Overcoming 3 Common B2B eCommerce Obstacles
It’s predicted that the B2B eCommerce market will near $7 trillion by 2020.
Yes, that’s trillion with a capital T.
The writing is on the wall: wholesale brands need to move from pen and paper to a digital platform or prepare for lower sales and revenues.
Making the digital transformation includes transcending several obstacles, three of which are the most common.
1. The Back-End Problem
Seemingly troubling questions arise when a brand seriously considers going digital, such as:
What will it cost to move inventory processes, catalog creation/presentation and transactions to a B2B eCommerce platform?
Will it be difficult for employees to learn the new system?
Who will manage it?
Platform integration and the costs (and headaches) associated with it can cause an otherwise sensible executive team to balk.
In the case of using B2B eCommerce, it’s a matter of pay now or pay later.
Failing to adapt to the pace of change means only one thing — that it won’t be long before your brand sees declining growth.
2. The Not-Enough-Human-Capital Problem
For small-to-medium-size businesses (SMBs), the cost of hiring an additional staff member is prohibitive. But consider the cost of errors and lost revenues.
The cost savings alone due to reduced order-entry errors will allow a company to pay someone to manage their B2B eCommerce presence.
The cost savings alone due to reduced order-entry errors will allow a company to pay someone to manage their B2B eCommerce presence. In most cases, the reduced headcount needed in other areas will allow you to move staff to this new function.
You will end up saving money from B2B eCommerce, so suck it up and either retrain your existing staff or bring in a contractor or permanent solution.
3. The-Executive-Team-Isn’t-Into-It Problem
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
The rank and file can evangelize all they want, but until the CEO, CIO and head of sales are ready to embrace B2B eCommerce, it won’t happen. Without that level of support, there’s no way to get the resources needed to evolve the business.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Wrong.
We shall overcome… But how?
First, consider how the three barriers listed above apply to your brand.
Are you a small business that can’t afford to re-prioritize or make new hires?
Start small and, with the gains, take the required next step.
Are you a big, well-known brand with complex back-end systems that don’t lend themselves easily to integration?
Consider working with a consultant to help you leverage SaaS (software as a service) providers or create a phased plan for re-platforming.
Working to overcome internal barriers is the only way forward — indeed, the only path to success in a world where eCommerce is now the norm.
Are you an eCommerce manager with no “e” to speak of inside your organization?
Create a concise presentation and case study about the potential gains your company could reap and shop it around internally, and embrace the concept of “failing fast.”
Create small pilot programs that can be easily digested by your executive team.
Change is difficult, and the digital transformation can seem overwhelming, but working to overcome internal barriers is the only way forward — indeed, the only path to success in a world where eCommerce is now the norm.
Remember: that’s trillion with a capital T!