the applicable end user license agreement and the performance of any consulting services by Epicor personnel shall be pursuant to applicable standard services terms and conditions. Usage of the solution(s) described in this document with other Epicor software or third party products may require the purchase of licenses for such other products. Epicor, Prophet 21, Commerce Connect and the Epicor logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Epicor Software Corporation in the United States, certain other countries and/or the EU. All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. Copyright © 2016 Epicor Software Corporation. All rights reserved. About Epicor Epicor Software Corporation drives business growth . We provide flexible, industry-specific software that is designed around the needs of our manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service industry customers . More than 40 years of experience with our customers’ unique business processes and operational requirements is built into every solution—in the cloud, hosted, or on premises . With a deep understanding of your industry, Epicor solutions spur growth while managing complexity . The result is powerful solutions that free your resources so you can grow your business . For more information, connect with Epicor or visit www .epicor .com . 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