Business to business e-commerce is on the rise! Worldwide
B2B e-commerce revenues are estimated to reach around
US$ 2 trillion in 2004. This is a significant leap from
last year’s US$ 1.4 trillion. However, according
to a recent survey, although, more than 70% of companies
have already used Internet as a purchasing channel, a
mere ten percent of their overall spending is directed
via the Internet! Contrary to popular believe, this means,
B2B e-commerce has still large potential to grow.
Internet has the capacity of changing the conventional
way of doing business. Today, you can not only buy and
sell your products and services on the Internet, you
can, virtually, shift all your business processes to
online solutions as well. If you take advantages of
new Internet based technologies, the outcome would be
tremendously beneficial to your business. How to do
this without spending a fortune and not putting a huge
pressure on scarce corporate resources? The possible
answer could be B2B exchanges!
A B2B exchange is an online marketplace, where buyers,
sellers and intermediaries form communities, exchange
views, offer products and services, and conduct business
By becoming a member of a B2B exchange you can benefit
in both cost-saving and revenue increase – two
primary requirements of productivity increase.
New sales channel
By becoming a member of a B2B exchange, you open a low
cost, highly functional and easy-to-use sales channel
for your company. You expose your company to a new targeted
audience that otherwise would have been untapped. Prospective
customers can buy products and services from you, using
various venues and features of the B2B exchange, where
you are a member.
Marketplace: All B2B exchanges include a marketplace,
where suppliers can post sales offer of their products
and services. Buyers, looking for specific products,
can easily find best suppliers that suit them from the
marketplace. A populated marketplace can easily become
a good sales channel for a supplier.
Electronic catalog: As a member of the B2B exchange,
you are allowed to add all your products or services
to the consolidated online repository of the exchange.
Adding your products to the repository helps to create
online standardize electronic version of your product
specification – if you don’t have that before
– and use the same catalog with other electronic
sales systems – even with other B2B exchanges
using XML interface.
You can publish sales offer of your entire catalog
to the marketplace, eliminating a need for other web
presence. You can add products or services to the repository
one by one or you can use XML interface to upload your
whole electronic catalog.
Web Store: Some B2B exchanges allow you to convert
or integrate your website to their exchange. This helps
you to handle sales conveniently from your website and
the marketplace of the exchange seamlessly. You can
make a web store from scratch with the help of integrated
website builder of the B2B exchange as well.
Auctions: One of the great features of many
B2B exchange is their auction systems. As we all know
from the immense success of Ebay, auctioning is a great
way of selling products online. Some exchanges boast
reverse auction system, where suppliers bid for a deal
posted by a buyer.
As a supplier, you can participate in those tenders
without any extra cost involved.
Low customer acquisition cost
Your mere presence in the B2B exchange might bring you
new customers! Since the buyers come to the exchange
themselves; your cost of getting customers through this
channel is relatively low in comparison to other traditional
channels. You can even increase your visibility by advertising
in the key places of the exchange, where your prospective
buyers frequently visit. Being highly targeted, these
ads produce incredible results.
Improve customer service
Ability to have constant interaction through the B2B
exchange allows you to serve your customers better.
You can track the whole ordering process from payment
to delivery and bring greater efficiency in customer
service. The integrated functions of an exchange such
as sales management, internal messaging service, lead
management, etc. also help you managing customers service
Efficient information sharing method
When needed, you can instantly update your catalog and
inform customers about changes. Whether you are launching
a new product or having a web seminar, through the B2B
exchange you can share the information more efficiently.
Some B2B Exchanges use sophisticated knowledge management
systems to create, capture, reprocess and reutilize
information intended for specific group of audience.
These contents or information can be displayed on demand
or in time to a member – when needed.
Business processes management
One of the primary objectives of using B2B exchanges
for you should be their ability to handle, run and administer
various business processes. These solutions assist you
to streamline your business, reduce overhead costs and
reduce documentary errors.
Using technologies in a bid to streamline business
processes like supply chain is nothing new. Companies
have been using various solutions to support product
development, customer service, procurement and other
integral processes for many years. Before the Internet
era, many companies have invested enormous amount of
money in infrastructure building to automate supply
chain process. Today, thanks to the Internet, even small
companies have opportunity to use highly sophisticated
supply chain solutions for a small cost. Many B2B exchanges,
such as Rusbiz.com, allow small companies to use supply
chain management solution for a small fee. The major
benefits of using supply chain solutions include:
1. Reduced sales time
2. Better inventory control
3. Lower overhead
4. Reduced manufacturing cycle time
5. Reduced cost of goods
Business to business e-commerce is evolving very fast.
The fact is, at one point, most of all business transactions
will take place via the Internet. B2B exchanges are
a way of building cost-effective e-business environment
on the Internet, which is capable of producing concrete
and quantifiable business benefits to the participants.