On the 28th of February, Marello and Oro Inc. organized a webinar themed ‘Roadmap to Digitizing your B2B Commerce Business’. People from all over the world joined in to learn more about digitizing B2B processes with the right software solutions. You can view the webinar recording here.
Motti Danino started by introducing various models by which B2B commerce can be explained.
- Self-Serve Model – Prospects go online and buy goods without buyer-seller interaction
- Buyer-Seller Interaction – Online negotiation before purchasing goods
- Marketplace – A proposal is made with which people can interact, for example through bidding
- B2B2C – Companies that sell to retailers, who in turn sell to consumers
- B2C & B2B – Companies that sell to other businesses and directly to consumers
- Omni-Channel – Having multiple sales touchpoints
Though just being simplified examples, the models show that B2B commerce is very complex. Models may show overlap, and involve many different processes. Many of these processes are handled through offline interactions but may be improved by digitization.
Digitizing Business is More Important than Ever Before
Research being conducted in the B2B field shows that there are many online opportunities for B2B businesses as buyer behavior trends show a shift towards online purchasing:
- 94% of buyers do research online before buying goods
- 74% want to buy online because they feel its more convenient
- 42% conduct the research on mobile devices
- 85% of purchases will be made without human interaction by 2020
Also, Frost and Sullivan have calculated that the B2B online gross sales volume will grow from 5.5 trillion (2012), to 12 trillion in 2020. This does not only mean a huge increase in online B2B sales, but also means that B2B will surpass online B2C sales! Nonetheless most B2B companies are not yet ready to internally support that growth due to outdated processes. In order to be able to take advantage of the growing market, businesses have to start digitization now.
What, and How, to digitize?
Often business owners find it hard to see how to start the digitizing process. They ask themselves where to start and which processes to take up first. Motti Danino had some good advice: ‘Nobody knows the business better than you. Prioritize. Find out what elements in the business prevent you from growing. For example look at how can you service the customer better, and how can you improve marketing. Go in phases: test, learn, improve and continue. Implementation is an investment, but is worth it.’
With that advice in mind it was Marello’s turn to give insights on how digitized processes can help businesses out.
Marello, where Supply meets Demand
Falco van der Maden, founder at Marello, continued the webinar by introducing the audience to Marello. Marello is an Open-Source ERP solution for commerce that is built on top of the Oro Platform. The solution helps business owners streamline backoffice processes that are connected to inventory management. Falco van der Maden explained that many processes within commerce businesses lie within inventory management. Omni-channel inventory logging, inventory balancing, handeling shipments and managing returns and refunds, are some of the most important tasks. They can be time consuming, and keeping a clear overview can be hard. Digitizing these processes will save time and improve cost-efficiency.
Inventory Logging, Balancing and Forecasting
Marello supports various processes that are connected to inventory management. Falco van der Maden showed some examples of the advantages that the solution poses:
- Knowing where stock is located can be quite a challenge, especially in omni-channel environments. Stock may be located in multiple stores and warehouses. The challenge is to make sure not to run out of stock in one place, while having to much stock in the other. Real-time cross-channel tracking of stock therefore poses a huge advantage.
- Real-time stock levels can be used to plan purchase orders in workflows, making sure that products that need restocking are purchased in time and with the right supplier.
- The forecasting module analyses trends from the past, trends in the market and even weather forecasts. These forecasts give accurate insights into how much stock is needed, at specific times. Purchase advises are generated which can be transformed into purchase orders, so that the supply will always be added in time. Inventory will always be balanced and evenly spread throughout multiple touchpoints.
- An extra feature is added in the return management functionality which makes sure that returned stock can be up for sale again as soon as possible.
- Shipment has always been a huge part of commerce. Marello streamlines shipping by offering options to ship directly from warehouses or stores. Also, store pickup and dropshipments (shipping directly from the supplier to the customer) are options that can be included.
Marello can be completely customized to individual needs. All the features can be set up in various digital workflows, improving efficiency and effectivity!
The examples given underline the purpose of the webinar, showing how digitization is not only an investment but also a huge opportunity for B2B businesses.
Lastly Falco van der Maden shared some exciting news. Marello will be sponsor of OroMeetupNL which will be held in the Netherlands in April. More information about the event will be published soon.
Looking Back on an Inspiring Webinar
The webinar has provided some new insights on B2B commerce and the importance of digitization. As online B2B commerce will surpass online B2B sales, it is important to start thinking about digitizing processes now. Solutions such as Marello pose great solutions for handling processes online. Digitization is not only a investment, but an improvement above all!
The Marello team would like to thank Oro Inc., for helping us out in hosting the B2B webinar!