Defying Traditions- B2B Ecommerce

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With the growing popularity and acceptance of ecommerce in West Africa, especially Nigeria, a few leading manufacturers and wholesale distributors have started contemplating the advantage of incorporating the simplicity and ease of ecommerce for their B2B business. The principle factor to influence the B2B business is to bring simplicity in their bulk sales. However, a B2B ecommerce engine can throw many more advantages that can amplify the growth of the wholesale business houses.

The traditional method of wholesale business

For centuries, trading has been a flourishing business in West Africa. Many large business houses and global conglomerates have set up their shops in this region and have established a trusted network of distributors. These distributors deposit a said amount in the wholesale company’s bank account or just walk into their sales office with cash. The sales office take their purchase order, check the distributor’s credit, check the stock in their warehouse, and accordingly release the inventory. The inventory is then either collected by the distributor from the warehouse or is transported to the distributor by the wholesaler.

 

 

Many advanced trading companies have deployed sophisticated ERP systems, Warehouse and Inventory Management Systems, to reduce the gap between supply and demand. However, the conflict between their sales team and inventory planning/ purchase team remain due to multiple failures or delays in order fulfilment. Sales automation and CRM systems are able to take orders in the field by the salesmen, and have been able to provide advance inventory planning information. This has further reduced the supply demand gap.

 

 

Automation of Processes

While organizations are focusing on automation of their traditional business model with business intelligence for improved forecasting, few of the B2B trading houses have considered increasing their sales capability without any substantial investment in sales force multiplications. The automation of sales, distributor network relationship management, financial reconciliation and live credit checking, are some of the neglected areas that can provide the competitive edge to any manufacturing or trading company. While others focus on the Red Ocean and struggle to excel against their competition, some leaders will be creating the Blue Oceans for their businesses. This Blue Ocean will open up new market segments that will keep creating uncompetitive revenue for years to come.

 

 

B2B Ecommerce

This Blue Ocean can be created by incorporating B2B ecommerce for manufacturing and large trading houses. New distributors and retailers can now place orders with complete convenience of their homes, pay with their credit cards, direct bank transfers, or even with their mobile money. Credit checks can happen on the fly with online bank reconciliation, improved business intelligence and stock planning can now reduce the supply demand gap. Further, an automated points management system can encourage premium membership of distributors and retailers resulting in better relationship management.

 

 

Some of the world’s best manufacturing and trading companies have already incorporated B2B ecommerce for selling to other businesses and to their channels. 

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Palash Bagchi

Executive Director at STPL Global
Palash is an experienced business leader with exposure to industries of Civil and Construction, Education, Information Technology, Banking and Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Energy & Utility. He has been engaged with the world's top organizations and imbibed skills of process standardization, global risk management, sales and marketing, and alliance management. Palash is experienced in various emerging markets including Africa, South Asia and South East Asia and has lived and operated in these geographies. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering and has studied Finance from IIM, Calcutta. He provides strategic direction to his organization and is instrumental in creating the operating ecosystem.

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