To create a great digital customer experience, many companies have to transform their businesses. While we talk about Transformation and Customer Experience together, these words mean drastically different things. In this SlideDoc, I present a new way to look at Customer Experience as it fits into Transformation.
For part of this message in a keynote that I delivered – take a look at this post and YouTube video
What are the basics of B2B eCommerce? What do customers expect when they come to your site? How do we meet those expectations? In this SlideDoc, we walk through the basic expectations, and how to deliver a commerce experience that meets the basic expectations of your customers.
Selecting an E-Commerce platform for your B2B organization can be a difficult task. In this SlideDoc, we start the process of identifying Best Practices for selecting a platform.
5 + 1 Best Practices for Selecting Your B2B eCommerce Platform
- Start with writing a business case. Your business case should include a return on investment based on hard data like site traffic, conversion and average order value and soft data like reduced operational cost and cost per customer call. Use your Business Case to prioritize what you do first and to measure the effectiveness of
- Understand the components of an eCommerce system – get educated on every aspect of an eCommerce platform. Leave the B2B part out for now – just understand all the components. Learn how the customer experience is created, and how you use the out of the box (OOTB) functionality. What you will find is common features that span across platforms – things like the product information, shopping cart, and orders. That’s a lot of work I know – which means you probably don’t want to do this with 12 vendors.
- Get IT and Marketing on the same page – yeah, I need about 10 posts on this one I know. To select a platform, you need a balance between what needs to be built (the experience) and how it will be built (the technology). If you can come together with joint requirements, use cases, and a joint business case you will be ahead of the game. IT – really understand what your business counter parts need, why they need it, and what tools they need to keep everything fresh. Your customer experience does matter, no matter how much of a geek you are. Marketing – regardless of what is out of the box, there is a bunch of work your IT team needs to do to get ready for this type of project within your internal systems. Help each other out – advocate for each other, and maybe even work to understand each other. I promise it will go a long way.
- Figure out what requirements are unique to your business or industry – the tendency in developing requirements is to focus on where you are unique. While you certainly need to understand these unique requirements – the chances that a platform will provide these requirements out of the box are slim. Therefore, you need to select a platform that best meets the entirety of your needs, not just platforms that can custom build you unique requirements the fastest in a POC.
- Use cases instead of RFPs – put your money and resources into building use cases. Use cases that address both common features (to help you differentiate the platforms) and a few to help you figure out how your unique requirements would be done. On the latter, ask a thousand questions – how did you build that? how was that customized? configured? Make sure that your team actually has read and agrees with all of the use cases. Ideally, everyone in the room would have had a hand in developing the use cases and even debated (even argued) about which ones should be in included. I am not saying don’t have an RFP, but make sure you concentrate on your use cases.
- Integration, integration, integration – I can’t talk enough about integration. For B2B companies, integration is critical. Integration with ERP, CRM, Pricing Engines, Order Management, Content Management, PIM, and many others. Understand how integration will be done, and build requirements around integration that you can have a thorough conversation around. Will you use an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), bulk files? Do you have data quality issues that need to be included? There are so many methods of integration – understand everything around integration and all of your options. An integration conversation is typically done as part of a technical architecture discussion which is just fine. Your job is to understand how the platform integrates with your environment, so come prepared with questions.
As I published first on Internet Retailer In the early days of business-to-business e-commerce, companies housed product in marketing catalogues, enterprise resource planning systems or in the heads of salespeople. The data in ERP and other systems was typically only meant for internal use, and items like descriptions and attributes (often abbreviated) were too cryptic […]
In December of last year, I was able to deliver a keynote address at the B2B Multi-Channel event titled Building a Business Case for B2B E-Commerce.
If you are looking for a great B2B eCommerce Example, Quill.com is a great role model. From search to account management, Quill is focused on the Customer Experience and masking the complexity of ordering in a B2B environment.
Quill.com is a great example that showcases most of the best practices found in B2B eCommerce.
70% of web activity is spent on the process of finding information.
Quill recognizes this statistic for their own site, and it is apparent that they have invested into their entire search and navigation experience. Search and Navigation are tied together, not silos. You can search then navigate, or navigate then search for the purpose of getting their customers to exactly the right product or content.
Their Type Ahead is especially impressive with all types of content coming back in the drop down. Products, categories and even merchandising content with images are returned back as the user types into the search box.
Navigation includes a vast array and variety of attributes to be able to navigate on. These attributes stay relevant based on what the user is search on. The attributes themselves are extremely detailed and allow the user to multi-select, and even search within the results and attributes.
ROI is often calculated based on Traffic and Conversion, both of which Quill does an excellent job.
The B2B eCommerce Summit in Chicago was a huge success with fantastic content and speakers. I recapped the Summit over on the Oracle Customer Experience Blog.