Digital Twin System in eCommerce Supply Chain- Explained

There are many efficient methods to make your eCommerce supply chain and one such method is a digital twin system. It is one of the most effective techniques and is now commonly adopted by eCommerce businesses of all sizes. What is a digital twin system, what are its benefits and how does it work? We try to break this down for you in the following infographic. Check it out!

If you are looking for an omnichannel inventory management solution with integrated B2B order management for your eCommerce business, drop us a line at [email protected] or directly sign up for a demo here

Top 5 Strategies to Increase your eCommerce Store Conversion Rate- Infographic

The digital world is increasingly competitive and running an eCommerce store in the cut-throat environment is a daunting task. There are some do’s and don’ts when it comes to encouraging shoppers to buy from your brand and conversion always remain the most important metric for a growing eCommerce business.

Here, we have a compilation of the top 5 eCommerce marketing strategies to increase the conversion rate for your digital store. These tactics apply whether you are running the store all by yourself or have someone manage it for you. Take a look.

Are you looking for an omnichannel inventory management solution with integrated B2B order management for your eCommerce business? Drop us a line at [email protected] or directly sign up for a demo here.

Cross Border eCommerce Challenges and How to Overcome them- Infographic

Every brand dreams of selling overseas and expanding its market outreach. While it might have seemed far-fetched for brands a few years back, the internet-first brands are already taking up the challenge and nailing it. Speaking of challenges, cross-border eCommerce comes with its own set of roadblocks and that’s what we are addressing in this infographic today. Check it out!

Are you looking for an omnichannel inventory management solution with integrated B2B order management for your eCommerce business? Drop us a line at [email protected] or directly sign up for a demo here.

A Comprehensive Guide to B2B eCommerce- Types, Benefits, Challenges

source: shiyorama

 

Table of Content

The aftermath of a widespread pandemic has completely transformed the way we look at eCommerce. The popular commerce domain is not just about anything that can be sold online but for those who will do anything to meet their customers where they are. The definition of what can be sold online has changed, and that’s why we are discussing what we call B2B eCommerce. 

Like any other business transaction, B2B is simply trade between businesses and when it happens on an internet-based sales portal, it’s called B2B eCommerce. However, there are different kinds of B2B eCommerce and we will discuss them one by one in this article. Let’s get started, shall we?

 

B2B eCommerce Types

B2B eCommerce can take many forms based on the type of transaction, parties involved, item procurement, manufacturing, and distribution. 

B2B2C 

In this type of eCommerce, there is no middleman between the B2B organization and the B2C organization, putting both businesses directly in touch with the end consumer. This type of model allows you to extend market share directly with the end consumers. 

How it works: To understand this model better, look at how a wholesaler and manufacturer do business with a B2B or a B2C. Going by the same concept, a wholesaler or a manufacturer sends goods to a business by either partnering or directly selling to them, and the business further sells them to the end consumers, making it B2B2C. And, when all the transactions between the wholesaler, business, and the consumer take place on an eCommerce platform, it qualifies as a B2B2B eCommerce model.

UPLIFT Desk is a great example of a B2B2C eCommerce business model. The company is a manufacturer and retailer of standing desks, and other office accessories that are available online for end consumers while the company is also maintaining its relationship with larger B2B customers like M.I.T, Google, etc via the same eCommerce website. 

Supplier oriented

In this model, a bunch of suppliers come together to run a marketplace that acts as an intermediary sales channel to connect with different buyers. 

Here’s how it works: The buyers can search for products and services offered by different suppliers on that marketplace and pick the one that suits their needs. For instance, if you want to buy a set of office furniture, you can head over to the website and search for exactly what you need- type of material (wood/plastic/fibre), neck support option, price range, color, etc. On the website, you will find several options from different suppliers that might fit your requirements and you can pick from whatever comes close. 

The best example of this type of eCommerce model is Cisco’s online marketplace called Cisco connection Online. This model came into being 3 years after Cisco started selling online. The customer started using Cisco’s online marketplace to download applications, check orders, and even look for technical support. 

 

Wholesale 

In a basic wholesale model, businesses purchase goods in bulk for a relatively lower price and then sell them to the consumers at retail value. These goods are purchased directly from the manufacturers or distributors usually. Simply put, it is the sale of goods in bulk to other businesses. And, when these transactions take place via a digital platform, you get what we call a wholesale B2B eCommerce business model.

