A few last tips from the commerce experts at Insite on turning the top 3 disruptors in 2017 into competitive advantages for mid-size industrial distributors
In this series we’ve explored the most disruptive factors facing mid-sized industrial distributors today – changing customer influences, popup sites and mega marketplaces. We’ve also discussed ways that a new eCommerce perspective can actually help distributors turn those disruptors from threats to your business, into actual competitive advantages. In our final post of the series, we’re going to pull it all together with the best advice from the commerce experts at Insite.
The Right Commerce Solution Begins with the Right Perspective
The B2B customer experience is incredibly complex. Each buying cycle may be distinct. Each buyer or set of buyers may have their own unique rules. In many cases a B2B distributor will never realize a 100% self-directed buying experience and may still require direct support. The right perspective means understanding that eCommerce for B2B is part of a unified commerce environment that can address all of these complexities. In fact, a mid-sized distributor with the right eCommerce solution can use these intricacies to their advantage by following this advice from the commerce experts at Insite:
- Customize the customer experience to meet the needs of each and every buyer. Popup sites fail because they rarely provide the support needed for complex B2B transactions. Mega marketplaces fail when they can’t adapt their processes to the unique needs of an individual customer. An eCommerce solution that is built for B2B will have the primary components necessary to implement solutions quickly. Yet the right platform lends itself to efficient customizations for specific buying scenarios.
- Map the solution to a blended online/offline customer experience. Buyers, partners and reps must be able to connect both online and offline to access customized accurate information and support. A mid-sized distributor with the right eCommerce solution can empower not only buyers, but internal sales and support teams with access to custom catalogs, unique pricing, support and other pieces of vital information at every step in the buying cycle, no matter how complex the scenario. The result is a commerce environment synchronized between the self-directed online experience with the necessary offline, personal sales and support tasks.
- Compete with value, not price. Leveraging price as the main competitive advantage against a popup site or a mega marketplace will rarely work for a mid-sized distributor. The good news is that, B2B buyers rarely choose a solution based solely on price. Mid-sized distributors have the unique advantage of being just the right size to develop customized, supported commerce solutions for their customers. With the right commerce solution, you can provide sophisticated self-service capabilities like research, account histories, pricing and promotions, product comparisons without taking forever to get to market. In addition, a strong commerce solution can easily integrate with backend systems like fulfillment, ERP and CRM without becoming too ponderous.
The bottom line is that the disruption caused by customer influences that continue to evolve, pesky popup sites trying to create “Amazon-like” experiences, and mega marketplaces attempting to grab huge chunks of the market can be overcome. However, it will take the right perspective – that of a unified, integrated commerce environment – to meet these challenges.