TagWeb Project Management

B2B eCommerce – Challenge #8 – Multiple Payment Options

This is part of a series. See here for the initial post and a list of all the articles in the series – Better B2B eCommerce solutions are coming

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In the B2B world it is not uncommon for customers to have customer credit or an authorized purchase amount. You need to offer multiple payment options to allow customers to checkout in the best manner for them. This is especially helpful for customers that are making significantly sized purchases. For these large purchases your customer may not want to use a credit card.

In these cases you can associate customer credit with a customers account in the ERP and that credit will allow them to make a transaction on the eCommerce site without processing a credit card.

After they add items to their cart and proceed through checkout they will have the option to either “Pay by Credit Card” or “Pay with Customer Credit”.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #7 – Saved Carts, Favorites, Templated Carts, and Quick Order Entry

This is part of a series. See here for the initial post and a list of all the articles in the series – Better B2B eCommerce solutions are coming

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As a large scale business, you want your customers to have the flexibility to build orders over time and not lose their work. Imagine that your customer builds up large orders over time before processing an order. We have built multiple tools for quick order entry that allow your customers to easily manage the purchasing process. Below are several examples of how these tools are used in the B2B eCommerce world via xTupleCommerce.

Saving your cart for a future purchase

Let’s imagine that you are selling building materials to construction companies. It would not be uncommon for the customer to log onto the site and begin adding required products to a cart but not be ready to process the purchase until a future date.

With our Saved Carts feature a customer can build one or several saved carts to their profile. This means that they can add multiple items to a cart and save that cart to their profile with a name that they choose. They can even save several carts in their profile.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #6 – Marketing content vs. ERP content

This is part of a series. See here for the initial post and a list of all the articles in the series – Better B2B eCommerce solutions are coming

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If you’ve ever worked on an eCommerce project you’ll know how important content is for increasing conversions. The art of fine-tuning marketing content, campaigns, keywords, and product descriptions is essential for ensuring customers find your products and make purchases. Ensuring that content management is fluid, easy, and non-technical was incredibly important when our team was building xTupleCommerce.

Unfortunately, most eCommerce systems are built to handle products and shopping carts well, but they are not good at building marketing campaigns and various other content types like testimonials, blogs, reviews, and company news. We’ve overcome this problem by building xTupleCommerce on top of the Drupal Content Management System (CMS). The Drupal system handles both eCommerce and content marketing very well. With Drupal we can build content types and make it incredibly easy for customers to manage large amounts of content on their website (blogs, news, marketing pages, landing pages, etc) as well as managing internal ads, promos, homepage carousels, etc.

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Defining Page Tables for Creating Content

This article references the use of Content Types. I covered the concept of Content Types

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Page Tables are a concept that is built on top of content types. If you’ve never heard of content types you should start by reading the article listed above.

Page Tables are simply the definition of each content type offered to the content manager that will be collecting content. Once they have the content types, they then have a template for exactly what information they need to gather when developing content for the website. This enables the team member to begin collecting, organizing and formatting content before the project is even in the design phase.

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Content Discovery and Defining Content Types

The term “Content Types” is a technical term that I’ve adapted from the Drupal world. Content Types simply refer to types of content that could be on your site. For example, News could be a content type on your site. This is a type of content that appears over and over again and always has the same structure. For instance, when you are on most websites and are viewing the News you’ll notice that the structure of the news is almost always the same.

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Driving traffic to your marketing or eCommerce site

Once you have a website, you have to push people to go to it. When your site first goes live, if you haven’t done any form of marketing, don’t be surprised if you are getting less than 20 visitors per day. This is totally normal. It’s simply because the world doesn’t know that your site exists. You have to begin the web marketing process to get people to visit. Over time you will see those numbers go up, you will see more users engaging with you, and hopefully you’ll see your organization begin to thrive.

Web advertising

The fastest and easiest way to get people to go to your site is through advertising. You can buy Google Adwords, Facebook ads (which are great!), and other ads that will send people to your site. Usually, people want to start here first, but this is an easy way to burn through a lot of money in little time. If you have a budget for web based advertising, and your web site is ready for visitors, go for. The problem is, if you don’t think through a conversion strategy, the traffic may not be worth the money. To be successful with paid traffic you have to devise a funnel that will capture people then carry them through a conversion process. If you don’t have that strategy planned out yet, then I’d avoid burning through that cash. Instead, try the inexpensive methods first and then focus on building a strategy around paid ads.

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The importance of gathering requirements for web projects

When managing web projects it’s not uncommon for customers to not immediately reveal a lot of details about what the project requirements. They may make a lot of assumptions about what you already know, or what others have told you. When leading the development of a web project it’s your job to pull information about all requirements out of your customer. During the discovery phase you must probe your customer with deep questions, constantly.

For instance, let’s imagine that your customer wants to use the site for lead generation and inbound marketing. They are imagining a site where their customers can fill out forms that will collect personal information like email addresses and phone numbers. Their plan is for the sales team to receive this information and use it to follow up with leads. This is a golden nugget of information, but we’ve only brushed the surface. It’s now your job to dive deeper.

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10 Questions to help define your brand and audience

It’s incredibly important that you understand your brand and your audience. For some, I may be preaching to the choir, but many times I’ve found that customers will simply want a good looking site with information about their organization and a contact us form. However, for you to build a successful website, you need to understand who you are talking too, and what preconceived notions the audience already has of the brand.

It’s your responsibility to dive deeper. The most successful projects that I’ve been involved in including a deep conversation about the customer’s audience and exactly what the customer wanted to accomplish online. As you are reading through these questions below you may feel that they are a bit ridiculous, or too intrusive, but I’m telling you with great confidence that by asking these kinds of questions you will be putting yourself in a better position to build a successful site. Actually, you’ll be putting yourself in a position to maintain a successful organization.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #4 – Allowing guest purchasing

This is part of a series. See here for the initial post and a list of all the articles in the series – Better B2B eCommerce solutions are coming

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As a large scale b2b business, you want the ability to keep a customer record in your ERP for various reasons. But consumer’s today are used to making purchases without creating accounts online (if they choose to do so). Your system should accommodate what is best for your business. At the end of the day, you should decide if your customers would like to allow guest purchasing and give users the ability to check out as a Guest. If so how that will impact your business. At the end of the day, customers tell you a lot of information when checking out. But getting them into your system (forcing them to create an account) could have some great benefits for both parties. You could continue to engage with them via email marketing, offer additional promo’s or special offers if they are a registered user, and you can more easily track their involvement with your site.

When choosing a b2b eCommerce platform you must choose a system that can accommodate either need. You should be able to choose whether you want to allow Guest customers or not. Better yet, you should be able to toggle these settings easily on your own. Actually, it provides various options and you can choose which is best for your business.

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B2B eCommerce – Challenge #3 – Multiple user’s purchasing on behalf of one company

This is part of a series. See here for the initial post and a list of all the articles in the series – Better B2B eCommerce solutions are coming

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In large B2B transactions it’s typical for a business customer to have multiple user’s making purchases. A lousy solution to this problem is to create one account for the customer and then expect all their user’s to share that username/password. Instead, a better solution is to associate multiple eCommerce accounts with one customer account.

Let’s imagine that you sell building materials to construction companies and your construction company customers are buying materials for multiple jobs. However, the construction company’s account should be keeping record of the purchases in the ERP and each purchase should be affiliated with the appropriate project. The project managers for those jobs may need to buy materials for each of their individual projects. Instead of calling their headquarters to place orders it would be much more efficient to allow them to log into your eCommerce site and purchase the materials they need for their one job.

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