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If it's easier to facilitate sales online, then one of your top priorities as a merchant should be to get your customers to go online to buy from your organization. That's the sentiment of an article in Manufacturing.net. But while eCommerce has grown dramatically in the B2B space in recent years, there continue to be those (mainly stubborn) customers who have been slow to embrace the idea of buying products and services online.
The article says merchants must convince customers to get online. Given the trend toward using the internet to facilitate all businesses processes, it's understandable why companies would want to do this. Collecting the customer base in one centralized online space has value. That might not be the best move at this point. Given the number of people who have not gone online to buy, it's important for merchants to be able to accommodate customers, regardless of how they prefer to buy and pay.
What merchants can do is implement an eCommerce platform that adds value to a customer's shopping experience. Not only could this nudge customers in the online direction, it will give those who are buying from your website an experience that will keep them coming back.
Bob Barr, the article's author, said that some customers appreciate the intimate feel of an over-the-phone sales call, so emulating this on your website could further promote the value of your eCommerce system.
"What do customers want the most from you? What are the top five reasons people call? Invoices? Data sheets? Product information? Order status? Your current call center rep might be able to handle these requests in a flash, but if you make them available online, customers will soon click instead of call and your call center reps will have time to serve and sell," Barr wrote. "You can take these insights to your IT organization to drive a next-generation experience online whether you choose to develop it internally or license a state-of-the-art software package and implement it with our without external consulting support."
Of course, you will want to have a B2B eCommerce solution that not only works for your customers, but works for you as well. Level 3 processing is an important need, as it can qualify you for the lowest possible interchange rate. This maximizes the value of each transaction, so when your customers go online to buy, you can experience increased profitability.
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