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eCommerce for Distributors: How to Get it Right

by | May 9, 2024 | eCommerce Solutions

While sometimes the pressure to digitize your business may seem arbitrarily based on the popularity of being on the leading edge of technology, there are tangible benefits to leveraging a powerful, flexible eCommerce for distributors platform. The potential to inform your customers that you are not just current but better positioned makes exploring the options available to distributors well worth the effort. The trick is finding the right match for your business.

Key Insights

Some key takeaways from this blog to help you make an informed decision about an eCommerce for distributors solution:

  • It is time to upgrade: For most distributors, digital is already an implemented reality; if it is not, it may be time to consider. The benefits offered by B2B eCommerce for distributors are difficult to minimize, and having the right solution in place can potentially revolutionize or revitalize a company.
  • What is at stake: Consumers of all stripes are becoming increasingly comfortable with eCommerce, and having a personalized digital experience can make a big difference in the decision to retain your services.
  • Change is constant: Being agile and scalable is critical for the success of any modern business, so a flexible eCommerce for distributors is critical to not only keep up but surge ahead.
  • The importance of integration: It is a rare piece of software that claims to do everything these days; more often than not, a modular approach is favored, finding the right piece of code for the right job at the right time rather than investing a large fortune in a behemoth application that hopefully covers all the bases. A B2B eCommerce for distributors solution like the LANSA Commerce Edition can not only fit in just where it is needed but can also comfortably integrate with legacy enterprise systems.

Advantages for Distributors Getting into eCommerce

Increased Sales

The flexibility offered by leveraging the most current technologies cannot be stressed enough when it comes to sales. If you are not selling, you are not staying in business long, so any upgrade to your eCommerce solution must place a premium on how it impacts a customer’s pipeline. Whether your goal is increased B2B sales or expanding your retailers’ B2C footprint, a solid eCommerce for distributors’ products can profoundly impact your bottom line.

Automation Capabilities

Automation is no longer just an up-and-coming industry buzzword but an evolving norm in today’s business. The advantages of automating certain aspects of your eCommerce are numerous and impactful. The ability to seamlessly manage variables like shipping costs, a rotating catalog, and regular and reliable reporting are must-haves rather than like-to-haves.

Expanded Market Reach

A powerful eCommerce for distributors platform extends the reach of your business by allowing you to manage a variety of needs for B2B customers, and present them with an appealing and informative user experience. Once your marketing team sees the level of control they have over communication and the public exposure to your company, they will never be happier.

Increased Efficiency and Cost Savings

Of course one of the main drivers for embracing newly available technology is to increase the efficiency of your business. This is true regardless of industry or solution—but especially so in a market dealing in high volumes of merchandise and heavy storefront traffic. Being able to access and track orders in real time results in better accounting and a better customer experience.

Enhanced Customer Experience & Support

A low-code, modular approach to eCommerce for distributors software means that every customer can manage transactions the way they are most comfortable with and only interact with the functionality that applies to their specific business. This also means that support can be requested in a way that makes the most sense for your distributor, whether it is initiating a real-time chat with support staff or submitting detailed correspondence for later review.

Scalability Options

Fluctuations in modern business necessitate the need for systems that can expand (and sometimes contract) quickly. While growth is always the goal, it sometimes makes sense to pull back or adjust to the changing needs of the marketplace, and a solid eCommerce for distributors approach will keep you agile.

Competitive Advantage

All of these increased capabilities together spell a distinct competitive advantage for you in the marketplace. Presenting an online experience that is not only simpler than analog but offers vastly more potential for growth will set your business up for success.

5 Key Features of a Distributor eCommerce Platform

Keeping the advantages of a digital approach to business in mind, what does an effective eCommerce for distributors platform look like?

Customer-Specific Pricing and Discounts

A high-performing eCommerce for distributors platform will have an easy-to-access, simple-to-navigate storefront that specifically addresses the needs of individual clients. For example, you may have different contracts for different retailers or wholesalers, which means different pricing schedules for the same products. You want to make sure that the price your clients see is the one that specifically applies to them and to easily make adjustments when prices change, or discounts are available.

Customizable Catalog Management

A distributor’s catalog of available products and services must be relevant, current with existing inventory, and flexible enough to adapt to changes in supply. This catalog can be extremely dynamic, and you want your client to have the flexibility to manage it in a variety of ways to suit the current needs.

Real-Time Inventory Updates

If your business lives or dies by the accuracy of its inventory, then the power of distributor eCommerce is a must-have. Even for companies that eschew a just-in-time approach to supply, keeping up to the second tabs on the status and location of the goods you are buying and selling is a critical function that requires a battle-tested solution. Selling products you do not actually have in stock is not always a workable approach, and if not, you want your system to update the minute it is available and let interested consumers know.

Integration with ERP Systems

A robust eCommerce for distributors solution that does not play nicely with your existing Enterprise Resource Planning systems is not going to provide much benefit to your company. The LANSA Commerce Edition has been successfully implemented with at least 16 of the most prevalent ERP applications in the market, with the low-code flexibility to adjust to any smaller or homegrown systems just as effectively.

