3 Ways to Streamline B2B Commerce Operations

Pivoting into a modern and future-ready B2B commerce organization is complicated by both business process and technology, as there are many approaches and options. However, those able to digitally mature to offer these experiences will be seen as the industry leaders. Although there are many different complexities and facets that go into the sales process of B2B compared to that of B2C, with the right strategy, team in place, and technology implemented you can easily create a streamlined buying experience for your customers.

61% of business purchasers say they’d increase their online spending budget if it were more convenient to make purchases on the web, and 49% say they’d consider switching suppliers offering easier online payment processes.

When Echidna works with B2B clients, our goal is to maintain their B2B heritage while coupling B2C processes and solutions to add multiple points of value to all constituents. Three ways to offer a streamlined B2B buying experience include:

Implementing Article Intelligence (AI)

Digitally mature companies realize the burden that constant change demands from their people. Even as technology makes us more efficient, it has given us more work to do. Companies equip their people with modern tools to administer their parts of a growing digital ecosystem. And daily searching, browsing, clicking, and administration consumes most of our attention and leaves little time for innovative insight, much less for truly disruptive innovations.
That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in to streamline your B2B e-commerce buying experience. It offers us the opportunity to create intelligent assistants that perform tasks on our behalf and some we couldn’t possibly be expected too. As companies learn how to use these “intelligent machines” to improve streamline their customers buying experience they will notice increased revenue, reduced costs, and increased customer satisfaction. AI will become a truly invaluable resource to streamlining B2B commerce operations.

Consider the following capabilities of AI for streamlining commerce operations:

Improving User Experience

In B2B commerce you are likely to have cross over between self-serving online and working with a sales representative. By reviewing the six core areas of your user experience you will be able to create and execute a plan to add value throughout your customers interactions with your company.

Six core user experience areas to assess:

  1. Information Architecture: Digital channels of information must be architected to provide value add experiences.
  2. Channel Integration: Digital customers demand a seamless experience across all of a brand’s channels.
  3. Interactive Usability: Interactive experiences and their usability differentiate brands in today’s digital markets.
  4. User Engagement: Customers engage and advocate for brands that connect with them digitally.
  5. Visual Design: Functional use is complemented by artistic design to influence behavior.
  6. User Research: Mature businesses research and analyze their customers’ digital needs to add value.

When is the last time your user experience had a heuristic analysis performed (collecting insights, recommendations, priority and effort)? Being able to chart a course for tactical execution, mitigate risk of channel conflict, and understand emerging trends in user experience is an great groundwork to digitally mature and not to mention a huge competitive advantage.

Updating Order Management

Echidna has come up with a list of 5 questions to start the process of helping our clients assess their current order and inventory management systems and uncover gaps that could be hindering their ability to provide a streamlined, superior ordering experience for their customers and seamless backend experience for their employees.

  1. Does your OMS support omni-channel fulfillment capabilities?
  2. Does your OMS support multiple selling channels?
  3. Do you have an accurate and complete picture of all inventory across all channels and locations?
  4. Are you able to easily choose the best fulfillment source, saving your company time and money plus offering an improved customer experience?
  5. Are you able to easily support returns processing?

FINAL THOUGHTS

Remember- what your customers want is to feel knowledgeable about their relationship with you and know they have both insights and options when it comes to their buying experience. Giving your customer a consistent, low friction, omni-channel experience will give them this feeling and give you a strong competitive edge while ensuring you are future ready.

Read The Consumerism of B2B Report.

© 2017 Echidna