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Optimizing B2B eCommerce KPIs with eProcurement Integration and B2B Automation

Learn how eProcurement integration and B2B automation, including PunchOut catalogs, help businesses to optimize B2B eCommerce metrics and KPIs.

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eComm101_Resources_Button.pngIn the last six months, many B2B buyers have transitioned from traditional sales channels to eCommerce. A recent McKinsey survey shows a 20 percent increase in B2B eCommerce sales since the COVID–19 pandemic began. Buyers increasingly prefer self-service, a substantial attitude change from just a couple of years ago.

We cover the factors driving accelerated B2B eCommerce adoption in ‌B2B eCommerce in a Post-COVID World. Lockdowns limit in-person sales meetings. Remote working lends itself to online self-service procurement. In addition to these “push” factors from the buy-side, B2B sellers also want to move more business through their eCommerce platform.

In the wake of evolving B2B buyer and seller behavior, eCommerce is a critical sales channel for many suppliers, distributors, and manufacturers. It accounts for a growing proportion of revenue and profits, so companies can’t afford to offer a lackluster eCommerce experience.

Monitoring and optimizing eCommerce metrics and key performance indicators is the key to maximizing performance, but which measures do the most successful B2B businesses focus on?

Online Retention Rates

Online retention rates measure the proportion of buyers who continue to use your eCommerce store after trying it out. Do they arrive on the store and immediately pick up the phone to call a sales rep? Do they make one or two orders before deciding they liked the old way better?

Poor online retention rates signal dissatisfaction. That might be because a buyer simply prefers not to buy online. It might be because they find eCommerce inefficient compared to other channels. Or it might be that your eCommerce store doesn’t provide what buyers want and expect.

Online retention rates are among the most impactful measures of eCommerce success. If you measure disappointing retention rates, consider these questions:

  • Can buyers find all the information they need on your store? Transparency is critical, especially where product details, pricing, and bulk-buy discounts are concerned.
  • Does your store lack integration and automation options? Over half of B2B buyers use eProcurement, and they expect sellers to offer PunchOut catalogs and sales order automation so they can transact and manage spending within their eProcurement platform.

Talk to buyers to find out why they are dissatisfied.

Online Order Frequency

Online order frequency is a straightforward measure of how often a buyer places an order online in a given period. In principle, eCommerce increases order frequency by providing an accessible self-service platform. Buyers can use the store at any time from any location. As they become more accustomed to buying online, you should expect to see online order frequency rise.

If online order frequencies remain static or decline, there is an opportunity to enhance your store:

  • Make it easy to reorder. A low-friction reordering process with minimal rekeying and browsing decreases the likelihood that buyers look elsewhere or reach out to off-line sales.
  • Ensure that your eCommerce store offers catalog and pricing personalization.
  • Increase the visibility of your store in buyer eProcurement platforms. They are far more likely to buy regularly when a supplier has been pre-approved and is visible and accessible from their company’s preferred platform.

Cart Abandonment Rate

In the B2C eCommerce sector, high cart abandonment rates are commonplace. On average, between 55 and 80 percent of consumers’ carts are abandoned. However, B2B eCommerce abandonment rates tend to be lower and the purchase funnel is very different. PunchOut2Go customers purchasing via PunchOut catalogs are in-fact averaging a 47% conversion, with some seeing upwards of a 90% conversion. Orders are larger and more complex, sellers are often approved and contracts negotiated in advance, and buyers are more often driven by business requirements than personal factors.

If buyers do frequently abandon carts on your B2B store, there are several potential causes. Most obviously, they were dissatisfied with products and pricing. More likely, buyers are using the convenience of your cart to determine pricing and availability, before using an alternative channel such as EDI or offline sales to place the order.

Why would they do that? Often because their business’s internal policies mandate procurement through particular channels. Buying direct from an eCommerce store may be considered rogue or unmanaged spending. The solution is to talk to buyers about integrating your eCommerce store with their systems.

If your store is integrated with their eProcurement or ERP platform, sales order information, invoices, and other data can be automatically exchanged between the store and buyer’s platform. Rather than disconnected and unmanaged, the store becomes part of the approved procurement process, while also offering streamlined, low-effort, and error-free procurement.

Average Time to Process Order

Average time to process orders is a holistic measure of the length your business takes to process orders, from when it was placed to delivery and payment. Clearly, many factors affect this measure, from logistics to stock levels.

However, one of the main reasons for transitioning buyers to eCommerce is increased efficiency. Average processing times for eCommerce orders should be lower compared to phone and email orders, for example. If they aren’t, it’s a sign that your eCommerce store is not as well integrated as it might be into your back-end software and your buyer’s platform.

In the worst cases, the eCommerce store is completely disconnected from other systems. Once, it was not unusual for an eCommerce store or electronic ordering system to share no data automatically. Employees might have to print out orders and then manually enter them into ERP and other platforms.

Those days are in the past, but B2B businesses should prioritize back-end and buyer integration. With modern automation software, data can be transferred to ERP, CRM, and other platforms. Invoices, order notifications, and other data can be automatically communicated between seller and buyer. Every automated step reduces cost, complexity, and average order processing time.

To learn more about the present state and future of eCommerce, download our new eBook eCommerce 101: B2B Best Practices. To learn how PunchOut2Go can help your business to optimize B2B eCommerce KPIs through eProcurement integration and automation, complete the form below—an eCommerce integration expert will contact you soon.

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