“Which of our products should our company sell online?”
“Do we have to offer all of our products for purchase on our enterprise ecommerce site?”
The decision to take your traditional B2B business online via ecommerce is the first in a long line of choices that you will have to make before your site goes live. The next most important choice you must make after choosing your enterprise ecommerce platform is to decide which of your company’s products will be available to purchase online.
Some companies may immediately know that they will offer all of their products online, but others will need to carefully consider their product mix.
While there are no rules as to which items an enterprise ecommerce company should or shouldn’t offer online, here are some questions to consider as you create your product offering:
- Question: Does the product require licensure or certification to purchase it? Some products and services require certification or licensure before they can be purchased. For example, if your company supplies fire arms and ammunition to police departments around the country, how will you ensure that only bonafide police officers and their departments are able to purchase? What steps must be taken to ensure that your products only go to people licensed or approved to have them? Ecommerce Solution: Specialized products like hand guns, medications, and chemicals can successful be sold via ecommerce–you will just have to create a way to track and verify the identity of the purchaser such as badge number, license number or ID code.
- Question: Is your product heavy/oversized/hard to ship? While the size and weight of your product shouldn’t keep you from selling it online, you might need to give additional consideration to how you get the product to your customer in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. For example, if you are a concrete block manufacturer, a customer in Pennsylvania probably won’t want to purchase product made in your Arizona block plant. Ecommerce Solution: Think outside the box to get your product to your customer as quickly and cheaply as possible. In the concrete block example above, you might route your online ecommerce orders to the manufacturer that is closest to the order’s final destination to keep costs down.
- Question: Does your product require refrigeration or special handling? If you sell medications or foodstuffs that must be kept cool during shipping, you may shy away from putting your products online for purchase. Don’t let special shipping requirements keep you from reaping the benefits of ecommerce. Ecommerce Solution: Make sure that your customer knows a special type of shipping and handling applies to their order. Only offer shipping services that meet the requirements of the products–if overnight service on dry ice is required, make that the only option for your customer to purchase.
Nearly any B2B product can be sold online with a little bit of forethought and an ecommerce provider that understands your needs and whose platform supports your requirements.
Ready to learn more about how to make your B2B ecommerce site a success? Download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success: Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Intiative.