Why set up a b2b portal for your activities?

by Elliot Infelta on Jan 04, 2022

Did you know that more than 52% of French companies follow the transport stages of their goods through platforms belonging to different transport companies?

28% of them follow this same information via telephone call, and finally, only 13% of them follow the information on the tracking of their orders through EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) or API (Programming Interface) . According to this study , we understand that companies have different operating methods considering the tracking of their orders. However, all agree that these means allow them to enhance their businesses, save time and greatly satisfy their customers. But also and above all, setting up a b2b portal greatly reduces the risk of entry errors.

It is in part these different aspects that have led many companies to create a b2b portal in order to facilitate their exchanges. In fact, the principle remains quite simple, your customers register their orders, the b2b portal takes care of recording and sending this various information to the entire chain in charge of order tracking. Thus, all intermediaries will have access to the same flow of information and interact on it without risk of error.

In short, a system for managing order intake is a way to sustainably manage the life cycle of your orders, you ensure the fair and continuous monitoring of all information in the distribution chain, but also the management inventory, customer satisfaction and after-sales service. This operating mode therefore offers visibility to your customers and your company's departments who will have a permanent overview of order information such as stocks and for the end customer visibility on the progress of their order.

Wholesaler, producer, craftsman, are you up to date on this subject? We invite you to discover why and how setting up a b2b portal can be beneficial for your company's activities.

b2b portal

Telephone ordering widely used among professionals

You will have noticed that given current events it has become crucial to maintain a close relationship with your customers. Hence the rise in new technologies which have greatly impacted your business management, and created a new way to satisfy your customers.

To name just a few, you will now find CRMs (Customer Relationship Managers) which also allow you to automate certain tasks as much as possible, such as prospecting for example.

However, many companies today continue to use order taking by telephone or email for their activities, perhaps this is your case?

Among the reasons given, simplicity, trust and the human dimension are very often the excuses. According to companies, certain new technologies are not human enough for their tastes and may put off some of their customers who appreciate this human side despite the digitalization of certain activities, for example.

This method of taking orders, however, has its limits, because on a medium scale it will be even more difficult for you to take your customers' orders properly and without risk of error. Indeed, the fact that you take an order by WhatsApp or simply by phone call can lead to entry errors or interpretations and therefore jeopardize your customer's satisfaction.

This is why, as professionals, you should start thinking about implementing a system that allows you to maintain a “human” connection with your customers while offering a clear and simple way to take orders at any time of the day.

Changing consumption habits

In professions that require replenishing a company, a store such as in mass distribution, we often use replenishment solutions such as PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) or our computer to place an order with our supplier.

This tool can, for example, be used for the purposes of preparing your orders, controlling stock flows, supplies and inventories. To be used, the PDA works by label scanning or keyboard entry, this system greatly encourages the “zero paper” ideology in warehouses.

Thus, these different means aim to greatly facilitate the order taking of stores or companies by digitalizing their order taking from their suppliers.

However, this type of tool is mainly used by large companies, it will be difficult for you as a VSE/SME to set this up. This is primarily for questions of budget but also for questions of necessary infrastructure and training in order to correctly use the tool.

This is why we recommend that all wholesalers, producers, artisans and other independents choose tools that are simpler and more economical to implement.

What are the solutions to simplify ordering your products?

There are indeed simple solutions to implement to facilitate your order taking for you, independents:

  • Order portals
  • Mobile app
  • Marketplaces
b2B portal

The B2b portal

Essential to providing an optimal customer experience (User Experience), choosing a B2B order portal adapted to your needs and projects can have many advantages for you. To do this, you must think about the different ways in which you want to manage your information to be integrated, and of course your budget to create this order portal.

The B2B portal allows proximity to its customers

If you were a fan of taking orders by telephone for reasons of proximity to your customers, setting up an order portal will not erase this close relationship that you have created with your customers. In fact, through a single platform you will be able to communicate with your customers, inform them of the progress of their orders, answer their questions via chat or contact form, etc. Systems that are very easy to set up will allow you to keep your customers informed of all the news concerning your business, so you can devote more time to developing new products, looking for new customers, etc.

Visibility on the management of your stocks and schedules

You will no longer need to collect information one by one and interpret it, because going through an online ordering portal automatically centralizes this type of information. So, in just a few clicks you will have access to a lot of data regarding your order flow, your customers' purchasing habits and other crucial information. Thanks to this, you will have more visibility on your plans for the weeks or even months to come (restocking, launch of a new product, etc.)

An unbeatable value for money

Setting up an online ordering portal for you, independents, easily pays for itself. By this, understand that at present there are web solutions to create your online ordering or e-commerce site very accessible, you will not need to invest in different licenses and software with more or less results proven. Indeed, opting for this B2B portal tool means centralizing all your information in a single management tool useful to your business, so you will not need to purchase other software and therefore save money.

Other solutions exist, whether or not supplemented with an order portal, we present some of them to you:

b2B portal

Web application

As a wholesaler, producer, craftsman and other independents you can set up a web application to allow your customers to order your products on it.

However, this solution is extremely expensive since it will involve outsourcing this creation of application to web developers, count several thousand euros if only for the creation, then the deployment will arrive, the costs of accommodation, etc.

Despite its expensive nature, this solution is not really ready to be adopted by customers who are not accustomed to downloading an application, placing an order, etc. So you risk spending most of your time trying to explain to your customers how to place orders rather than taking care of more important matters within your business.

image marketplaces

Marketplaces

There are a multitude of different marketplaces, you will find purchasing marketplaces which allow buyers to quickly stock up on a wide range of products specialized in the food industry, others in textile products or even all products such as Ali Baba…

Other purchasing marketplaces are similar to an online purchasing center, such as Rungis Market or Métro, there are a lot of them and the commissions vary greatly depending on the marketplaces.

If the subject interests you, we suggest you take a look at our article which deals with new trends in b2b e-commerce

In the end, what should you choose?

In your case of a VSE/SME, the mobile site or order portal will be much simpler to develop and manage in the long term.

The mobile application requires the user to have to download it, this alone is already a barrier to use, moreover it requires to be available on iOS and Android, second problem and recently users wishing to order from 'a computer won't be able to do it.

Another fact, access to your offer with or without price will only be possible if the person downloads the application, a prospect may not make the effort to download the application without forgetting that your offer will not be referenced on search engines, forgetting about the visibility of your business on the web.

Keep in mind that for the creation of an order portal, it is advisable to start with a responsive mobile site first and see if your customers request the development in application. It is from this that you can modify this portal in order to meet the expectations of your customers.