Here’s how it works: In this model, the B2B eCommerce platform is used for end-to-end transactions. Additionally, the wholesalers can also choose to display their products on various eCommerce platforms and make it easier for businesses to take a quick and selective purchase decision.

Wholesale B2B eCommerce models are very prevalent, and you can find them in several industries including construction, food business, medicines, etc. The eCommerce model for wholesale B2B has come a long way from conventional commerce when order transactions occurred over phone calls or emails. 

Buyer oriented

In this model, the buyer usually owns the marketplace and invites suppliers and manufacturers to list their products for display. Think of this model as the supplier-oriented one, but with role-reversal.

Here’s how it works: The buyers could already do their research on similar products and services and compare their prices. The buyer then opens a bidding site where the particular product is available from a variety of sellers and the best one in terms of quality and cost gets picked up. 

GE’s electronic is one of the few companies that has successfully implemented a buyer-oriented marketplace called GE TPN Post. Buyers pay a standard fee for using the company’s bidding site and then post their project information/requirements on the site. The potential suppliers download this information and submit their bids to complete the project. The buyers can compare all the bids that they receive and pick the one that they like. 

For sellers, this serves as a communication platform with a plethora of buyers and also helps them expand their market reach with lower operating costs.

 

Manufacturers and Distributors

These could be two separate models where manufacturers and distributors work independently or they could come together and make the most out of it for greater growth opportunity. Let’s understand them separately.

Here’s how it works: In the manufacturer-based B2B model, manufacturers make products using raw materials and independent parts on a big scale, and they sell these finished goods to other manufacturers who might use them as a part of a larger project. 

One of the most prominent examples is the manufactures in the automobile industry. The manufacturer makes individual parts like a fuel pump, tire, seats, or engine and sells them to an automotive company that builds the entire car from the required parts and sells it to the end consumer.

Knauf Industries Automotive is an auto parts manufacturing company that operates on this B2B eCommerce model. 

The distributors, on the other hand, work in proximity with manufacturers to bring visibility to the goods they are producing. These distributors sell the products to other manufacturers on eCommerce platforms. 

Mister Auto is the best example for this type of model. The online retailer has partnered with several parts manufacturers to sell products across categories including tires, batteries, oils, suspension systems, exhaust, and more.

Intermediary-oriented marketplace

This concept is similar to intermediary-based digital storefronts developed for B2C eCommerce. 

Here’s how it works: In this model, an intermediary company or a third business establishes and runs an online platform or website where other businesses, buyers, and sellers come together to conduct business with each other. These websites are called intermediary-oriented marketplaces. 

The best example of an intermediary-oriented marketplace is Alibaba. The platform was created to provide a B2B portal to connect native manufacturers with overseas buyers on an online platform.

All the B2B business models have their own set of advantages and loopholes, however, taking them onto a digital media platform weeds out the major pain points and provides massive growth opportunities. Let’s look at some of those benefits here:

 

B2B eCommerce Benefits

Be where your customers are and meet new ones

“Be where your customers are”, cannot be stressed on enough. The number of online transactions has increased manifolds ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. One of the major misconceptions about the B2B businesses is that they primarily operate it offline. The notions have changed since the pandemic, and now more and more businesses are going online, irrespective of their operating models. This is where the consumer is, and a brand ought to be if they want to cater to their audiences. 

By extending your business on the online platforms, you can make use of a number of digital marketing tactics to increase your reach. The modern buyer prefers to buy products online, irrespective of the model of the business selling them. The buyer in the future will insist on shopping online, as they are already getting used to it. It’s important that you already jump on the bandwagon and make it easier for your customers to make repeat purchases.

Better supplier and customer management

B2B eCommerce solution, with its concept, offers better management opportunities for both the suppliers and customers. The digital part of it allows room for automation, easy tracking, real-time updates, etc… all managed using a software. Furthermore, the order details help provide better customer service and also follow becomes easy.

You can use the customer information to offer a more personalized shopping experience. Managing your suppliers ensures smooth sailing for your business and that essentially ensures that your customers are happy. Going digital makes it a win-win situation for all parties involved.

