Industry forecasts predict manufacturers and wholesalers will spend more annually on ecommerce technology than online retailers by 2019. When companies are embarking on their B2B ecommerce technology investments where do they start? This was the topic of a panel at the B2BecWorld Executive Seminar in New York City this month. I caught up with panelist, Mark Fitzgerald, COO of POS Supply Solutions to share more insight on how the company made its technology investments. POS Supply Solutions, a distributor of point of sale and transaction supplies, was an early adopter of NetSuite ERP and recently completed the suite by adding SuiteCommerce Advanced and the Bronto Marketing Platform.
What was the decision process POS Supply Solutions went through when selecting a B2B ecommerce solution?
When selecting a technology platform, it’s important to make it a team decision. No matter the size of your organization, eliminating silos builds trust across the organization. From the start, our team was all on the same page that we needed to adopt a single platform solution, so that made our decision process a lot easier.
What was your key focus for choosing a commerce platform?
There were three key focus areas for my team in selecting our platform that included:
- Simplicity –We wanted a solution that allowed our midsized company to act as a large enterprise, but at the same time gave us the flexibility and nimbleness of a startup. You can roll out all the bells and whistles of a complex solution, but if you don’t have the capacity to take advantage of them, you’re just wasting money.
- Visibility – We wanted to adopt a unified solution so we would have a single source of financials, inventory, order and customer data. Real-time visibility across the entire organization allows us to make solid business decisions.
- Personalization – With a single source of truth, we can take our customer experience one step further. This data allows us to engage with customers consistently regardless of channel and focus on developing a deeper and more meaningful connection with them.
Fitzgerald speaking on panel at B2BecWorld Executive Summit
What were some of your specific solution requirements?
We started to see more and more customers using mobile, so a mobile-first design was a top requirement. B2B customers are busy -- they need to make decisions quickly, so it was important to be able to put the power in the customers’ hands. Our previous site didn’t offer a responsive design, so we saw more customers using mobile for product research and then purchasing on desktop. Now, with a mobile-optimized site, we’re seeing mobile conversion rates steadily increasing.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you can give people getting ready to overhaul their B2B ecommerce solution?
B2B buyers come to your site with a need versus B2C shoppers who visit a website with a want. Our job is to make our customers' lives easier. In order to do that, you need a platform that supports smart search, fast checkout and predictable delivery.
Ultimately the customer needs to know that they can get what they need on your site without a hassle. Doing the little things right is often the most important building block to long-term customer loyalty.