Published: Sunday, 28 April 2013 15:54
Written by Beryl Jones
B2B websites are like Work Trucks, while there are wild differences, the basic functions must remain the same. With a work truck, there is a chassis, engine, seats, lights. If you borrow a work truck or change work trucks, it only takes a few minutes to get underway. Web sites work the same way, there is a way to configure a product, retrieve technical information, ask a question and so on.
People feel a lot of comfort when they can get immediate results. Your dealer website needs to have this comfort. Your dealer portal is the vehicle that makes it easy to do business with your company any time of day or night. If your dealers get frustrated with your dealer portal, they call, to many calls can really gum up the works of your business.
The primary purpose of your B2B portal is to be responsive to your dealers needs. Partners are happier when they can help themselves. Your portal facilitates this ability for dealers to find the answers that they need.
1. Configure Product – This is the ability for your dealers to choose product options, much like on your old fax order form. Web design elements have special rules, with “check boxes,” multiple options can be picked, with “radio buttons,” only one choice at a time is valid. These are standard conventions used across the software industry. When your dealers place orders for product on-line you get a clear copy of the order with the id of the actual person at your partners company who placed the order.
2. View order status – Partners want to know where their order is in your pipeline. Sometimes you can ship immediately, other times you may have to build the product. When you update the order status, your dealers can find where their order is in your pipeline at any time.
3. Register Warranties – No more paper warranty cards, all of your consumers in one database for you to contact any time you would like.
4. New product brochures – Available on the same day to everyone, regardless of their location. With as much color and detail as you want. Your brochures are delivered and printed free to you, since you provide the digital copy. Of course, you will still need to print consumer marketing material, but getting quick delivery to your partners provides value.
5. Technical Service Bulletins – You can change them yourself, any time of the day or night. If it’s important, feature it on your dealer home page.
6. Technical Service Manuals – No more inserting pages, provide this electronically. Cost reductions for both, you and your partners.
7. Clearance, specials, new-product releases, sales tips – All under your control, with instant delivery to your dealers.
8. Inventory Trades – Give your dealers the opportunity to trade or sell their inventory to other dealers.
Putting together a web portal for your dealers is mostly about thinking of the things that you do for your dealers manually, and delivering a better solution to your dealers. Being web based, any work that you do to clarify, make easier, and improve your solution will have a payoff. Every dealer will be able to take advantage of your efforts. With careful thought incentivizing dealers to submit questions can result in a powerful FAQ database.