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The economy must be turning around. Over the past couple of years most  of our conversations were about  investing  in an SAP Integrated B2B Order Management website in order to save internal operating  costs.  Now we’re starting to hear more companies talking about  justifying their investments by having to demonstrate that they are  capturing new business.  So that got me to thinking.  Can a B2B Order  Management website really generate incremental revenues for a company?

My original thinking was NO because all we were doing was converting  existing orders that our clients would have received via other channels  (phone/fax/email) into web orders.  From that perspective, at the end of  the day you wouldn’t see a net growth in revenue, just a redistribution  of that revenue to a channel that your customers preferred exercising  and was cheaper for you to operate.  Those were both good things, but  you probably weren’t going to generate any incremental revenue.

My  thinking is now evolving.  There are definitely several scenarios where  you could expect your web channel to generate net new revenue to the  company.  Here they are in no special order:

  1. Sell overstocked or discontinued product. – No sense writing  off inventory if you don’t have to.  Update the pricing for the  remaining inventory in SAP, produce a simple Flyer announcing the  “Sale”, we’ll convert it to an online “digital print version” and let your website do the rest for you.  Of course you can  always move products over to eBay :-).
  2. Sign up new customers.  The B2B business model presumes a  predefined relationship with your customers…as opposed to the B2C  model which accommodates one time purchases.  While new customers  usually don’t “trip over” your B2B website, you can make it easier for  them to sign up with you once they’re there.  Drive Medical provides registration forms on their public website.  That  page generates 0.06% of all of the page hits for the entire website.   That means people who haven’t done business with Drive in the past are  interested in doing business with them in the future.  That should  generate new revenue.
  3. Reclaim lost customers. Time and time again we hear that a  primary motivation to put up an SAP Integrated B2B Order Management  Website is to keep up with the competition and the technological  expectations of your customers.  Even if you think that you have the  highest quality product, the best prices and plenty of inventory, if you  aren’t easy to do business with…defined as accommodating the way your  customer wants to interact with you…you will lose (or already have  lost) them.  Win them back and generate new revenue!
  4. Cross-sell products/services.  Just like you get hit up to  buy insurance for all of your high tech toys when you are at your  favorite electronics store checkout counter, link new products and  services to existing items in SAP and have them show up when your  customer puts them in the cart.  That should increase your average order  size!
  5. Offer shipping incentives.  We can keep track of how much  your customers are putting into their shopping carts and remind them  that if they “only ordered a little bit more”, they could receive free  shipping.  Once again, average order sizes…and top line  revenue…should increase for you.
  6. Rescue abandoned shopping carts.  We’ll immediately notify  you every time one of your customers abandons a cart.  We’ll also tell  you what was in the cart at that time.  Take the initiative to reach out  to them and maybe you can find the product they were looking for in  another warehouse, give them a discount, or offer them the same item in a  different color?  That should add to your top line and take away from  your competition’s bottom line :-)!
  7. Simplify returns.  This may be counter-intuitive, but it  falls in the category of “people like doing business with companies that  are easy to do business with”.  I’m on a first name basis with my UPS  driver thanks to my wife’s orders with Zappos.  Read this post about how being return friendly can  increase your revenues.  While we don’t yet support registering returns  via our b2b2dot0 service, it is on our Roadmap and is a fairly  straightforward process to implement.  As soon as someone raises their  hand for it, we’ll do it.
  8. Change your distribution strategy.  Now that you have a web  channel, maybe you can cut out some of the middlemen in your demand  chain?  Assess what value they provide…carry inventory, marketing,  financing, support/services etc…and see if you can retain some of the  margin you gave them by going direct.  You may find that not only will  you increase your bottom line, but that they weren’t doing as good a job  marketing your products as you thought they were, and your top line  will grow as well 🙂

There you go.  Eight ways off the top of my head to have your SAP  Integrated B2B Order Management Website generate incremental revenues  for your company.  Only you will be able to determine if any of these  strategies, or others I haven’t thought of, are relevant for your  company and what their contributions to increasing sales will be.

While  I can’t guarantee what those numbers will be, I can guarantee two  things:

  • that you will realize significant internal processing efficiencies
  • this will make you easier to do business with for a good portion of  your customers

These two items used to be enough to justify your investment with  us.  If you also need to generate new revenue from your B2B customers,  pick a number from 1-8 :-).

Happy Selling!

Sam

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