Starting eCommerce? Management Boards’ most common mistakes

Care to share?

Our clients are often surprised by the things that happen when they start eCommerce. Below we describe some of them, so that you can use their experience while building your own eCommerce.

Distributors get offended

Manufacturers often worry that entering eCommerce may have repercussions and their distributors will stop selling their products. To prevent that, they often sabotage their own eCommerce – hiding it, complicating or artificially raising prices. It just annoys customers and the entire project turns out to be flop. Distributors have a huge advantage in sales to end customers – one of the reasons is their wide offer. If you follow market prices they won’t take offense. Often a manufacturer’s eCommerce is the only place where their entire range of products and other value-added services are available. It’s great value for customers, but it doesn’t reduce retailers’ sales. Distributors will sooner be offended if you won’t help them support eCommerce by creating good product descriptions and images.

We have our warehouse, we have call-center

Of course, you have a warehouse but it was designed to support traditional sales. eCommerce changes everything. Orders will be much smaller but there will be a lot of them. You will probably need to hire more pickers and if you don’t operate 24/7 you should consider doing so. eCommerce will allow you to reach many new customers, but before you earn their trust they will buy less but more often. Changing the mode of operation also applies to call-center.


We have integrated systems for ages, it’s not a problem

ERP, WMS and CRM systems in your company were probably chosen quite a long time ago to handle your business. In eCommerce, it’s crucial to act quickly – the customer expects that shipment will take place immediately after they click ‘Buy’. In order to accomplish that, you need to keep track of inventory on-line, update price lists for customers and their shipment status. Sometimes, every customer receives an individual set of data (prices, product catalog and availability). This generates a large amount of information exchange, so you need to provide professional and stable communication systems. Orders can’t get lost when the ERP system slows down or crashes. You’ll probably need a data bus to flexibly integrate all systems. We are aware of these problems and created Divante ESB data bus, developed specifically for eCommerce and Omnichannel.

We have our hosting and our data is safest there

Your current systems work for a small number of users within the company. When you start selling on-line, you need to prepare for substantial online traffic. Sales peaks increasing tenfold are not uncommon in eCommerce. I know very few companies whose data centers are ready for that. It is both because large amounts of equipment that would have to be put in data centers and because of additional Internet connections. Each of our clients ultimately migrates their eCommerce to an external data center. This allows for taking advantage of the flexibility of cloud solutions and ensuring entire package of online security tools within a fixed price. Storing sensitive data outside the company is very simple to adjust. Remember that your money has been “on-line” and in “cloud” for many years now.

We already have photos and product descriptions

On-line products have to compensate for the lack of possibility of seeing them with your own eyes with photos and descriptions. You will probably have to invest to prepare both of them in a professional way. Implementing e-commerce is often an opportunity for the professionalization of a product information management system. Implementation of PIM such as PimCore will facilitate product information management throughout the company – from translation to publication in multiple formats.

Creating descriptions and photos often requires reprocessing them by Quality or Legal departments. Make sure that you start quickly enough.

Marketing, Sales or IT departments

eCommerce is done by Marketing, Sales or IT departments

eCommerce is a sales channel, not a department in your company. It should be thought-through carefully who will be responsible for implementation.
Risks associated with placing eCommerce in various departments:

  • IT – too much focus on selecting familiar technology rather than the technology that best meets the needs of eCommerce customers, too little emphasis on business and customer-oriented aspects
  • Marketing – treating eCommerce as advertising brochure
  • Sales – fear of conflict between channels and “hiding” eCommerce as a result

It seems that at first its best to create a department or position that will only deal with eCommerce. This will ensure appropriate balance of all the company interests.
If I had to choose one existing department that has the greatest chance of successful implementation of eCommerce I would say that Sales. You just need to make sure that they won’t sweep the subject under the carpet :)

Read also: Why do you implement a B2B eCommerce system wrong?

Published July 12, 2016