Three “Analog” Processes to Optimize Your Digital B2B Ecommerce Strategy

  • July 21, 2022
Employee are working and maintain a data.

Your product is ready to go, you’ve secured marketing channel relationships and you’ve digitized everything necessary to implement a phenomenal B2B ecommerce business strategy. You’re all set, right? Not quite. There are still plenty of pitfalls that could sink your digital revenue goals if you haven’t paid adequate attention to the right analog processes.

Developing a strong network of multiple online partners who can market and sell your products is a great way to grow your top line, but it also opens the door to possible brand erosion due to late deliveries, partial shipments and damaged items. This can happen even when you’ve planned and implemented an optimum customer experience, resulting in the biggest possible threat to the best laid plans — disappointed customers.

The good news is these challenges are predictable and avoidable if you know how to look beyond online quote-to-cash processes and understand where your most impactful moments of truth with customers lie. It’s vital to consider and mitigate these risks when dealing with new and unknown distribution channels.

Select the right etailers

It can be tricky to know what makes a good etail partner for every step of the customer journey. Most manufacturers know to look for a strong online presence and shopping cart experience in their partners, but leadership and fulfillment processes are equally important. Consistencies in warehouse networks, fulfillment centers and transportation methods contribute to positive customer experiences.

To best gauge how a partner might perform, take a walk in your end customers’ shoes and consider the disruptions to satisfaction they might face. Most online shoppers like to know when their items will ship and arrive at their doors. Make sure every ecommerce partner has accurate communication processes in place to answer these questions proactively. It’s also best to work with partners that are flexible in how they address differing customer needs. They should offer simple returns and simple processes shoppers can use to change delivery dates, and they should accommodate special delivery requirements and offer white-glove delivery where appropriate.

The last mile is the most important one

Though every step in the transportation process plays a role in delivering a positive experience, none is more visible to customers than the last mile. There are a multitude of ways to handle the last-mile and making sure partners employ the best one for your products and customers is key. Retailers who own their own transportation fleets have the most control over the last mile experience. Those who use other carriers can implement guidelines for how third parties should handle, unload and present products.

Once again, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If you ship your product with excess packaging, there’s a vast experiential difference between drivers who remove it and haul it away versus those who dump and run, leaving everything behind. Examine partner processes to check how products are delivered and make sure guidelines are followed.

Packaging design that matches fulfillment hazards

Almost every product makes several stops between the manufacturer and end customer. A lot can happen on that journey, and only understanding what takes place at every node can advise packaging design that protects contents while avoiding the unnecessary expense of “over packaging.” Your packaging system design should match whatever hazards products may experience in the supply chain.

This design includes how items are stored and handled in distribution centers and if they are shipped on mixed load pallets during less-than-truckload (LTL) shipment or with parcel carriers. Items that are stacked higher require stronger packaging, just as those that are unitized in certain ways may need better protection. These considerations introduce complexity that may not be present in supply chains where products are destined for brick-and-mortar retailers. The right packaging gives you more control of your brand image after products have left your hands and you no longer have direct control over their journeys.

Subscribe to our blog


Related Blog Posts