Cross-selling and upselling for current customers

One of the major disadvantages of selling offline is that the option to cross-sell and upsell is quite limited. When you take your business online, you’ll not only reach new customers but also be able to set up an automated cross-sell and up-sell recommendation system. Again, this approach goes hand-in-hand with providing an excellent and highly personalized customer experience.

Get actionable insights using data analytics

The digital platform comes with the added advantage of data analytics or insights that can be worked upon to make better business decisions. Depending upon the software you are using, the analytics feature provides an in-depth analysis of sales effectiveness and other business insights. Additionally, you can generate different business reports to understand your progress and strategize accordingly.

Data analytics will help you figure what’s working and what’s not for your business. You can also zoom in on what the customer is looking for on your website and based on that information,  take measures to increase engagement. 

Brand awareness

The quickest and easiest way to spread the word about your brand is digital media. Your online presence dictates how people know you as a brand. eCommerce for B2B can help improve brand awareness in the marketplace. 

When you create an eCommerce website for your business, make sure your product pages are SEO-optimized and well-indexed so that search engines can crawl them. This will ensure that your target audience finds you. This also gives you an edge over the competition, and you can stay ahead in the game with your marketing strategies. 

While the advantages of B2B going digital outweigh the hardships, they exist, nonetheless. However, with the resources and tech available at hand today, these roadblocks can be tackled effectively. In the following section, we will discuss the major B2B challenges and their solutions in detail.

 

Challenges in B2B eCommerce

Let’s take a look at some of the major challenges that businesses have to face while in the eCommerce market.

Customer-specific and Bulk deal pricing 

Client and channel partner relationships are crucial aspects for any B2B, and these relationships take time and energy to materialize. You can’t afford to treat every client the same. There must be a balance between the trusted long-time partners and those coming to your website for the first time. When it comes to  customer-specific pricing, you will need to have a different pricing strategy for different customers based on the business they bring, the time they have spent with your company, and the quantity of product they buy from you over a period of time. 

Let’s understand with an example, there are three clients- A, B, and C. 

Client A– This is a loyal customer who has been doing business with you since the very beginning. 

Client B– This is a relatively new customer but buys frequently and in bulk.

Client C– This is a prospect who has come to your website for the first time and has no history of any prior interactions with your business. 

Would you keep the pricing strategy the same for all three? Not likely!

One scenario is- “A” might be paying less than “C”, and B might be paying the same as A for the same product because they are buying in bulk. And, there could be a lot of different permutations to it.

So, how do you deal with customer-specific pricing? Well, you can start by introducing contract and pricing logic to all your customer relationships based on contract terms with different customers.

The pricing structure largely depends on volume for most B2B companies, which can be a roadblock for processing systems. To manage the bulk pricing issues, you can use a quote management software to set up certain rules or come up with a system that automatically permits volume discounts when someone orders a particular quantity of a product. You can set more rules or triggers which allow you to offer multi-tiered pricing for the clients that order in large quantities. 

Product Display 

Buying online always comes with a dilemma of whether or not the product will look like its pictures in the real-life. The customers are always apprehensive of the look and feel of the product when bought online. But then, this issue holds true for your competitors as well. So, you certainly have to be better at product demonstrations than they are. In other words, your product display should be so on point that it leaves no apprehensions for the customer’s imagination. It should be clear, well-elaborated, and displayed from all angles for a more closer to reality customer experience.

 Here is a checklist for a standard and effective product display practice:

  • Upload high-quality product images- Try using the natural light with a light background to give the most authentic version possible. If possible, provide a 360-degree view of the product to display the product from all angles.
  • Product description: Make sure that the product description is accurate and complete. The buyers should not be looking for assistance regarding the features. This only increases the purchase time and might exhaust them into not deciding. 
  • Easy Return Policy: Make sure that your return and refund policy is clearly visible and the entire process is seamless and quick. This strengthens the buyer’s confidence in your brand. 
  • Customer Reviews: Always keep a section for product reviews.  This will help you get insights about whether or not a product is working out for your customers.

Maintaining Client relationships

Earlier in the article, we discussed handling customer-specific pricing as a part of managing client relationships. There is that and so much more when it comes to managing multitudes of customers and keeping them all satisfied. Managing client relationships comes exclusively with B2B companies. Every client has their own set of requirements, and their expectations from your company vary too. If they are not taken care of, the client might take their business to someone else. In a way, client relationships can make or break a B2B business. 

