Competition among B2B ecommerce ventures is at an all-time high amidst their individual efforts to reduce their operational costs and administrative overheads so as to increase revenues. These efforts can effectually come to fruition by investing in business software applications as this will enable such businesses to achieve a multi channel ecommerce structure and thus be able to reach out to more customers more conveniently and affordably. However, most of the software solutions available in the market are expensive in terms of hardware and licenses and thus it is only large corporations that can afford them. Worse still, most of these solutions are point solutions and cannot be integrated with other business systems.
Growing B2B ecommerce businesses need a software solution that can manage multi channel ecommerce and integrates it with back and front office modules. Here we can consider various online channels including an online marketplace such as eBay, one or several remote web store/s that are facilitated by the ecommerce firm’s solution provider, plus an integrated B2B web store offered by the software platform provider. Such business software applications will be even better if they can be integrated with solutions already in use by businesses such as QuickBooks and the Microsoft environment.
Multi channel ecommerce management through business software solutions can take shape in the form of the following: Ability to choose what products will be sold through a particular channel along with product pictures, descriptions and inventory just once; get to choose a suitable pricing for a particular channel be it the sale or the auction type; capture all transactions (orders and customers) taking place in all channels in real time; and establishing interaction with the front and back office capabilities so as to facilitate processes such as payment, order management, fulfillment, accounting and customer support functions. With business software applications capable of these functions it will be easier to integrate B2B commerce operations with new sales channels thus reaching untapped customers.
Some of the features to look for in business software applications for B2B ecommerce operations include a great product catalog with aspects such as multiple images per product, short and long descriptions, promotional banners, customer product reviews, product custom fields, and integrated with Google Analytics and Google Base plus search engine optimization. It should have a shopping cart with restricted access; customer specific pricing; enforcement of minimum order limits; bulk addition of items to cart; ability to display stock information; provide a whole range of payment facilities including PayPal and PayPal website pro, Authorize.net, COD, offline credit cards and secure processing; provide shipping modules such as USPS, table rate shipping, handling fees, unlimited geographical zones, and mapping to carrier and shipping method; provide customer service portal with capabilities such as order status and tracking, account preferences management, FAQ, problem reporting and tell a friend; in addition to offering site administration and web design capabilities.
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