While working within the logistics industry, I watched my customers spend many hours going back and forth with their partners to see what was available to them. Once they found the part they were looking for, the process would often push the order through an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) order. However what happens all too frequently is that after they push the order through, they would get a call or an email saying, “that part in no longer in stock, please try our distributors”.  

It made me think: 

  • How long does it take to search through a vendor catalog to find the part that is needed? 
  • After the part is found, how many follow-ups are done to check on the order status?
     

Sure there are EDI transactions to handle this interaction, but throughout the years and countless tries to adapt available technologies, people are staying in their comfort zone  manually processing orders. Why should people change when it so often feels like the process of an EDI takes longer than the manual process. EDI has a significant role in a lot of companies, but that role is diminishing; with greater focus on lowering cost of sale and increasing revenue, businesses are seeking out a better solution, one that engages and informs both the buyer and the seller. That solution is B2B eCommerce  

People have believed and have been told that EDI is part of their digital strategy but really it is a small piece in the overall evolution to being a digital first organization. EDI has its place and is a good buying tool for orders that are large and recurring. But B2B eCommerce goes a step further, empowering business to deal with those ad-hoc scenarios where products and order management processes are complex. An eCommerce solution helps a business model in multiple ways. First, it gives the customer an opportunity to be in complete control:  knowing the exact state of the order, a real-time buying experience and complete transparency. Second, it allows vendors to be an actual partner to help the business grow. Unlike EDI, eCommerce has the ability to cross-sell, up-sell, sell online across all routes to market and most importantly the ability to manage the complexities associated with customer-specific product catalog and contract pricing. The next generation of B2B transaction is here and it is eCommerce. 

With HCL Commerce and our leading technology, we can help leverage the investments that have been placed in the past. Our 9.1 release brings our customers a truly world class experience and puts the power into the buyer’s hand. How many specific contract pricings are within an organization? Depending on how large the business is there can be hundreds! With HCL, we can empower the business users to manage specific contract pricing immediately. Our platform has the flexibility to create the best experience and the agility that is needed to ensure customers maintain control of and visibility into the entire order experience.  

Imagine the scenario where a production line needs a component, but the regular product is not in stock – but the commerce system offers comparable substitutions identical in spec right there as part of the experience? This provides the buyer with the tools for real-time response and transparency. However, for the seller it allows visibility into their back-end systems to deliver customer satisfaction 

This leads into optimized merchandising. Optimized merchandising is the ability to deliver the products the customer wants and help the seller position and sell the products they need to move or have a better margin. By offering easy search tools, utilizing natural language processing to improve the customers buying experience, this enables 2 significant goals for B2B selling. It will boost conversion rates for the business (this is that cross-sell and up-sell opportunity that was mentioned above) and will give an all-around better view, to see what vendors are really supporting the business as the business is grows. Here’s the question, how do we do this?  

Sound challenging? Leveraging our cloud native solution, HCL’s partners can accelerate your time to market and deploy in any cloud for a lower cost of ownership, in some cases in as little as 30 days. So take that first step on your digital transformation journey and get the most out of your platform with continuous innovation, no downtime and massively reduced total cost of ownership  

 

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