Before the situation gets out of hand, work on your client relationship management strategy and delegate the tasks to your team. For the accounts that are inactive, your team must have a follow-up strategy in place and conduct regular checks as to what’s working for your clients. This can be managed efficiently by integrating a CRM. It essentially streamlines client interactions and everything is recorded so you can always go back and check who needs your attention and when. You can delegate different accounts to different team members and check on the status easily.

Shipping

Whether it is a B2B, B2C, or any other kind of eCommerce business, timely delivery is a ubiquitous expectation. While it’s comparatively easier to handle shipping for B2C products, the very nature of B2B products makes it slightly difficult to tackle shipping related issues. Nonetheless, a delayed delivery always creates a bad impression, not to mention that order cancellation is always a possibility. 

To handle the shipment issues, you can always integrate shipment software into the company’s current platform. This streamlines order processing and also ensures that buyers are receiving the right product in the right quantity and that the delivery information is accurate. You can track your previous orders, upcoming ones, and the ones that are in transit to stay well-informed while answering client queries. A shipping software also helps in offering customized buying experiences based on their shopping locales of the buyers.

Fulfillment

If someone can remotely access a look of your products through an eCommerce website, it becomes imperative that you deliver to their location. Covering all the locations is next to impossible but a lot of B2B companies are doing it and reaching to the very niche of locales. For the B2B companies previously operating offline, fulfillment can be a major pain point and without proper knowledge of what can be done about it, they are bound to be doomed. 

Here’s what you do about it? You can either own multiple warehouses and make sure that the maximum area is covered and all your current and potential customers are within reach. If you are a small company or just someone who doesn’t want to waste many resources on warehouse management, you can always engage  3PLs and 4PLs. These companies manage  the entire distribution, storage, transport, and fulfillment process for several businesses and are well-aware of the regulations and guidelines that come along with the entire fulfillment process. 

Product Diversity

One of the greatest challenges faced by B2B companies is to manage different kinds and categories of products under one roof. Selling mixed products under one parent company often leads to a mixup. If your categories come with manageable product diversification, you don’t have to worry so much. In any other case, you should come up with microsites within the main website for different departments. Having said that, you should always make an informed and well-researched decision as to how much diversification your business needs as it may vary from company to company.

With microsites for different product categories, you can effectively control different sections of your product catalog and separately resolve the issues and client queries that come with it. 

Additionally, order management, transactions, and shipments can be handled more conveniently. Running multiple subsites enables you to quickly identify any errors and rectify them immediately. You can also have dedicated support teams for different sites and manage all your products smoothly. It’s basically a “divide and conquer” the B2B eCommerce strategy.

Custom configuration of products

Unlike most B2C companies, the client base of a B2B company seeks customization to a certain level. While this seems like a far-fetched possibility for B2B companies operating digitally, a lot of companies are already offering clients to configure, customize as well as view their custom products in real-time. However, a customized view, let alone a customized product is limited to a certain category or parts of the product. So, you need to check what level of customization you can offer and then accordingly find a tool to assist you with just that.  

Here’s an example– Automobile giant Dodge allows its shoppers to design and customize their own Ram trucks, one of the most popular vehicles from the company. You can pick the year, model, select the bed length, interior, and exterior features, choose your configuration, and even pick the colors. 

Source: Dave Smith

 

With the tech at hand today, you can look out for options that allow digital customization for your products and offer an immersive experience to your customers. Using a visual product customization software is a good way to start. 

All of the challenges that we have discussed here can be managed effectively one way or another. For a big B2B company, overcoming these hurdles can be relatively more feasible than that for a small B2B business that has just started out digitally. Rest assured, we will discuss how to over any B2B eCommerce related challenge for all kinds of businesses at length in our next article. 

At EasyEcom, we have integrated B2B order management and a complete B2B eCommerce solution for your business. We provide a fully encrypted brand store portal for your wholesale customers to place orders, check the catalogue, compare pricing and place their requirements. 

As for the inventory management for B2B brands, our platform offers a state-of-the-art warehouse management system to track inbound and outbound shipment and scale your warehouse operations efficiency. 

