I-commerce

Data Power: Using Data to Reduce Friction in B2B Transactions

According to Accenture, 90% of B2B buyers want to digitize their procurement processes. Yet, only 7% of industrial suppliers have plans to transform their sales department within the next two years. 

This gap leaves a huge opportunity for those who act quickly. Business buyers are demanding the predictability, reliability, and seamlessness of online procurement. Companies that digitize to leverage the power of data can remove friction from B2B transactions and carve out a competitive advantage for years to come. 

Harness the power of data to sell online

To survive in the digital age, manufacturers and suppliers need to offer the convenience and personalization of consumer ecommerce—PLUS the more advanced capabilities required for industrial commerce (I-commerce).

Like individual consumers, business buyers want to find their desired items quickly. They want to know the cost without surprise charges. And they want to know if their items are in stock and when they will arrive. While these may seem like basic elements of ecommerce, these functions require data from multiple systems to “cooperate.”

For example, when a shopper arrives at your site, can they find products and product variations with on-page filters? The product data that lives on the back-end catalog of your site will need to be labeled properly and organized by part or hierarchy.

When a shopper selects an item, can they see whether or not the product is in stock, and from where it will ship? Your inventory management system will need to share data with the front-end of your store so shoppers know what’s available.

How about delivery times? After a customer completes checkout, can you send them an email with an accurate delivery window? You will need to combine logistics data and customer contact data to send out those notifications.

These are the minimum functions required for B2B ecommerce—but that’s not all. B2B commerce orders tend to be larger both in value and quantity. Products may have many customized parts, industrial equipment can be costly and complex to ship, and more stakeholders are participating. All of this needs to be taken into account when considering how to manage data in an I-commerce scenario. 

Graduate to I-commerce data power

I recently asked our customer teams to spend some time with our commerce partners to better understand their pain points and how they go about vetting partners. Feedback ranged from grievances about suppliers unable to drop-ship orders to a lack of product information online, and the need for data sharing capabilities across the supply chain.

One comment from a furniture reseller rings especially poignant:    

We are looking for the supplier to have a baseline of technology and data share capabilities. We don’t want to be faxing orders over. Do they have EDI? Can I place orders from an online catalog? Can they send invoices digitally? Is there an online claims process?”  

Clearly, digitization and integration are key to removing friction in B2B transactions. To create more seamless shopping experiences for partners like this furniture reseller, up-chain manufacturers and importers also need to leverage data share capabilities and insights to achieve the full benefits of I-commerce. 

Customization

Data on how often your customers purchase, what they purchase, and in what volume can be used to trigger custom email reminders for reorders. Purchase history data can also be used for targeted promotions.

Integration

B2B buyers work within a budget. They need to track cash flow, manage inventory, and provide accurate information to their own customers. As such, business-critical systems like ERP, CRM, and accounting must share data to provide a universal record across an organization. 

Data-share beyond your own walls is also important. By sharing data on incoming orders and expected revenue, distributors can gain access to financing and offer more favorable net terms to their buyers. This provides a capital boost to bridge the longer order-to-cash cycles common in B2B commerce.

As noted by our furniture reseller, if you can’t share data with external partners, they might find it too difficult to do business with you. 

Automation

By automating order flows, credit approvals, purchase orders, and client notifications, you can remove a great number of time-intensive manual processes. AI-powered chatbots also bring the capability of machine-to-human hand-offs for more efficient customer service.  

Predictability

The real power of a coherent data operation is that it enables predictability. With a rich body of transactional data, you can determine customer preferences, forecast demand, and optimize your inventory levels. 

You can also help your customers achieve predictability. By keeping customers in the loop on when their order will be fulfilled, when it will ship, and when their account will be charged, you help them eliminate the uncertainty factor that businesses detest.   

Create value with I-commerce

Most businesses are aware of the need to build data-driven operations but struggle to implement the necessary solutions. 

Inxeption is a digital commerce platform designed specifically to put data to work for online sellers. As a pioneer of I-commerce software, we offer a suite of tools for online selling, logistics, and financial services that goes beyond consumer-level ecommerce. 

Inxeption EasyOrder empowers partners to use customer data to launch dedicated digital sales channels with custom pricing and product offerings for specific clients.  

Inxeption’s out-of-the-box and custom integrations also ensure supply chain and customer visibility so data accuracy is never in question.  

By making the best use of data, your organization can open new channels of revenue, lower operating costs, and improve customer satisfaction. 

Ready to meet the rising expectations of B2B buyers? Inxeption is here to help. Speak to one of our I-commerce experts today.

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