While several entities start ecommerce activities, not all succeed. There are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want your venture to be a long-term proposition. Here are seven deadly sins that B2B ecommerce companies must never commit:
- Assuming what customers want: Oftentimes, ecommerce companies start off with what they think customers should want, without taking the trouble to find out what they actually want. As with any other business, a ecommerce venture should begin with customer needs and find ways to provide solutions to these needs.
- Seeking short-term results: If you reward your salespersons for giving you short-term solutions, they will get used to looking for short-cuts, thus missing out on the full potential of the market. A sales team under pressure to deliver as fast as possible does not have the time to connect with decision-makers. As a result, you may get some profits in the near-term but lose out on long-term prospects.
- Ignoring vendor quality: If you don’t assess vendors for product quality and reliability, you can end up in a lot of trouble. You need to associate only with those third-party products and vendors whose quality you can vouch for.
- Ignoring feedback: In order to develop long-term relationships, you need to always be on the lookout for feedback, much of which will come in the form of comments left on consumer feedback sites and your website. Take feedback seriously and revert to customers ASAP.
- Being oblivious to downstream customers: As a B2B entity, your product might be only a part of your customers’ products – the end consumer could be somewhere way down the line. You need to have a fairly good idea of what end-consumers want in order to spruce up your offerings.
- Not keeping a tab on competitors: Remember, your competitors are fighting for the same share of the pie, and that includes your existing customers. You may suddenly find your long-term customers ending their relation with you and you may be completely baffled as to why. It could be that your competitor offered a better price, a better feature, a better service, or an add-on component. So, keep an eye on your competition and strive to be one better than them.
- Making tall promises: Credibility is the cornerstone of B2B ecommerce. If you try to buy your way out of a tricky situation by making promises you know you cannot keep, you are headed for disaster. For example, if your site proclaims that it you will ship a product in, say, five days, your customers will expect it in five days. They are not interested in your excuses, even those which might be genuine. A power failure, a transport strike, natural calamities, etc, could hamper your activities. So, always keep a margin when making claims.