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O2O Commerce for B2B Companies


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Web stores and other digital sales channels are an essential part of successful B2B sales strategies. Online sales will never be able to fully replace offline purchases, but they can enhance them – even for B2B companies. These online-to-offline strategies, also known as O2O, are part of a solid omnichannel strategy that boosts sales and provides a superlative customer experience.

O2O commerceWhat is O2O Commerce?

Diane Wang defines O2O commerce as the integration of offline and digital discovery, research, payment and aftersales services, as noted in this article.

The acronym itself isn’t without its faults, as discussed in this article on Tech in Asia. One of the points made there is that most e-commerce purchases of non-digital products and services are delivered offline, making these transactions online-to-offline by their very nature.

However, what we mean by O2O in this article is a customer journey that has both online and offline phases. An example of such a journey would be a buyer searching for a product online, visiting a warehouse or showroom to view the product and then buying it on location or ordering the product online.

Chances are you have already made an O2O purchase yourself, whether it’s buying a product in a brick-and-mortar store after encountering it online, or searching for and buying a cheaper alternative of a product online you first found in a physical store.

 

O2O Commerce and Omnichannel

A strong omnichannel strategy is an essential part of facilitating a seamless O2O experience for your clients. In order for them to successfully switch channels during their buyers’ journey, you have to ensure that they can and will find the exact same information no matter how they view your products.

 

Straightforward Searching

Make sure that your clients can easily find the product they’re considering across channels, particularly if they’re searching your web store while at your brick-and-mortar shop or warehouse. There are several ways to do this: distinctive product names or even using item numbers, for instance.

 

Same Information on All Channels

It is also essential that your information is aligned. This means making sure that the price is the same – imagine the frustration of the potential client heading back to the office to find out that their desired product is cheaper in store – and that your inventory levels aren't accurate.

 

Single Source of Truth: Microsoft Dynamics

Safeguarding the quality and consistency of your cross-channel information provision can seem challenging, especially if your products are highly technical in nature. Even the slightest mistake in the product specifications can lead to a client buying a product that doesn’t meet their needs – and small mistakes are easily made when manually entering data into systems.

This is why an integration between ERP systems such as Microsoft Dynamics and your digital sales channels is an essential part of ensuring your product data is always accurate. Not only are you able to use a single source of truth for all channels, but the automatic exchange of data minimizes the risk of human error – no more typos or oversights leading to miscommunication.

 

Real-Time Data: the Key to O2O Success for B2B Companies

Simply using your ERP as the source of product and inventory data across all your channels isn’t enough. If there is too much of a delay in the refreshing of data, you could still be sharing incorrect information with your clients. Price differences could be discussed and adjusted, but inventory inconsistencies can lead to problems that are more difficult to fix.

Imagine: your client needs one of your products with some urgency. So much urgency, that they can’t afford to wait for a delivery from your web store. Instead, they look up the product they need online and head to your nearest brick-and-mortar store.

However, when they arrive, it turns out that that their desired product in out of stock at that particular location. The web store’s inventory data doesn’t update in real time, and the final products were sold in the time between the information refreshing and your client visiting your store.

 

Learn More in Our On-Demand Webinar

Want to offer a fantastic O2O experience? Then you need a rock-solid omnichannel strategy as your foundation. Find out what omnichannel means for B2B, and how your company can provide a great buying experience across all channels through smart integration in our free on-demand webinar: Unifying the Shopping Experience for Your Clients: Taking an Omnichannel Approach.

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