One comment that I always share with xTupleCommerce customers is that — to get the most bang for their buck — they must think of their B2B eCommerce solution as a tool for their customers — and other trading partners — rather than just an online store. The xTupleCommerce system is built to make things easier for our customers (the owners of the eCommerce website) and their customers. Our goal is to help their customers use xTupleCommerce to manage their orders and account information in a variety of ways.
So how can you help save your customer's time?
Saved Carts, Favorites, Templated Carts, and Quick Order Entry
As a large-scale business, you want your customers to have the flexibility to build multiple orders over time and not lose their work. Imagine a scenario where a buyer is making purchases on behalf of multiple receipients. Perhaps they are a construction company that is buying materials for several on-going projects. Over time the buyer may need to build multiple carts that include materials that will be required for several different projects at different points of the project.
When building the xTupleCommerce platform we thought about this B2B (business-to-business) buying experience. It's quite different than the typical B2C (business-to-consumer) buying experience. Instead of just browsing products and placing orders, the buyer is managing the purchase orders for many different scenarios, such as multiple projects and end users. To make this buying experience faster and easier for the buyer, we have built multiple tools into xTupleCommerce that will optimize their experience. Below are several examples of how these tools are used.
Saving your cart for a future purchase
Let’s continue with the scenario in which a buyer is purchasing materials for the building projects of their construction company. It would not be uncommon for the buyer to log onto the site and begin adding required products to a cart but not be ready to process the purchase until a future date.
With the Saved Carts feature, a customer can build one — or many — saved carts to their profile. This means that they can add multiple items to a cart, then save that cart (or carts) to their profile with any name that they choose.
Using the construction company example, the buyer at the company could build multiple carts that represent current or upcoming jobs. Over time they can continue adding items to their saved carts. Once they are ready to place the order they simply log into their account, go to their Saved Carts area, activate the cart they are ready to purchase and process the order.
Saving favorite items
Having the ability to save “Favorite Items” is extremely beneficial for customers and for increasing your repeat orders, a staple of any successful business. If your catalog includes thousands of products, your customer can simply add individual products to their “Favorites List.” These could be products they will need often, or items they don’t need at the moment but will need in the future. At any time, the customer can log onto the site, navigate to their “Favorites List” and add items to their cart.
Some large businesses sell the same exact items to their customers every month, quarter or year. Can you imagine how frustrating and time-consuming it would be if this was your job, and you had to place the same order of 100 products every month!? We do, too, so we built a solution for this challenge.
xTupleCommerce allows your customers to build “Templated Carts.” This is similar to the Saved Cart feature in that the Template is saved to their profile for use time and time again. They simply build a cart of all of the products that they buy regularly, then save that cart as a “Templated Cart.” In the future they can log into their account, navigate to their “Templated Carts” and activate one of the Templated Carts. This will fill their shopping cart with their saved products and the standard quantities. At any time they have the ability to add or remove products from their cart or modify quantities before checking out. Imagine how much time this will save your customers.
Quick order entry
Not everyone is looking for a glamorous experience in the B2B eCommerce world. Sometimes you just want to quickly log into your account and process an order as fast as possible. For these use cases, we developed a “Quick Order Entry” product list in the xTupleCommerce system.
Instead of showing product pictures and descriptions, the user simply sees a long list of products. This can include the entire product catalog, a templated cart, or a saved cart. Then the user has the ability to tab through the quantity boxes and update the amount of products they need. The system processes these updates using AJAX* which does not require the page to refresh during every change (what does this mean? it's really FAST for the customer). As soon as the order is ready, simply check out and move onto the next task. You’ve just made your customer's buying experience extremely fast, efficient and painless.
Helping Your Customers Save Time = Better Customer Relationships
An important point to note: using these tools will improve your customer's buying experience. Not only are you saving your customers' time, you are also building a better relationship. Your goal (as well as ours) is to improve your business and increase revenue.
By offering these eCommerce tools to your customers, they will begin to associate buying from you as a pleasurable experience. This leads to sharing information about your company to colleagues and return purchases and visits, which leads to referrals and new conversions without spending any extra marketing money. This all starts by thinking about your customers' pain points, then working to solve those challenges.
By placing yourself in your customers' shoes, you can better understand their needs and build a solution that makes buying from you a painless experience.
As I promised, this is the next in a series of blog posts that introduces you to the xTupleCommerce system. Look for more upcoming information, and please don’t hesitate to contact me and the xTuple Web Services Group (WSG) team with questions.
My last post in the series was: What is your sixth biggest B2B eCommerce Challenge? Marketing content versus ERP content
Photo Credit: Rick Harris from Flickr