Everyone’s talking these days about how crucial B2B e-commerce has become for manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers. Fall behind in digital commerce, and Amazon.com or other leading online players will eat your lunch, the argument goes.
But that raises several questions:
- How do you start out and define a digital growth strategy that works for your business and will actually grow sales and profits?
- How do you win support from your sales teams as well as your senior executives?
- How do up know if your e-commerce business model is meeting expectations?
Those are among the topics that several veterans of business-to-business digital commerce will address during the Business Models Case Studies Track at the B2B Next conference in Chicago on Sept. 25 from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Many companies are just now expanding their initial B2B operation—and others are only getting started with e-commerce. But the process begins with a business model that lays out a clear strategy and a timeline for hitting key goals and objectives.
Forging a successful digital business model doesn’t mean just building fast on-ramps to happier customers, more sales and higher profit margins. It can also mean building new relationships with suppliers to establish inventory and fulfillment strategies that better support the online channel, working with teams of sales agents to help them learn how to work with—and complement—self-service e-commerce, and showing the results of a digital strategy to senior executives.
Kevin Yapp, senior vice president of digital transformation at Avnet Inc., a large distributor of electronic components, will address such issues in his B2B Next session, “Changing the Business Model Means Changing the Business.” Yapp, who was chief strategy and marketing office at global electronics distributor Premier Farnell before Avnet acquired it in 2016, will provide attendees takeaways on how to build a roadmap for digital commerce, win support of employees and executives, and measure results in sales and customer satisfaction.
As companies build a digital model that works for their business, a common goal is building online sales as a larger percentage of total revenue. In her session “Accelerating the Digital Shift,” Kristina Howe, vice president of e-commerce at business services firm Deluxe Corp., will provide tips on how to track “digital-first” key performance indicators and set on a priority on what’s most important to long-term success. She’ll also share advice on overcoming internal objections to new processes designed to
produce improved business performance.
For example, Howe will explain how measuring customer lifetime value is more significant that just looking at simple customer-acquisition costs.
Another important growth area for manufacturers and distributors is in providing services that complement traditional product sales and help sellers differentiate among competitors who may be selling similar products. Sadaf Kazmi, vice president of global digital strategy at Thomson Reuters, a provider of legal and financial information and services to businesses and consumers, will elaborate on how adding services to complement product can build broader relationships with customers, build revenue and increase profit margins.
Takeaways from her session will include tips on how to bundle products with the right services, and how to source resources from both within and outside a company to grow a services business.
Following their individual presentations, Yapp, Howe and Kazmi will further explore digital transformation strategies in a panel discussion withB2B digital commerce expert Andy Hoar, CEO of consulting firm Paradigm B2B and one of the organizers of B2B Next.
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