Why Self-Serve Platforms Don’t Work for B2B Businesses
Self-serve eCommerce platforms like Shopfiy and Squarespace may make digital expansion seem easy. They can be somewhat easy to use for certain functionalities and can get the presence of a shop online quickly. But an online store doesn’t necessarily equate to revenue. And the fast simplicity of self-serve sites can quickly become a nightmare for regional wholesalers and distributors or any businesses with numerous SKUs, amounts of inventory, and consumer segments.
In this article, we’ll present some things to consider if you’re aiming for business growth and investing in an eCommerce strategy.
Lack of Strategy
The key difference between a self-serve platform and Managed Professional Commerce Services? Self-serve platforms don’t provide any strategy, let alone ongoing oversight. For existing, high-gross businesses, beware of quick solutions that get you online quickly. Successful growth hinges on properly understanding how an eCommerce strategy can augment and amplify existing staff, processes, and sales territories. How does a traditionally B2B business grow by taking on a wider region of B2B or adopting a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model without disrupting current operations?
We start any engagement with strategic conversations about existing sales processes and how a digital strategy can dovetail and result in national growth. We even take steps to eliminate any conflicts that could cause issues with existing processes. For example, deprioritizing online sales in your local sales territory due to existing sales rep coverage or even ensuring that reporting is properly broken out if you want your sales reps to receive commissions for those territories.
Regular business reviews and read-outs to your leadership and ownership team accompany all of our managed service engagements.
Lack of Inventory Syncing
Inaccurate inventory management can cause re-ordering issues, cancelled orders, and staff discontent. And while platforms like Shopify can provide some degree of compatibility, the entire platform resides on your providers servers and subject to what they allow. With larger inventory systems, the responsibility lies with your staff to keep things synced up. Again, Shopify or Squarespace aren’t of much help with these potential headaches.
Continuum’s enterprise quality Managed Professional Commerce Services ensure that the inventory levels and attributes (product details, weight, case dimensions, etc) remain synced with your systems, regardless of whether you use Oracle Netsuite, Fishbowl Warehouse, Zoho Inventory, inFlow, OrderHive, or any number of other systems. Our services update your inventory counts to reflect online sales and provide reports of how your online channels compare to local in-person sales, for example.
And because we load details of your products and shipping classes, there’s no guesswork when it comes to calculating logistics real-time.
Don’t confuse presence with results. If you build it, they may not always come. Many businesses find this out the hard way, after spending weeks loading product details into self-serve platforms, while paying subscription fees for a site that fails to generate sales or any form of actionable intelligence.
We make sure to define strategies to plan, target, and measure efforts to get in front of prospective buyers with high propensity and intent.
Self-service platforms won’t ask or answer the following questions:
- How do we ensure that our digital strategy synergizes with our physical sales and isn’t just a separate operation?
- What geographies and segments do we target for maximum impact and foundational growth?
- How do we generate and capture leads for long-term growth?
- What campaigns should we define and how do we measure and feed back data into the next decision-making cycle?
- What areas of our business should we expand in, based on sales performance and intelligence?
- How do we find and get in front of prospective customers based on propensity before they even know to look for us?
These questions are constantly being asked and answered by our team for our managed clients. The Managed Commerce Professional Services model creates a mutually beneficial relationship, where sales and revenue growth, gaining strategic intelligence, and driving the long-term success of the company are core to our focus.
Learn more by calling us at (919) 766-0671 or by submitting a contact request on this page.