B2B customers expect their interaction with a company to be totally seamless across all channels. Regardless of whether they communicate directly through a salesperson or by cell phone, Internet, or mobile app, they expect to find exactly the same products, information, and services. To achieve this, tight integrations of all kinds of software are key.
It might seem like a straightforward strategy to do so, but in fact, companies struggle to solve this. A study of digitalization among B2B executives revealed that one of their greatest challenges is to connect the various internal and external systems to form an integrated solution and establish end-to-end processes across multiple silos.
Integrate partners and distributors for omnichannel B2B e-commerce
Failure to implement an omnichannel strategy has some obvious negative consequences. If a customer is unable to obtain an item from a vendor via a particular channel, they are more likely to switch vendors than to switch channels. If the channel in question is the Internet, those competitors are just a click away. If you are a wholesaler and a product is not listed on your website, the customer is highly unlikely to inquire by phone—searching for a competitor’s website or switching to Amazon is much more convenient.
Since digitalization is a global economic trend, it also impacts the diverse range of partner and distributor networks. These are rarely static and new markets, new sales channels, and new product lines mean new suppliers, new customers, and new partners. To compete and succeed, B2B players must be able to integrate every new partner quickly and easily into their existing B2B commerce solution.
Benefits of tearing down data silos
The main advantage of tight integrations of software is that by automating what were previously manual processes, B2B companies can improve efficiency and data consistency while also bringing down costs. However, it is only possible to achieve significant cost benefits if all processes and data flows are implemented coherently across system and company boundaries.
An example: Through automation of the order process, all incoming orders, regardless of the channel they came from, can be received and processed with greater speed and accuracy. Faster processing boosts customer satisfaction and internal efficiency. In addition, digital integration of suppliers allows for achieving even greater transparency in delivery processes, greater automation in warehousing and distribution centers, and tighter control of inventories—which ultimately increases efficiency and reduces costs.
What kind of platform allows tight integration of software in B2B?
A B2B commerce platform that relies on composable commerce can make a significant contribution to B2B integrations, enabling easier harmonization of processes and integration with existing infrastructures, internal processes, and data formats. By using standard API to connect any kind of 3rd party application neatly to the commerce core, these solutions provide the technical foundation for integrated end-to-end processes.
These processes include sell-side e-procurement via OCI punch-out or EDI, the orchestration and consolidation of orders and inventories across distributed locations and suppliers, and the integration of processes and data across data silos. As a result, B2B commerce solutions are becoming a decisive factor in opening up new customer segments or business models in B2B.
Tight software integrations enable data-driven commerce
When customers connect with a company through the various channels, they leave a range of useful information. By merging and then using this information in intelligent ways, it is possible to achieve a better and deeper understanding of the customer’s needs. Based on this understanding, the company can create tailored offerings across all channels, improve its cross- and up-selling options, and generate greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
If available resources can be shared by multiple channels, this leads to savings, synergies, and increased profitability. Also, distribution costs can be reduced by providing a cross-channel overview of available stock. Going online can also cut process costs and lead times per order and eradicate continuity gaps.
Did you know that gathering customer data by tight integration of software can even help you to predict which customers will leave you in the near future? Here's an article that explains more: Can e-commerce data predict the churn of customers?