Today’s world is a Digital one. A majority of the population is digitally literate. Almost all daily transactions – social as well as business related, have some or the other part of it being completed via a digital network - whether it’s a utility bill payment, connecting with friends and family or carrying out an analysis of any phenomenon ranging from tracking movement of stocks to earthquakes and typhoons. How is it possible then for any business venture to be aloof from this digital revolution?
The maxim ‘Consumer is king’ may have originated hundreds of years ago, but it is equally relevant today. It is but natural that all businesses catering directly to the end-user were the first to adapt their business model to incorporate the digital infrastructure. Thus was born the B2C digital interface of online shopping sites like Amazon, Flipkart, Grofers, etc. In a span of even less than a decade, the average consumer is hooked to online shopping and digital transactions. Business organizations have fine-tuned their apps and backend infrastructure in accordance with client feedback and are running more efficiently than ever before.
Now the question is, if a well balanced and dynamic e-store model is successful in the B2C sector, why is it not yet a hit in the B2B segment? The answer is simple. The B2B marketplace is not the same as its B2C counterpart. The scale, complexity and real-world situations arising one step deeper in the supply chain than that serving the end user has its unique set of requirements and challenges. Implementing an effective online ordering system in the B2B space requires experience in the market place itself along with the digital expertise in handling large amounts of data and the ability to link it in a meaningful and efficient manner so as to generate required reports in real time.
An effective online ordering system optimized for the B2B domain must have the following characteristics:
An average individual working in the B2B sector handles bulk orders of multiple items – either he is the client in which case his wish list has multiple items in varying quantities with different time priorities, or he is the supplier who needs to have all the needs of his entire client-list in one place at one time so that he can plan his production and supply schedule accordingly. With multiple modes of placing and receiving an order – via telephone, fax, email or even social media messaging apps, even maintaining a simple order-book without error is a huge task. If this task is to be streamlined by a digital ordering system, it is imperative that this layer of online interface doesn’t add any more complexity to the system. The user should feel attracted to use the system instead of the normally accepted manual way of doing things. This necessitates a strong backend infrastructure with robust database management and interlinking of reports so that errors are eliminated and a single entry in the system gets reflected all across the system so that real time reports are accurate and up to date.
Just because the online ordering system for the B2B segment is targeted at industry, not the end-user, it doesn’t mean that the system shouldn’t have an appealing aesthetic sense with multiple options to customize the user experience. On the contrary, there is a greater need of customization in terms of order quantities, special price applicability, bulk order discount eligibility; fast-track automated ordering of regular items, etc. Each user should be given the flexibility to ‘design’ his dashboard suitable to his own industry-specific needs. This goes a long way in having a system accepted in the marketplace.
This feature is a must have for any successful digital enterprise. All digital systems running on a PC or on the Cloud must be accessible by a simple and easy to use mobile application on both, the iOS and Android platforms. Data availability and report representation at the fingertips of decision makers is the key in taking crucial business decisions. This is facilitated by giving the user access to reports on any mobile device that he may prefer to use.
Whether you are a supplier or a client, once you are using an online ordering system, you should have access to real time data about existing stock of an item of your interest – both with you and with your supplier/client. This helps in planning purchases and production schedules well before stocks hit critically low levels. Good planning ensures smooth functioning of business which translates into more profitability.
Remembering your order history, frequency of ordering a particular item, preferred quantity of ordering an item, etc are some features which helps you place an order more effectively. The system prompts you if you forget to place an order of some item which is not as frequently ordered but is a critical component of your business. Similarly, it relieves you of wasting your time typing in the same order each time. This helps you allocate your time in more productive areas of your business than just simple administrative tasks.
The B2B marketplace caters to a vast number of industries across verticals. There are many specific requirements of businesses ranging from delivery times to packaging instructions to batch deliveries and more. A robust online ordering system should provide its users a range of options so that they not only get what they want but they get it at a time and place of their choosing in the exact form they require it. Also, real time tracking of a placed order helps in making arrangements further down the supply line. Hence, this feature should be essentially provided in the system.
As you can see, a lot of your online business’s success depends on the type of online ordering system you use. It goes without saying that you should look for experts at developing this crucial component of your business. The ‘Magento Stores’ developed by Team Suria is the definitive answer to this critical question. Call us or visit us at our website to know how can you improve your business prospects and realize its true potential.
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