The First Step in Building the Foundation for eCommerce

The First Step in Building the Foundation for eCommerce
September 6, 2016 Insite Software

Steps2Success_v3-01Creating a rich product detail page is the first step in eCommerce readiness.

B2B buyers start by researching products online. In fact, Google estimates that 89% of B2B buyers research online. The most important first step in building your eCommerce website is creating an online catalog with high-quality product content that results in a rich product detail page experience for your customers. If you do not have high-quality product content, your customers may end up at a competitor’s website to get the information they need, and they may choose to transact there, because it is easier.

Rich product detail pages are the foundation of your website. The “detail page” is where your customers go to find information about the product, including product description, images and technical specifications. Most importantly, the product detail page is where the customer makes the decision to purchase. If you do not have a rich product detail page, you risk losing your customers to your online competitors who offer a better detail page experience. The steps to building out a rich product detail page are below.

Make sure you’ve got good data
Availability of high-quality product data will separate good websites from great websites, but creating high-quality product data can be a challenge. Prioritize cleaning up critical data that must be present for each product, and then identify what data can be added over time. A few things to consider:

  • Make sure product data is 100% accurate and complete, including product name, description, part number, price and image.
  • If new products originate in your ERP, consider adding new fields to capture some additional minimum data for a better experience, such as an SEO-friendly product name and description.
  • Search engines will rank rich product detail pages higher than product detail pages with no images or missing data

Get the right products online
Most manufacturers and distributors have tens of thousands of items, if not more. With this many items, creating a digital catalog may seem overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be.

  • Start with the 20% of your products that drive 80% of your sales.
  • Choose in-stock products, and make sure the product data is 100% complete.
  • Offer the ability to add non-stocked items to an online order using a text field for part number.

Build intuitive catalog navigation
Catalog navigation is critical to helping your new and existing customers find what they are seeking, especially if they are not familiar with your products or if they are looking for a new product. An intuitive catalog for your customers is not the same as an intuitive catalog for your sales team. Avoid the mistake of copying the category structure from your sourcing-focused ERP, or even from your printed catalog.

  • Focus on making your product easy to locate, by creating intuitive navigation that matches your users’ classification the products, which might be different than how you organize them internally.
  • Create a catalog with a limited set of product types and sub-categories, and eliminate the use of “miscellaneous” or “other” categories completely.

To learn more about how to get started in building your eCommerce experience, download Insite’s Getting Started Guide – Top 3 Ways to Get Started with B2B eCommerce.

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