Exploring the many benefits of B2B E-Commerce
Manufacturers and distributors should explore the many ways an online catalog can benefit their business.
In this three-part blog series, we’ll discuss how an online catalog/E-Commerce website:
- Can increase sales.
- Can make it easier for your prospects and customers to do business with you.
- Business efficiencies will improve with simplified back-end tools.
Increase Your Sales with B2B E-Commerce
Whether you have experience with online sales or are just beginning to explore the world of E-Commerce, there are many ways an online catalog can increase your sales. B2B buyers and specifiers are increasing their use of digital channels to research and purchase industrial products. According to Forrester, by 2020 approximately half of all BTB purchases will be online. If you have not already developed an online catalog, you will need to do so to keep up with (or get ahead of!) the competition.
Consider the following advantages that an online catalog could yield for your business in terms of revenue growth.
- Increasing your visibility and driving more traffic from the search engines: Converting a print catalog to an online catalog can improve your presence in the eyes of the search engines, allowing more prospective clients to locate you via Google, Bing and Yahoo. This may be particularly useful if you opt to display your catalog pages publicly.
- Increasing stock and custom orders: All our E-Commerce clients have experienced a new prospect purchasing a product online, testing it for fit, form, function and then later interacting with their traditional sales channels to get a quote on and purchase a large stock or custom order. An E-Commerce client of ours received a 7-figure order that began as a $35 initial online purchase while another client increased their online stock orders by 125%.
- Drive incremental revenue by up-selling/cross-selling: B2B online catalogs impact B2B customers’ buying behavior, enabling your business to dramatically increase sales. Using a suitable online catalog will allow you to provide the right recommendations for visitors to your portal. You will ensure that your customers are also able to view related items, products with additional features and the opportunity to up-sell or cross-sell to clients. You can also capture the buying history of a customer which makes it easier for them to make repeat orders.
- Pricing & shopping cart options: Offering an online catalog does not necessarily mean that you must display pricing and have a shopping cart. If you prefer, you can just provide a request for quotation (RFQ) option. The catalog would be available via your website, instantly enabling web inquiries on a B2B level. Work with distributor channels? Did you know that you can build a private catalog with tiered pricing and product content specific to each of your distributors? These are options available with an online catalog. We’ll dive further into the pricing aspect in out next blog.
- Capture new customers by widening and penetrating the market: The beauty of offering an E-Commerce site is that your prospects do not necessarily need to be part of your existing or known market. Since your web portal will not be reliant on the physical presence or reach of your sales personnel, your online catalog can be accessed 365 days per year, 7 days per week, and 24 hours per day. By eradicating the challenge of time differences when ordering, a B2B online catalog will make it easier for your company to do business with an ever-widening market. You can also expand your reach to contacts within a company that your sales channels couldn’t contact such as engineers.
- Marketing automation software: An E-Commerce enabled website captures contact data including valuable email addresses from potential customers. Depending on their purchase history, you can catch the attention of new customers by deploying targeted marketing campaigns to entice these prospects to re-visit your website. You can also educate them on new products you are offering.
- Customer relations management software: Contact information including details on which webpages (products) they visited can be automatically imported into your CRM software. This provides valuable insight to user behavior and what products are sought after.
- Expand via other channels: Manufacturers and industrial distributors should strongly consider selling their products via Amazon or Google before their competitors do. Having experience with building E-Commerce site makes this an easier transition plus you have better control over your brand and margins.
- Distributors that are slow to engage E-Commerce are at risk: According to Industrial Supply, manufacturers are losing their patience with slow adopters and are more likely to step up their direct-to-end-user efforts and seek other sales channels. On the bright side, co-op dollars are available for those distributors that invest in E-Commerce along with the potential to add new product lines from current and new manufacturers which will ultimately drive revenue growth.
- Not all E-Commerce platforms are the same: In every case where we have replaced an inferior E-Commerce platform with a more advanced solution along with a well-designed, content rich website, online revenue has increased by a minimum of 50% in the first twelve months. We will discuss the many nuances that make one platform perform better than others in in our next Blog.
If you want to stay ahead of your competition and remain current with the latest digital marketing practices, then it is worth your time to learn about B2B E-Commerce product catalogs.
Marketing Metrics Corp. is here to assist your business with all aspects of digital marketing. We have in-depth experience producing E-Commerce enabled websites for manufacturers and distributors. Call us today at 262-691-9229, or use our online contact form to reach us.