Most of our customers work in the B2B environment, especially in mechanical engineering, industry and trade. Are you looking for ideas and solutions for your spare parts sales, live processes from your ERP system or a marketplace connection? Then you have come to the right place!
The development of eCommerce in B2B is slower than in B2C: requirements are often more complex, agreements with customers are individual, processes take a long time to come. But there are great opportunities in online business, for example in international markets. Automated processes reduce process costs to a minimum. And last but not least, more and more customers are demanding the option of ordering online around the clock and thus simplifying their own working methods.
We are familiar with the requirements of complex online shops in the B2B environment. We have developed standard solutions for topics faced by many companies. We can quickly adapt them to your processes. We develop everything else tailor-made according to your specifications. And if you are not yet sure which processes are the right ones for your business, or if your systems are already optimally prepared for online business, we will be happy to advise you.
Detailed texts, CAD drawings, manuals, variant management... on the Internet it is easy to offer your customers comprehensive information. Always up to date at all touchpoints, available around the clock, for self-service retrieval. This remains manageable for you if you keep data maintenance efficient. To achieve this, all data-giving systems must be well networked and centrally controlled. If your ERP system is integrated, your shop can also display individual products. Or current availabilities: Your customers simply determine these themselves before placing an order.
In the future, products will become even more complex and services more important. With close networking of information, you are always on the right track.
Your eCommerce offer will only be accepted if it offers a real benefit, for example more individual offers or more efficient processes. To do this, you need to know your customers as well as possible, i.e. gather as much information as possible. For example, delivery addresses, customer blocks or older orders that are stored in the ERP system, CRM or online shop. If a data record changes at one point, all others adapt automatically.
In B2B business, there are always at least two prices: List price and individual conditions. Negotiated discount scales, defined budgets, material surcharges or marketing campaigns can make your pricing even more complex. In our integrated online shops, you control them centrally from your ERP system. You maintain the data in one place and it is automatically updated in all systems. Even complex, worldwide shipping costs can be stored in your ERP system and are then exactly available to your customers before they place an order.
This is one of the main differences to eCommerce in B2C: Your customers do not come to your online shop because of the shopping experience. They are familiar with the topic and want to order efficiently. Offer them, for example, fast entry of material numbers, a simple re-order option for offline orders or upload options for their own order lists! These can also be processed automatically in the ERP system. Your customers are not the only ones who like this. It also relieves your employees of routine tasks and gives you the opportunity to use valuable sales resources to add value.
Any questions? Please feel free to contact us: +49 40 226 188 555.
Internationalization is one of the big trends in eCommerce. Almost all of the webshop projects we are currently working on also involve the integration of national companies. What does this mean for the integration of other systems involved, such as ERP or PIM solutions?
Why is internationalization currently such a big issue in the B2B environment?
Ernst Zellner: In B2B business, sales processes are often highly complex. Many companies have first gained experience in the German market, and perhaps even added Switzerland and Austria. Now they are taking the next step and gradually connecting their branches or national companies in non-German-speaking countries. They often have their own processes, sometimes even their own ERP systems, which have to be integrated into the overall eCommerce construct.
Do you have an example of this?
Ernst Zellner: In B2B, the availability check is a big issue. If my customer needs certain parts for his production, he needs to know exactly how many of them he can get and when. For example: A customer wants to order 100 pieces in the US shop. 50 are currently in stock in the American warehouse, 30 could come from Germany, 20 must be newly produced. Now the customer can decide: If he first orders the 50 pieces available overseas in a partial delivery, or waits for a complete delivery of the entire quantity. You can only offer the necessary transparency in real time with a perfectly integrated system.
And is that also possible if the parts are managed in different ERP systems?
Ernst Zellner: Yes, indeed. We often experience that national companies use their own ERP systems or can perhaps only make data available as Excel sheets. But that's not a problem for us. We integrate with our middleware IntegrationMan and standardized processes. Once they are up and running, the effort required to connect new systems remains within reasonable limits.
International prices are probably also a big topic, aren't they?
Ernst Zellner: Yes. In B2B, prices are usually negotiated individually and come from the ERP system in real time after data integration. But taxes and shipping costs must of course be clarified live if orders with complete costs are to be created directly in the SAP system. Today, companies often use external services for this, which we also connect. The result of a shipping time check can then be directly combined with the results of the availability check from the ERP system and displayed live in the shop.
Is the connection of SAP systems particularly complex?
Ernst Zellner: At PROCLANE we have been SAP-certified for many years anyway, working with our own SAP function modules for eCommerce, for example. SAP ERP systems divide the sales regions into sales areas. All information on subsidiaries or country sales organizations is bundled in these, and they do not have to match real countries or OXID clients. Reading and converting this data correctly is one of the central tasks in SAP/eCommerce integration.
Do you have a tip for companies that want to internationalize their eCommerce?
Ernst Zellner: Think big, as early as possible. The more comprehensive you consider the possibilities and special features of your international business in the concept phase, the more doors you will keep open. And the easier it will be later to map country-specific processes online.
The interview with Ernst Zellner published here first appeared in the eCommerce blog of OXID eSales.