Industry News




 

11/16/2011

Facility Managers: What to Look for in a B2B e-Commerce Solution

By Laura Brooks

 
B2B-E-Commerce

Laura Brooks is the vice president of business-to-business e-commerce for Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc.

Consumers and professionals alike are turning more frequently to the Web to explore products, pricing and potential purchases.

As e-commerce becomes more ubiquitous across all facets of life, facility managers are looking to business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce sites to provide the same navigation, search and product features of a consumer site along with the professional products and solutions for their job.

All B2B e-commerce sites are not created equal and a hasty decision can lead to frustration, lost time and squandered resources.  Facility managers should carefully consider the features and benefits of a site to determine if it meets their needs and those of the organization as a whole.

The most important attribute that facility managers should look for in a B2B e-commerce solution is a full assortment of the products needed to do their job. By providing a complete selection of equipment and products − from cleaning products to chemicals and equipment − facility managers can easily choose or re-order the items they need quickly and efficiently. 

Make sure the site can accommodate a range of business functions across the company by providing office supplies, technology, furniture and other business essentials in addition to facility products.

A great B2B e-commerce solution should allow facility managers to consolidate suppliers and coordinate shipments for multiple locations. The site should be flexible enough to enforce the contracted product assortment and pricing by displaying only those items. Another great feature to look for is a site that remembers individual site visitors and customizes content so that it’s relevant to their needs.

Other features to look for in a B2B e-commerce solution include:

Usability – Ensure the site is user-friendly for all employees and makes it easy to get what they need that’s on contract. Look for a B2B e-commerce solution that’s intuitive and offers training videos, guides and helpful tips for using the site as well as ample customer support services.

Faster navigation – Today, people expect websites to provide instant gratification. Make sure the site you choose can help users quickly find the products they need. Even better, check if previous orders or frequently purchased items are displayed on the home page to make re-ordering easy.

Product recommendations  – Not only should a great B2B e-commerce site deliver exactly what the user needs, it should also offer relevant alternatives that meet the company’s goals such as sustainability or supplier diversity. Further, the site should be able to narrow product search results by specific attribute filters such as size, price, color and other unique characteristics.

Side-by-side comparisons – The B2B e-commerce solution should allow users to compare multiple products at the same time so they can weigh the pros and cons of various items and select the right product for their facility.

Ability to customize – A best-in-class e-commerce solution will be able to seamlessly integrate with your company’s existing infrastructure and work flows. Look for a provider that can personalize the content and enhance the overall website experience by incorporating company logos, branded imagery and language so that the site looks and feels like a natural extension of your company.

Business focused – Finding and purchasing products shouldn’t be the only benefit of a B2B e-commerce solution, it should also offer reporting tools to help decision makers analyze procurement needs and how money is being spent.  These resources can yield helpful insights that inform smart business decisions and save the company money.

When selecting a B2B e-commerce solution, it is important for facility managers to keep in mind what attributes will make it easier for them, and their staff, to do their job and find the right products for their building. Facility managers should also consider how a solution can benefit not only the individual department, but also help the entire organization to consolidate suppliers, drive procurement efficiencies and achieve cost savings.

The best B2B e-commerce site will offer solutions for the entire organization.


 

 
04/16/2014

The U.S. Army plans to start development of a solar array that will provide about 25% of the annual installation electricity requirement of Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
Los Angeles has remained the top city for ENERGY STAR certified building since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year, according to a new list released by the EPA.
04/09/2014
Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
04/07/2014
Field demonstrations of newly proven energy-efficient technologies are yielding valuable results for the U.S. Navy, helping it meet energy goals.
04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
03/07/2014
It is possible to harvest energy from Earth's thermal infrared emission into outer space, according to new research from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
03/05/2014
Is your building prepared to handle an emergency?
03/04/2014
NASCAR revealed five newly installed charging stations for employee use.
Page 1 of 42
FirstPrevious[1]2345678910NextLast

Upcoming Webinars

Sponsored Links