Several Challenges for B2B eCommerce

The New Year is here! And with it, even more conveniences will be afforded to the average shopper. For many, 2014 will usher in luxuries like buy anywhere/return anywhere and the option of same-day deliveries. Assuredly, the ease of making retail transactions will be taken to the next level.

Over the course of 2013, the team at NetSphere Strategies spoke with a variety of professionals in B2B procurement, who indicated that they unfortunately aren’t as hopeful for what’s to come in 2014. Unlike today’s consumers who discover new eCommerce features on a daily basis, too many of their purchasing partners still have to pick up the phone and cross their fingers that their sales rep is available to put in an order.

The question then is: In a world of so many new technologies, why are the manufacturing and distribution industries behind the times when it comes to eCommerce? As it turns out, the reasons are many. From complex sales channels to multiple product lines, B2B business owners are often faced with challenges that retailers aren’t often burdened with.

Those issues, unique to B2B businesses, start with:

1. The need for customer-specific pricing. Trusted channel partners and long-time customers don’t just materialize out of thin air. Those relationships must be cultivated over time. The fastest way to damage those relationships? Treat every single customer and client the same on your online store where first-time buyers are no different than your purchasing partners. The alternative? Introduce contract and pricing logic to automatically manage those B2B relationships based on predefined rules and contract terms.

2. Customers with incredibly tight delivery schedules. Sure, typical consumers want their items to arrive with lightning speed, but often times, those deliveries aren’t business critical. And often they only contain one or two items as opposed to a bulk order. By using logistics tools like IBM’s Sterling Transportation Management System, the fulfillment process is streamlined, allowing manufacturers and distributors to quickly turn-around orders.

But what if you already have a supply chain management tool? Most eCommerce development firms can – at the very least – handle the integration. Or, they can make recommendations for a new, scalable logistics tool that can carry a company into the future as easily as it can carry goods from point A to point B.

3. Promote multiple product lines or brands under one parent company. By creating a unique microsite for each brand or product line, a manufacturer or distributor can maximize the return on the overhead costs associated with an eCommerce site. Essentially, a microsite is just a small part of a bigger system, and because most enterprise-level eCommerce platforms, and many priced for the mid-market, can accommodate various smaller subset sites, business owners can manage as many sites as they need.

4. Branch into B2C while avoiding multi-channel sales conflicts. Selling on eCommerce marketplaces is a great way to reach a broad consumer base. However, some channel partners might be disappointed – even angered – to see the Amazons of the world swooping in and taking away their customers. And rightfully so. Therefore, it’s often recommended to only market products that aren’t already flying off your shelves thanks to the work of sales partners. By giving sales partners first dibs at your top performers, they’ll stay happy, and some of your other lesser-known products can find success online.

5. Too many products with only slight variations. This hurdle can be solved with a robust site search function. Parametric search allows site visitors to search for an item based on specific parameters or particular attributes – as granular as item dimensions or material composition. When a B2B business owner can bring value to a commodity item, such as a nut or a bolt, they’ve done their job and then some.

6. The need to custom-configure products. Although some B2Bers might not realize it, sophisticated eCommerce technology exists that allows clients to not only configure but also view custom products in real-time. This technology represents one realm where manufacturers can learn from the retail industry. Back in 2005, Converse shoes started allowing shoppers to design their own sneakers, and recently, Dodge released its Dart configurator where car shoppers can personally tailor the vehicle of their dreams.

7. The need to manage the customer relationship. Most B2B relationships are the responsibility of a sales team. Often, this includes coordination between inside sales and outside sales or independent representatives. Website content and eCommerce can be integrated with CRM solutions, including Salesforce.com, to inform the sales team of customer interest and to give credit for self-service purchases.

Additional issues, which plague B2B and B2C businesses alike, include a lack of marketing and eCommerce development skills. No matter the business or the industry, however, there’s no mandate to tackle everything in-house. Many of the most successful online stores got to where they are today by working with outside contractors to implement cutting-edge technologies and marketing campaigns.


