Return-on-investment with B2B eCommerce Web Portal
Manufacturers and distributors — giving your customers access to do business with you — on their own time, from anywhere — is your best competitive advantage.
What is a Web Portal?
It can be many things. It can be an eCommerce store, a private resource center, a catalog of products, a marketing website, a blog, a forum, an information center, a sales order entry system, a partner community, and any combination thereof. There are as many online ways to engage and communicate with your customers, prospects, trading partners — and even your own team — as you can imagine.
First, xTuple helps your organization get started with our business management software to run your entire business — accounting, customer relationship management (CRM), manufacturing, inventory, purchasing, distribution and delivery, and more. Then, we connect your Web Portal to the ERP, with your own configurations to "expose" exactly what you want (and don't want) to the Web Portal. Think of it as your customer-facing ERP.
Every business is different. So, we've built our Web Portal to be extremely flexible, with many standard features, yet highly configurable for your preferred customer experience.
How is a Web Portal used?
Organization 1 — Wanted to create a catalog of products that they would sell online. They have several customer types, each with their own unique negotiated prices. When a customer logs into the site, they are able to browse the catalog of products and see their specific prices for everything. This organization does not allow the public to see any products or prices, and you must have your account verified by a team member before you can login.
Organization 2 — Sells very complex products. Their customers need access to resources and materials associated with those products, so this organization built a resource center with PDFs, Videos, Articles and additional images for their customers to browse. This information is only available if you are logged into the site, and your account must be verified before logging in. Additionally, this organization allows their customers to "create" orders online for unique on-demand products. The customer navigates to a webpage where they configure the product they desire. Once they complete their checkout, a work order is immediately created in the ERP and the organization gets to work building the product.
Organization 3 — Allows their Sales Reps to log into the Web Portal and place orders on behalf of their customers. Because the Web Portal is mobile responsive, the Sales Reps are able to work on any device. Whether they are on a tablet, phone or laptop, they are able to log into the site, search for products, fill their cart, and process an order on behalf of their customer. Essentially, the Web Portal is a sales order entry system for their organization.
As you can see, the Web Portal can create cost-saving efficiency. Your sales reps in the field, your back office, your customers, your partners — and your CEO — are all seamlessly accessing real-time data from the heart of your business. Your products and services can now reach new markets — including everyone on the planet — if that's your goal.
Business happens on the Web
Conducting business transactions and building relationships via the Internet is a competitive advantage over traditional "brick-and-mortar" enterprises. And every business — including manufacturers and distributors — can be more successful using digital technology to better serve their customers.
Don't think it's a good fit for your company?
That's no surprise. Lots of companies thought the same until they learned how modern businesses are using the Web to grow their bottom line. Doing business online isn't just some "hot new thing." It's how the business world works.
In our day-to-day lives we use the Web for everything. Literally — everything. Banking, product research, shopping, ordering pizza, reading the news. The natural next step was for major business transactions to happen online. It's easier and faster, and it's how your customers want to engage with you.