- George Matyjewicz
- George Matyjewicz,
- Chief E-Commerce Officer for Silk Road Gifts, Inc.
- is a veteran of the Internet and computer field.
He can be reached at (770) 752-7022 Ext 821 or e-mail to georgem(at)gapent.com
- Silk Road Gifts, Inc.
- 1250 Broadway
- 15th Floor
- New York, NY 10001
- (212) 560-7800
- 233 Peachtree Street
- Harris Tower
- Atlanta, GA 30303
- (404) 836-8900
- Anapolis, MD
- (800) 472-6332
- City of Industry, California
- (888) 472-6332
- Dundee, Michigan
- (888) 883-8046
- Live Person
- 462 Seventh Avenue
- New York, NY 10018
- (917) 210-9000
- Pipe Live
- 1233 Walt Whitman Road
- Melville, NY 11747
- (800) 768-0072
- George Matyjewicz
- Alpharetta, GA 30022
- (770) 752-7022 Ext 821
- Creating a B2B Web Site:
- What You Need To Know
This is the year for business-to-business (B2B) Web sites, because thatís
where the revenue and profits are, according to e-commerce consultant
George Matyjewicz. .
Determine what you want to do online. Who is your target customer?
Why should someone do business with you? What differentiates you from
online competition? Where is your sales territory? What is your order
minimum? How do you handle re-orders? How up-to-date are your back office
order processing, inventory and accounting systems?
Donít rely on your understanding of the market. Hold a series
of focus groups with your target audience and listen to what they say they
want. Focus groups are relatively inexpensive -- $5,000 to $7,000 each,
and you should do three. They are among the best investments you can ever
make. Ask participants if they will purchase from you online, how do they
find you now and what would convince them to come to your site.
The Internet is a global market, which can potentially give you
international business and create related issues. Do you want that - or do
you only want domestic business? Do you presently sell factory-direct or
through wholesalers or distributors? Are they able to handle a different
mix of customers and orders? Recently online fulfillment services have
emerged, that can fulfill your orders, even if you are a small
manufacturer or distributor. Netship.com, shipper.com and ifulfill.com are
three that will handle companies with less than $10 million in sales (or
less than 50 orders a day). For larger companies, Fingerhut and Ingram are
two to consider. For a recent manufacturer-client in China that sells
direct to retailers, we partnered with USGift.com, an online service that
targets retailers with annual sales between $500,000 and $5 million. That
company will consolidate retail orders, place a larger order, and ship the
smaller orders. Win-win for all.
Your site. Consider what to include in your site. Terminology
and convenience of use are paramount. Split your site into two sections:
one for those discovering you for the first time, and one for existing
customers who donít need to see your promotion. Be sure the buyer using
your site can navigate between products and categories easily. A good rule
to follow is "two clicks to find, three clicks to buy." Focus on
your core business and avoid the temptation to stray -- like accepting
banner ads from others.
Communications and support. Our focus groups told us that the
number one concern was communication, knowing when there were delivery
issues, being able to contact somebody and get a prompt response
(preferably from the same person) by e-mail, fax or telephone. Donít
think that a Web site will require less support. Since the Net is global,
and since folks like the convenience of "shopping" at their
convenience, you may need 24/7 support to answer questions via e-mail,
online "live person" discussions and offline telephone calls.
"Live person" technology allows one of your customer support
reps (CSR) to chat with a customer online, to answer specific questions
and pass additional promotional products to the customer. Two companies
offering this service are Live Person and Pipe Live. It works wonders for
supporting and add-on sales.
Develop a marketing or branding strategy. Do you want to sell
unique product to your customers under their brand? Or do you want to
promote your brand? How much of the market do you want to own? (Venture
Capitalists want you to own 30 percent of the market). Itís harder to
promote B2B sites; trade shows and magazines are the two most popular
ways. And donít forget to build an online community where folks with
like interest can gather and share ideas. Think about having experts
Comfort and trust. For customers to buy from you, they must be
comfortable doing business with you, trust your products and that you are
going to be around for awhile. Tell them who you are, what you do and why
they should do business with you.
Avoid the latest and greatest. Content is still king! Customers
would rather know more about you and your products than how pretty your
site looks. Avoid meaningless graphics or "splash pages", i.e.,
pages that come up without any links to other sections, or that only have
a statement or graphic. Also, many people still use slow modems, and lower
capacity machines and cannot tolerate streaming videos or java scripts.
Unless you are selling music, forget sound in a B2B site. Test your site
on different browsers. Netscape works differently than Internet Explorer
which works differently that AOL. Features that look great on your machine
may not work on others.
Confidentiality is a concern, not only with financial information,
but also when they submit an idea. Make a privacy statement.
Quality products are mandatory for success. Online customers cannot
touch and feel the products, so you need to convey the fact that you do
quality work and that they can get samples before they buy. But, control
sampling, so you know who ordered what and that they donít order more
samples. Consider a policy that will apply the cost of the sample toward
George Matyjewicz, Chief E-Commerce Officer for Silk Road Gifts, Inc.
is a veteran of the Internet and computer field. He can be reached at
(770) 752-7022 Ext 821 or e-mail to georgem(at)gapent.com