Personalization and Innovation Capabilities

Worried that a transition to distributor eCommerce could de-personalize your relationship with your customers? What if you had the ability to craft a unique user experience for each of them, including only the functions relevant to their business? The LANSA Commerce Edition can maintain that personal touch that your clients value while offering more options than they ever had pre-digital.

LANSA Customer: Rotary

Rotary Corporation is the world’s largest supplier of parts and accessories for outdoor power equipment, such as lawnmowers, chainsaws, snow blowers, and more. They sell exclusively via dealers and have been offering their dealers an eCommerce website since 2002. Although still functioning reliably, the site was showing its age and could not meet Rotary’s new business requirements. The ability to search for products on their website was extremely limited, and their marketing team had very little control over the digital, public-facing front of their company. They enlisted LANSA to help them modernize. After a thoughtful and thorough collaborative effort, Rotary was not only able to improve its online presence but also harness data previously disconnected from its systems, allowing consumers to search for specific details on over 9,500 SKUs.

“The website is an important instrument for how we do business with our dealers and how we present ourselves to the bigger public. The LANSA team didn’t just simply copy our requirement definitions. They took the time to improve on it and came up with great suggestions to improve the functionality and enrich the user experience. We felt they were as dedicated to the success of the website as we were.” – Caylee Bickmore, Web Marketing Coordinator at Rotary Corp.

6 Best Practices to Successfully Implement eCommerce for Distributors

So you have decided you are ready to up your eCommerce for distributors game; what’s next? Careful planning.

Thoughtfully Develop Project Requirements

The first order of business is deciding exactly what you are trying to accomplish. Are you looking to augment your online presence or start building one? Are there transactional pain points you are looking to alleviate? What do your current customers have to say about it?

Choose a Reliable eCommerce Platform

When you know what needs to be done, finding the right partner and platform to help you across the finish line is imperative. You want a solution that provides improvement, stability, flexibility, and security, among other things. A product like the LANSA Commerce Edition can help you check all those important boxes. LANSA has built thousands of e-business sites for a dizzying variety of clients worldwide and has the experience and track record of making your eCommerce for distributors solution everything it needs to be.

Carefully Choose Your eCommerce Team

Implementing a game-changing eCommerce for distributors solution should be a collaborative effort between you and your technology partner. Once you’ve got a solid platform in mind, the employees you choose to be a part of the implementation team should embody this collaborative effort. No one knows your business better than you, and the input your team provides to your technology partner is crucial for the success of the project.

Always Keep Customers Needs in Mind

What your consumers need should always influence the project decisions you make. Whether you survey your clients directly to find out what they would like to see or aggregate data that helps you determine what is working and what is being largely ignored, take the pulse of the people you are doing business with. If you offer cutting-edge functionality that none of your customers want or need, then your hard work is for naught.

Do Marketing Right

Also important is making sure your customers actually know about your new and improved eCommerce interfaces. Let them know how you have improved transactions they thought were lacking and get them excited about the new capabilities they have. For many, this kind of digital overhaul presents a great opportunity for re-branding. Do your homework and make sure your brand is on point.

Ensure to Comply with Industry Regulations and Standards

Finally, make sure you are crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s that your regulatory agencies are looking for. Protecting private or otherwise privileged information is a must, and should be a standard part of a healthy eCommerce for distributors implementation.

 

In Summary

There are a multitude of good reasons to invest in a powerful and flexible eCommerce for distributors platform, from aesthetic appeal enticing potential customers to detailed and accurate inventory management and everything in between. With low-code modularity, extensive integrative capability, and a proven track record, the LANSA Commerce Edition can help your B2B eCommerce for distributors platform realize its full potential.

FAQs

Do distributors need eCommerce?
Distributors increasingly are looking for ways to make the purchasing process as easy as it currently is in the D2C model. They want a process as quick and informative as individual consumers get when they purchase an item on eBay or Amazon.
What kind of eCommerce features do distributors need?
Unlike individual consumers, distributors also need the ability to provide input into the look and feel of their storefront experience. Having a platform in place that allows them to dictate which functionality takes precedence and how their catalog displays are critical.
Why should distributors consider implementing eCommerce?
  • Expanded Market Reach
  • Increased Efficiency and Cost Savings
  • Enhanced Customer Experience & Support
  • Scalability Options
  • Competitive Advantage
How can distributors stay competitive in the digital marketplace?
The best way to stay competitive these days is to stay flexible, and having an eminently customizable eCommerce platform for distributors provides the agility needed to adjust to changing markets and customer needs.
How can distributors measure the return on investment (ROI) of their eCommerce initiatives?
While shopping cart revenue is the most readily available and concrete measure of how your new eCommerce platform for distributors is performing, do not discount other metrics available with a strong platform, such as online traffic volume and marketing contacts with potential customers.

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