Amazon, Zappos, Zalando, and many other B2C online shops set standards for convenience and customer service. You can order any item 24 hours a day seven days a week and 365 days a year with a single click.
No phone call, no email, no order form is needed anymore. Depending on where you live, you will receive your order within one business day – in metropolises within hours. You can decide yourself whether you order your products in a web browser on your PC or a perfect app on your iPad or Android. With Amazon Echo, you can even order by mere voice command. The payment process is effortlessly, and the return policies are customer friendly.
Today, most people are used to these conveniences. I never want to miss them, and I enjoy e-commerce this way. However, companies in the business-to-business environment must pay attention. Your customers and your potential customers are used to the ease of Amazon and Zappos as well. They use these services in their private life. Now, after they ordered a new iPad and four books with a single click in the morning, they arrive in the office and must deal with a super complicated ordering process.
This is precisely where businesses globally must embrace the digitalization of their industry. Even though your loyal customer has been your customer for nearly two decades if a competitor offers an ordering process which is ten times easier, guess where your loyal customer will order next time.
No matter what it is your customer wants to order – copy paper, replacement parts, machinery, or even ten tons of steel – the ordering process must be adequate for the 21st century, especially for recurring orders. Paper-based ordering forms which must be faxed or scanned and emailed to you are a no go. 30-minute phone calls are a pain in the ass, too.
What you must do in your company is to deploy a digital task force. Arrange a diverse team to brainstorm the most uncomplicated way your customers may order your product. Don’t hire outside consultants – if help is needed I’d hire a coach who is leading the brainstorming session.
You will be surprised at the multiple ways your ordering process can be adjusted to the 21st century and a year where people order with voice commands.
It is entirely crucial to embrace the digitalization of your business. Otherwise, you risk perishing among super digital competitors.
How does your ordering process look like today? Do you agree that you need improvements? If you already have a prime example of a digital ordering process feel free to comment below or send me a short email; I am excited to check it out!