All in all, your entire B2B eCommerce operations are managed from a single dashboard with integrations at the click of a button. Drop us a line at [email protected] if you are looking for something like this and we will get in touch. 

Top Essential eCommerce Marketing Strategies: How to Increase your Conversion Rate

Do you need a little nudge to promote your products and services online, we have the best e-commerce marketing strategies for you that are a must-try! 

Before we dive deep into e-commerce marketing strategies, we will succinctly look at how the pandemic has affected all sorts of businesses. Over the years, consumers have enjoyed offline shopping and most of them choose to visit different shops to get the best feel and touch of the best product or service compared to online shopping. 

However, COVID-19 has favored most of the e-commerce businesses. Research from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reveals how the pandemic has enabled consumers to rely on e-commerce and digital giants for either purchasing or online classes (figure1). The survey shows that the opportunities have shrunk for physical shopping and increased for online shopping for companies who have put e-commerce at the heart of their business strategies.  

According to the survey conducted by UNCTAD and Netcomm Suisse eCommerce Association, titled “COVID-19 and E-commerce”, shows that online purchases have increased by 6 to 10 percent w.r.t. various product categories. 

Figure 1 Percentage of online shoppers making at least one online purchase every two months
Source: UNCTAD and NetComm Suisse eCommerce Association

Figure 1: Percentage of online shoppers making at least one online purchase every two months

We believe that an upsurge in the e-commerce industry post-pandemic would require online retailers to be better equipped, as the competition would be more cut-throat than ever. The conversion rate for your digital store is the one core metric that shouldn’t disappoint you. And, like always, we have got you covered with the top eCommerce marketing strategies that should do the trick.

To cover all the bases, we have segregated these eCommerce strategies into two 3 different categories- On-Page, Off-Page, and Social Marketing strategies.

Let’s start with the on-page eCommerce strategies you should take into consideration.

On-Page eCommerce Marketing Strategies

Upsell and cross-sell with product recommendations

Upselling and cross-selling are the two most trust-worthy tactics in the online business to boost sales. Upselling is a profound choice of brands that sell expensive products. Cross-selling is also an effective method pertaining to selling products related to what is being bought. 

Sometimes, customers may not be aware of discounts, free delivery, or other premium products available for the same, lower, or higher cost. Customers seek more reliable evidence to understand how an upgrade is a better fit for their needs.  

“Would you like to supersize your order?” is a famous persuading catchphrase often used by online stores for effective selling. You can recommend customers to buy another product with a discount on the total price or by eliminating shipping costs.

For example, if you head to any e-commerce website like Amazon and choose Canon PowerShot ELPH digital camera, it will automatically display other items that are “frequently bought together” as shown in the image below.

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Source: iblog

Deliver Relevant Messages

In order to get a hold of your visitor’s attention, your e-commerce website should deliver relevant messages. For example, if a prospect shopping for BOB Revolution Stroller, any e-commerce website should suggest closely related items with additional features, which makes it more likely that the customer buys both items. Adding “relevance” and “value” to products encourages prospects to focus and rethink.

image04


Create Scarcity


Creating scarcity is another powerful persuasion technique to get people into a buying mood. As soon as they see how many products are left, customers can act upon a call-to-action. The concept of scarcity increases the demand for your product and enables customers to take immediate action.

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Choose The Right Images With Keyword And Data-Rich Title

Choosing the right and clear images relevant to products probably complements the customer’s choice. Product image prompts a positive human behavior action since a customer would not buy without “having a good look” at the product. 

Match the keyword search with a brief description and features of the product. Customers do not buy because it is outstanding, they buy because of the benefits and value the product offers. 

For example, beautiful and captivating armchairs from made.com suggest that the eagerness makes customers check for new releases.

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Use images to inspire consumers, make an emotional connection, and eventually increase the conversion rates. The representation of the images on your website can have a significant influence on the conversion. 

Social Proof

Building trust is one of the e-commerce marketing strategies for online shopping portals. Customers trust reviews from peers more than retailer’s words. It is social proof. Products with 5-start reviews convince people to trust the brand and upgrade their buying. Brands do not have to struggle to sell once they build trust.

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Behavioral economists at the Amazon development department believe that “consumers will buy more and more, again and again, if they trust you and feel that it is worth paying”. 

