Grow Online Sales

The average order size for online orders has grown for 44% of B2B companies surveyed by Forrester Research. However, the average order size on orders placed by phone, fax, or through sales rep have not. And more than half report that customer support costs were less for online orders than for orders placed in other ways.

The benefits B2B companies want from their eCommerce are:

  • Greater sales volume
  • Larger order sizes
  • Less overhead for quote preparation and follow-up
  • Automate quote preparation
  • Shorten sales cycles
  • Greater efficiencies and less reliance on call centers

Online Catalog and Shopping Cart

When implementing – or upgrading – your online sales channels, you have three basic options:

  1. In house development of online catalog and shopping cart functionality
  2. Use an off-the-shelf ecommerce platform
  3. Use online mega-distribution platforms like Amazon Supply or eBay

The major factors that drive the decision between an off-the-shelf solutions vs. in house development are:

  • Do the packaged solutions provide the functionality required (e.g. selectors, configurators, saved quotes)?
  • Do you have the staffing resources to support online marketing media such as Google (e.g. generate data feeds of product information)?
  • Is it less expensive to build than to buy? Be sure to include ongoing maintenance and security enhancements when estimating the cost of building.

Quote to Order Systems

Many B2B sales require a complexity that is beyond the capabilities of simple online catalogs that are used for consumer online sales. The challenge facing many B2B companies is providing customers access to the kinds of Configure, Price and Quote applications that inside sales reps rely on. Only a few off-the-shelf ecommerce packages currently support:

  • Assemble to order (ATO)
  • Ship to order (STO)
  • Engineer to order (ETO)


Sales Promotion and Merchandising

For online eCommerce catalogs, the most effective promotional tools include:

  • Google Shopping
    • Google Adwords Product Listing Ads
    • Google Adwords Product Listing Promotions
  • Google Adwords Search Ad Promotions

To take advantage of these, you will need to set up data feeds between your online catalog and Google. Many off the shelf catalog and shopping cart vendors provide a simple interface to generate recurring data feed uploads to Google. If you are building your own system, you will need to build a data feed that conforms to Google’s specifications.

63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. Source: Search Engine Journal

Enterprise eCommerce Platforms

  • GSI Commerce Solutions (eBay)
  • Demandware
  • Hybris / SAP
  • Intershop
  • Digital River
  • IBM WebSphere
  • Oracle Commerce; iStore

B2B eCommerce Platforms

  • BigMachines
  • Ignify eCommerce
  • Insite Software

Small and Medium Size eCommerce Platforms

  • Acadaca
  • Bridgeline Digital
  • BV Software
  • Cleverbridge
  • Dynamic Web
  • Exact Abacus
  • Ignify eCommerce
  • Jagged Peak
  • Kalio
  • Magento (eBay)
  • Micro Systems
  • Miva Merchant
  • OrderDynamics
  • OXID
  • Shopify – recommended by Google
  • Venda
  • Volusion
  • Zen Cart


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