Strategic Technology Roadmap for B2B eCommerce

Written August 6th, 2012 by
Categories: CEO's Blog
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I recently came across the National Association for Electronics Distributors (NAED) website.  I’d like to say that we have a relationship with them, or at least can count one of their members as our client, but alas I can’t :-(.  Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I can’t point out the great work that they are doing to educate their clientele about why, and how, to best adopt technology in their businesses. 

Their members have invested in putting together a Strategic Technology Roadmap that guides their industry with Best Practices for leveraging eCommerce technology for the benefit of their businesses.  Frankly, while they may be focused on Electronics Distributors, based on my experiences in the industry, their wisdom and assets are universally applicable to anyone interested in B2B ecommerce.  That’s why I’m highlighting their work to you in today’s blog post.

For instance, in this checklist produced by the NAED, they bring up such great topics as:

  • How do you promote your website? – is your url on business cards and brochures, is the sales force promoting it? etc.
  • Is it accessible via mobile devices? – phones, tablets etc.
  • Are you analyzing website usage? – do you know who is using the website? how often? for what?
  • Are you focused on helping your customers find products? How easy is the catalog to use? Do you offer tutorials?  Are your salespeople and CSRs focused on offering impromptu training?
  • How personalized is your online catalog?  Does it only display what that customer can buy, with their pricing and real time availability?  Do you display standard package quantities and minimum order quantities?
  • How many different ways can you search the catalog?  Filter by categories and attributes?  Able to compare products?
  • Do you provide technical product information?  Product videos?  Manuals?
  • How secure is your website?  Is it safe for your customers to provide their personal and financial information?

This checklist can form the basis of a nice requirements document for those organizations just getting into B2B websites and as a roadmap for improvement for those that are already live with their websites.

However, the NAED folks go on to provide another checklist for the eCommerce extensions to their B2B websites.  Here are some of the key takeaways from this NAED document:

  1. “E-commerce websites MUST be integrated with business systems”
  2. “Customers want to find businesses online, request quotes online, view quotes online, request special pricing online, upload bills of materials for quotes online, and modify quotes into orders.”
  3. “Online ordering will continue to grow in popularity as customers insist on online ordering capabilities.”
  4. “Online order tracking minimizes calls asking, “Where is my order?””
  5. “The ideal time for a web page to load in 2012 is 2 seconds.”

Rarely do you find Industry Organizations that truly add value to their members.  In the case of the National Association of Electronics Distributors, their members are getting their money’s worth.

Great job NAED!

Sam