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How to Compete Online

Compete Online
THINK YOU CAN’T COMPETE ONLINE? THINK AGAIN

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Distributors know that competition is fierce in the B2B marketplace. With big-budget companies sinking millions into their eCommerce efforts, and big-name contenders like Amazon Business joining the fray, it can be discouraging for smaller businesses. But all is not lost. In fact, more and more distributors are realizing eCommerce is not as far out of reach as they thought. With more affordable and accessible commerce solutions available, distributors are finding they can compete online and provide their customers the buying experience they want.

B2B organizations have complex business needs which are very different from those of consumer retailers. They require an eCommerce platform that integrates well with their ERP system, can house and manage potentially hundreds of thousands of products, and can handle unique order processes and payment terms required by their customers. Some people think these types of business demands equate to an enormously high-cost eCommerce solution, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Unilog has developed a digital commerce platform custom-made for the B2B marketplace that offers all these capabilities – plus much more – for a fraction of the cost of other systems. This white paper provides a fundamental overview of Unilog’s digital commerce solutions and content services which make eCommerce possible for small to mid-sized B2Bs.

Purchase orders, payment terms, customer-specific pricing. Not just any eCommerce platform can handle these special types of business requirements. In order to conduct business online, distributors need a flexible and customizable solution. That solution is CIMM2, Unilog’s SaaS eCommerce platform that’s not only fully functional, but affordable.

A SOLUTION THAT MEETS B2B NEEDS – WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK

Unlike other eCommerce platforms, CIMM2 provides everything a wholesale distributor needs to run a successful e-business, including a strong content management system (CMS), extensive search capabilities and, most importantly, a dedicated product information management (PIM) system. Unilog’s cloud-based PIM houses all the content for products, which can then be managed and delivered to internal and external business systems that use the data. Together, Unilog’s PIM and CMS create a tightly integrated system that delivers superior functionality and performance – something you can’t get with any other eCommerce provider.

CIMM2 is an ERP agnostic system, so it can easily transition with an organization’s future technology upgrades and changes. Plus, it has an API toolset that allows integration with ERPs and other back-end systems, including third-party applications. For B2B customers, CIMM2 offers a multitude of functions and tools that enhance their online experience, including:

  • A responsive-designed website that provides site accessibility anywhere, anytime, on any device
  • A native mobile application that provides account management tools, and is “device aware” (utilizes camera, GPS, etc.) and downloadable from iTunes and Google Play
  • Easy navigation and filtering tools to help lead buyers to products quickly and easily
  • Flexible transaction and payment options with punchout capabilities
  • A customer portal where buyers can review their account information, including order history and order status
  • Buyer behavior tracking to gain customer insight and create personalized shopping experiences
  • Automatic re-order capabilities

While large corporations like Grainger invest millions into their eCommerce ecosystems, small businesses can accomplish the same result with CIMM2 for an affordable monthly fee. Unilog’s all-in-one solution delivers a great e-store experience, and at the same time helps increase efficiency, reduce costs, and grow an online business.

Unilog’s PIM and CMS create a tightly integrated system that delivers superior functionality and performance – something you can’t get with any other eCommerce provider.

CONTENT THAT BENEFITS EVERYONE

An eCommerce site is worthless if the content isn’t there. That’s because today’s B2B buyers are primarily using commerce sites to research and compare product offerings before making a purchasing decision. If your product data is bare bones, or worse, incorrect, buyers won’t bother going to your site. Fewer visitors means fewer chances of a sale.

Distributors find themselves in a content rut because they tend to rely solely on the product information supplied by product manufacturers and present this data currently housed in their ERP system. Unfortunately, manufacturers are some of the worst offenders when it comes to poor product data. Most offer only nuts-and-bolts specifications and/or a couple of features about their products – which many distributors end up using as-is on their sites. So what is going to make a buyer purchase from one distributor site over another? The answer is better content. We’re talking content that includes a detailed description of the product and its benefits, more relevant and useful specifications, as well as multiple product images, in-use videos, technical drawings, and corresponding manuals. These different types of content are considered enriched content, and are on the top of a B2B buyer’s must-have list when it comes to product shopping.

With so much Internet competition out there, businesses are looking for ways to stand apart from the rest and unique, enriched content can play a huge role in making that happen. Whether you’re a manufacturer or distributor, enriched content can be a game-changer. Unilog’s product content services division takes basic product information and transforms it into powerful content that not only attracts people to your site, it helps keep them there. Search engines like Google look for website pages that feature unique and SEO-optimized content, so when they find it, they tend to rank those pages and the website higher in a person’s search. In addition to enriching product content, Unilog also cleanses and normalizes entire product catalogs. Normalized data ensures attributes are populated across categories of products and that all the data is presented in a consistent format so buyers can compare products easily and accurately.

Another essential piece of enriched content is product taxonomy, which is the proper classification and hierarchy of products and their attributes. A good taxonomy propels an eCommerce site’s search and browsing capabilities, allowing people to find products easily and quickly. Unilog’s taxonomy experts refine the framework of existing taxonomies, as well as build taxonomies from scratch, in order to make product catalogs more logical and useful for customers.

Unilog’s product content services can help businesses throughout the entire product lifecycle – from product onboarding and enrichment to taxonomy development and data management – in order to make their eCommerce data relevant and robust.

AN EXPERIENCE THAT ELEVATES CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

Enriched content and a top-notch eCommerce site play a huge role in the customer experience. Businesses have been talking about the “customer experience” for quite a while now. While some may think it’s an overused term, Unilog believes the concept is still very much under-utilized in the B2B marketplace.

“The ‘customer experience’ is much more than a marketing buzzword,” explains Joe Bennett, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Unilog. “For your B2B site, it means getting buyers the information they want about the products you sell – quickly and accurately.”

He emphasizes that data needs to be enriched, categorized, and normalized so that the customer can easily find your products using taxonomy navigation or site search. “Enriched data is the fuel that fires the customer experience.”

Effective eCommerce is not out of reach. Any size business can sell online using Unilog’s leading technology and services, and they can do it affordably. If you’re interested in seeing how they can build or improve your e-business, contact a Unilog member today. They’ll demonstrate how their CIMM2 software works and show you how they can improve your current product data, free of charge. Remember, eCommerce success is possible; all you need are the right partners and platform to make it happen.

ABOUT UNILOG

Unilog is a global technology company that delivers powerful, affordable eCommerce solutions for the B2B marketplace. Our cloud-based eCommerce platform and product data enrichment services help distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers increase online sales, reduce cost to serve, and enhance their digital channel. Unilog is an ISO 9001:2008- and ISO 8000-certified company with North American headquarters outside of Philadelphia, PA and international headquarters in Bangalore, India. For more information, visit www.unilogcorp.com.

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