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CHICAGO, IL – On Thursday evening, July 21st, 2016, an engaged crowd of B2B professionals gathered at Revolution Brewery in Logan Square, Chicago for a night of great craft beers, networking and insights. Experts fromAaxis Commerce, AmericanEagle.com, Salesforce Pardot, and Four51 sat on a panel to discuss how B2B companies today should get started modernizing the B2B experience and remain relevant amongst changing buyer needs. Panelists included:

  • Adam Willmouth of Aaxis Commerce
  • Derek Cwik of AmericanEagle.com
  • Daryl Mason of Salesforce Pardot
  • Chip House of Four51

The panel was moderated by Paul Demery, editor at B2BecNews and Internet Retailer.

Here are 8 important B2B eCommerce takeaways from B2B & Brews Chicago:

1. Today, buyers research what they want and need themselves, without the help of sales reps. According to the Acquity Group’s study, 94% of business buyers do some form of online research before interacting with a sales rep. You want to make sure your products are searchable and that B2B buyers can find the information they need about the products themselves.

2. “Advocates” can help you get started. Change is hard, especially when you try to do it alone. Find an implementation partner that has experience coaching your entire team through the whole process.

3. Consider your potential ROI. Chip House, CMO at Four51, explained that “lots of companies come to us knowing that they need an online ordering platform, but not sure where they’re going to find the budget.” Find a partner or advocate who can help you map out the potential ROI you’ll gain from the investment, instead of only considering the cost. Unnecessary people resources, manual costs and missed opportunities are just a few places where you’ll see a return on your investment.

4. In selecting a B2B eCommerce platform, consider your B2B buyers needs instead of their B2C preferences.There are lots of eCommerce platforms out there that have been around for years serving the needs of B2C companies. It’s important to remember though, that B2B buyers needs are much different from B2C shoppers’. Make sure the platform you select can accommodate complex pricing needs, unique approval rules, permissions, and complex search capabilities.

5. Use analytics to consider your business case for eCommerce. If you’re not sure that your customers are interested in B2B eCommerce, dig into the data. Make sure you understand their online behavior so that you can feel assured that this change is the right one for your business.

6. Design to your buyers’ needs. Tie the content to the context. When it comes to B2B eCommerce, it’s very important that you tie the experience you are designing to the context that these buyers are working in. Adam Willmouth of Aaxis Commerce pointed out that “if you have buyers who place orders for what they need while working on roofs, then you need to make sure your site is very “thumb-able,” or in other words, easy to navigate on the go.”

7. Modern developers are looking for Rest APIs for B2B eCommerce to make integrations with existing solutions easier. One of the main questions that came up was around integrations. People have existing ERP platforms, for example, and they need to find a B2B eCommerce solution that is going to seamlessly integrate. Derek Cwik of American Eagle recommended that companies have their developers look for a Rest API for B2B eCommerce, like OrderCloud, to make integrations to existing platforms easier. Choosing this Best-of-Breed approach is the direction that modern companies are taking.

8. If you can’t compete on price, compete on value of service. Derek Cwik and Adam Willmouth both dug into the importance of strong customer service. Even if your product isn’t competitive price-wise, you can create “stickiness” with customers by optimizing their buying experience. With the growth of millennials in the workplace, a “great customer experience” is beginning to demand an online component. Connecting your suppliers and distributors digitally can also help improve delivery time and reliability, both of which also help contribute to a strong customer experience.

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Rence Winetrout

Rence Winetrout

Chief Digital Officer at AAXIS
Rence Winetrout brings nearly 20 years of experience leading Multi-Channel Commerce, Marketing, and e-Business initiatives for premium, global consumer brands in a wide variety of industries, including luxury goods, apparel, footwear, accessories, sporting goods, consumer electronics, and digital goods. Rence is the CMO and SVP of Commerce Strategy for AAXIS Commerce.
Rence Winetrout

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