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Surviving Google PANDA update

    As of 24th Feb 2011, a major update by Google on how it ranks sites has affected 12% of search results and halved many sites’ visitor numbers. Named the Farmer or Panda Update it’s only affecting US Google results as I write but if you’re outside the US it is coming to you soon. Here’s how to find out if you have already been hit, are going to be and what to do about it.


1. the increasing importance of original content


Prior to Google Panda, most Autoblog only need to install some plugin to work automatically and get good rankings and traffic, such as more people use wprobot, as long as the template is set up automatic updates. But Panda appears, sandbox, or down the right for this type of sites, and such extension has been no, my good friends so I suggest that this plug-in can be used to make garbage stations Union.


Anyway, original content is becoming increasingly important, it means that the original article service may have a degree of rise, because Google likes originality, resulting in the article service prices, cost also means that the article will grow. Both the trade and the auto blog, original article is necessary, whether it is someone to write or write-back of the costs is essential. Although you might not be willing to pay those costs, but I think not so generous in this regard.


2.Panda algorithms become more balanced


In previous SEO, link building is considered a very important thing, Panda appears, SEO no one more highlight detail is conducive to rank, Google would prefer a website everything is balanced, including updating frequency, the frequency of links, rather than just focus on one aspect of the building.


Age is not the most important


Before the advent of the Panda, we tend to find a lot of page age, or relatively long domain name age rankings throughout the Home, and is very stable. But after algorithm changes, why does this page also began to retreat into the second page or site, Web design, content, links, and they are not or no longer updated, so page domain age and age is no longer the standard, but is not without value, "depreciation".


EDU and GOV links have been "down right"


This type of link is outside the chain hot topic, why is hot, because this type of link popularity is not high, it is a challenge to get this type of link, and weights in their algorithm before this link is also high, so get a lot of seoer of all ages. But Panda appears, this kind of link it is clear down the right, 1th because such links can also be a lot of SPAM, a lot of comment spam, spam content; second, because Google is more like linkweel and outside the chain of diversity, we need "health", as well as "healthy" chain against the chain. But this EDU and GOV are not entirely without effect, the same "devaluation", so I don't pay much attention to.


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Counting SEO hot topics

1. Move to new server is  impact on rankings?

Official response: in principle, it will not. Unless the new server is too bad, usually access failures or server is  moved  from China to foreign countries, which are likely to be harmonized.

Website notice:

(1) frequently within a short time to change domains,or swap between the secondary domain,and second-level domains, URL rules change frequently, and so on;


(2) without setting a 301 jump between new and old Web pages or within a very short space of time stopped 301 jump;


(3) the old page cannot be accessed within a short time;


(4) the submitted website without AdSense platform or submitted for a long time after.


Under normal circumstances, website on its performance in the search engines will produce a couple of losses, when these issues arise, it will magnify this loss, this is our webmasters and site owners do not want to see, therefore, I hope that webmasters:


(1) caution, website, believed to be necessary for cases;


(2) 301 jump between old and new website definitely relationship and the relationship between old and new content and jump for a while until the new Web crawling, recording and sorting to a relatively stable and in good condition;


(3) when you are prepared for the website please login webmaster platform website tool to submit relevant data.


2. gzip compression on the Web site of the site collection and the weights are not affected?


Official reply: gzip for intake and weight has no effect. Impact on the search engine only, crawler speed fast. Contrary is currently being promoted, fast Web site available to more users and search engines favor and station platforms encourage webmasters to use gzip compression tuning recommendations, enhance website speeds.


3. analysis of CSS style sheets and identify whether Baidu can crawl?


Official response: Baidu is able to crawl and analyze the CSS.


4. the website is been black led to k station on how to handle?


Description: site 9.19 in malicious attacks, it is added to a lot of bad information, Baidu afterwards. Site staff cleaned up that information in a timely manner, but Baidu 10.17 k site. Formal site for industrial classes, and no record of cheating. How to handle?


Official response: after malicious hackers attacked Web sites, insert a lot of cheating in your Web site content. Hackers insert bad information as soon as possible and returns 404 code when Baiduspider crawl this content, so that we can quickly find the site has returned to normal.

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