Over-Deliver To Meet Customer’s Expectations

Most of the online shoppers login to buy and leave. However, some stick around, tempted to spend more time and buy something else. That’s human behavior. Upselling at this point can increase the conversion rates.

For example, free shipping or the same-day delivery promise can make customers extremely happy and build great relationships. You can win an increased trust and enable your customers to come back for better and more products.

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SEO Your Product Pages

Optimizing your website for SEO makes it easy for search engines to feature your products in Google Search results. SEO is an essential part of e-commerce marketing techniques to improve conversions. Every e-commerce website must make sure that it has a unique title tag and Meta description with SEO keywords to make the result easy. Also, a keyword-rich product description and URL increases the visibility of your product on the Google Search Engine page. 

Make your online store mobile-friendly

This is more like a necessity than a strategy for boosting conversions because nearly 72.9% of people are likely to make a purchase from their mobiles. Now, here’s what you can do while keeping mobile optimization in mind:

  • Have a responsive design
  • Make sure the text on the website is readable 
  • Add bigger CTAs
  • Regularly check the mobile-friendliness and the page loading speed of your website.

Off-Page eCommerce Marketing Strategies

When the consumer leaves your website, they either become your customers or you need to try better to grab their attention. In the first scenario, make sure that you can keep these customers and strengthen relationships with them. For the latter, you can try out a bunch of subtle marketing strategies to get them to finish what they started on your website. 

For Customers

One of the best ways to ensure strong customer relationships is to stay in touch with your customers post-sales, preferably with incentives. You can encourage them to enroll in a membership program, offer special discounts, and keep them updated with the latest from your store.

Membership Programs

Loyalty or Membership Programs give incentives to your customers to keep you at the top of their heads while making a purchase decision. You can choose a point-based reward program, offer discounts, early sales, free shipping, etc. 

Two outstanding examples of membership programs that actually work for both the company and the customers are Flipkart Plus and Amazon Prime Membership. A lot of eCommerce brands are now practicing this to keep their customer base intact and attract new prospects. 

For the Prospects that didn’t Convert

Wishlist Reminder Emails: A lot of the visitors that did not convert would have put items in the wishlist but didn’t make a purchase. So, your first order of marketing task is to send them wishlist reminders. You can choose to offer discounts or other add-on incentives on the items picked to increase the chances of conversion. It’s also important that you don’t bombard your website visitors with such emails and get yourself tossed into spam. 

Lead Nurturing Emails

A majority of people would just browse through your product pages but won’t add anything to the cart. Now, reminding them of buying “something” from your online store would be like shooting an arrow in the dark. Instead, you can nurture them with emails that offer value. The information in the email could be related to a sale, special discount offers, or just content that your audience might find useful. For instance, Sephora has offered a discount on the product and also provided informational content in the same email below.

eCommerce Strategies for Social Marketing 

When it comes to marketing, social media is one of the most prominent battlefields. Social commerce is one of the top eCommerce trends for 2021 and definitely something worth spending time and resources on. Now, staying active on your socials is not going to cut it if you need to stay ahead of the competition. If you aren’t already doing it, here’s what you should start thinking about:

Set up Facebook and Instagram Shops

While the Facebook marketplace has been around for a long time, the social media giant has recently allowed sellers to set up their storefronts on both Instagram and Facebook. Here, the customer doesn’t have to leave the app to complete checkout. The ease of shopping and social media’s visibility can remarkably increase your sales. You can always use in-app promotions to increase the reach of your brand and get more people to convert. 

Engaging Influencers

Engaging influencers is trendy, sure, but you can keep this option if nothing else is working out or if you have exhausted all the other options. It’s important that you get your influencer game right since there is an abundance of them on social media. While considering an influencer to advertise your products on social media, here’s what you need to check:

  • The social media following of the influencer
  • Their Audience 
  • Previous Product Endorsements for references

While you consider working on these strategies, we would quickly like to remind you that you can have most of these tasks automated and it will save you time and energy that can be spent on other eCommerce operations. You can check out the complete eCommerce automation guide here

So, that’s a wrap on the top eCommerce marketing strategies you need to start working on. Research, analyze, and introspect which technique will work best for your e-commerce website in terms of revenue and management perspective. Also, regularly review and iterate your efforts to make your products better and competitive.