NAED’s Strategic Technology Task Force recently published their 3rd guide: Executive’s Guide #3: Strategically Managing Your Company’s E-Commerce Capability, a document that assists distributor executives in understanding key strategies to creating effective e-commerce websites. These strategies will support a company’s goals by increasing sales, improving efficiencies, and cutting operation costs.
Five key strategies highlighted in this guide:
- Link your website and business system. This integration will:
- Minimize out-of-stock situations due to outdated inventory
- Speed up order fulfillment by eliminating manual reentry
- Reduce errors on invoices
- Safeguard your cyber-security. E-commerce websites must:
- Provide Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates so customers know purchasing information is secure
- Sensibly use firewalls and spam filters to minimize electronic incursions.
- Equip customers to request quotes online. Customers should be able to:
- Request and view quotes online
- Request special pricing online
- Upload bills of materials for quotes
- Convert online quotes into orders
- Enable online ordering and purchasing. Customers should be able to:
- “Add to Cart” as well as change, edit, or update their electronic orders
- Have a choice of shipment methods
- Choose between various methods of payment such as bill to account, credit or debit, virtual wallets such as PayPal, and electronic checks
- Know their payment information is protected by Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance
- Furnish online order tracking. This will:
- Minimize calls asking “Where’s my order?”
- Allow inside and outside sales personnel to spend more time selling instead of handling calls pertaining to open orders
- Provide higher level of service to customers
The report also discusses strategies for saving customers’ time such as providing log-in capability, facilitating access to their account data, furnishing transaction history online, and offering online account management tools.