Distributors and manufacturers in the B2B domain are now dealing with ever-increasing customer expectations. A survey of 700 B2B sellers, including manufacturers and distributors, found that about 84% of B2B decision-makers consider rising digital expectations as their top external threat. Business buyers are increasingly looking for effortless interactions, similar to the B2C experiences they enjoy in their day-to-day lives.
To address these growing expectations, distributors, a key part of the B2B sales landscape for years, are investing more in eCommerce. This seems to be the right strategy too when you consider that Forrester reports that distributors that offer eCommerce could achieve almost $1.8 trillion in online B2B sales by the year 2023.
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These days, B2B customers want –
- Integrated automation
- Enhanced user experience
- Seamless omnichannel experience
- Personalized support
- Custom content mimicking B2C experience
It is clear that distributors need to tap the power of their backend ERP systems to boost their eCommerce and that the degree of integration will directly affect the kind of experience they can provide their customers. One wrinkle in this strategy is the complexity of the B2B landscape where different categories of companies require diverse solutions because of their varying needs. For instance, Prophet 21 by Epicor is a popular cloud ERP built specifically to meet the demands of the distribution industry. This means that for distributors to achieve success, they need to be able to bring their eCommerce strategy together with their Prophet 21 backbone.
Seamless integration between a robust eCommerce Platform and Prophet 21 promises many benefits in areas like sales management, value-added services, customer experience, inventory, supply chain, warehouse management, finance, accounting, and business intelligence.
Let’s look deeper at the integration possibilities, challenges, and routes.
Benefits of an integrated Prophet 21 – eCommerce strategy
Today’s supply chain demands a dynamic solution that is fit to scale with the warehouse, a crucial element of the strategy of all distributors. By integrating their eCommerce platform with Prophet 21, distributors can increase sales, reach new customers, shorten sales cycles, and streamline order fulfillment for various products and services.
Some key benefits of the integration include –
- Integrating data from multiple sources – Organizations utilize huge amounts of data related to frameworks, utilizations, and information distribution centers. It’s usually hard to comprehend all the available data from these information sources. Integration can associate various information sources with one another. This allows all the data to be accessible in one place, enabling easy access for improving procedures and giving better client assistance.
- Improving customer experience – Having a consolidated view of data from various information sources allows distributors to get a complete customer perspective. This allows organizations to focus on their clients with the correct messaging at the right time to improve client experience and conversion impact.
- Enhancing efficiency – Through programmed information coordination, all the relevant information from all the sources is available in a single view. The insights available are more robust and can drive more impactful actions.
Improving outcomes with Prophet 21-eCommerce integration
A comprehensive coming together of the eCommerce strategy and Prophet 21 can help distributors in many ways.
- Organizations can use the eCommerce platform’s product information management function to streamline the publishing and display of rich product content by syncing products, categories, and product information, etc. across the eCommerce platform and Prophet 21.
- Real-time integration with Prophet 21 can provide support for dynamic pricing that reflects business scenarios that the distributor has around contract or job-specific price lists.
- Real-time inventory sync, including support for location-specific inventory, gives a more transparent picture of available stocks.
- Order and reorder processes can be streamlined.
- End-to-end quote automation becomes possible. This enables customers to request a quote online and the quote can be sent to Prophet 21.
- Tax and shipping calculation tables are available from Prophet 21 regularly.
- Credit sales become more efficient by keeping credit transaction data in-sync across systems.
- The order management module of the eCommerce system can get the flexibility to provide location-specific pickup or delivery and better tracking of fulfilled orders.
- Contact and customer information can be synchronized.
- The billing process can be streamlined by synchronizing invoices and customer payment details by integrating the eCommerce account page with Prophet 21.
- All order updates can be synchronized through the fulfillment process.
For businesses using Prophet 21, robust integration with an able eCommerce platform provides a lot of synergies that can be exploited to great effect. Distributors can benefit from a streamlined data flow and a revived eCommerce site that offers customers ease of use and a powerful functional experience.
In case you’d like to make the most of the capabilities of Prophet 21 to drive your eCommerce strategy forward, ask us how we can help?