Black Friday: Lessons Learnt for companies selling B2B

Back in 2014 Black Friday hit the UK, with some well publicised ugly scenes in UK high street stores.

This year, it seems people had learned from the past and were more prepared and we didn’t see the same levels of frenzied queuing and stampeding into the stores.  According to Springboard, a retail data consultancy, shopper numbers were down 6.5 per cent in stores across the country from 8am to midday on Friday.

However, despite a drop in store visitors, reports indicate that overall spending increased with trading up 25% compared with the beginning of the month.  It seems the option to shop online from the comfort of a home or office proved to be more appealing than a potential battle with a queue of frustrated customers.

Data from an internet address lookup service, PCA Predict, backed these stats up showing online activity was up 28 per cent by 2pm on the Friday.  And a press release by the market research organisation GfK reports that internet sales made up 75% of the overall value increase for this last Black Friday.

While Black Friday is not of significance to everyone’s business, the stats confirm what everybody already really knows – that internet sales are increasing in importance.  And whether you are in a niche or mass market, more and more customers are expecting to be able to transact business with you via an e-Commerce route.  Even companies with a traditionally business to business model are finding that their customers are wanting to have the convenience of placing orders with them online.

This might be a daunting prospect for those who have never ventured into the online e-Commerce world, but it can also be an opportunity, both in terms of efficiency and customer growth.  But key to gaining the most from the efficiencies that can be made and taking advantage of electronic orders (whether EDI or e-Commerce) is having integration between your front end (e.g. web) and back end (e.g. ERP) systems.  There is little advantage to be gained in moving from a system where someone manually rekeys an order from a telephone call, to a system where someone has to manually rekeying an order from an email generated from a website.

Technology Management’s e-Commerce platform which sits on top of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and seamlessly takes items and prices (including customer specific pricing) from Dynamics NAV to allow your customers to place orders over the web and passes orders back, directly into your backend system without the need for rekeying or manual intervention.  The addition offers much more than just items, prices and orders and gives what you would expect from a modern e-Commerce site with a fraction of the cost of a traditional commercial CMS system.

An e-Commerce solution integrated with your back end system gives your business a way to take away the problems caused from miss-hearing telephone conversations or miss-transposing an order or the delay caused by someone not being available to pick up a phone; it also gives your customers what they want – a quick, easy way to transact business with you.  Our e-Commerce NAV addition will allow you to and your customers to take advantage of the on-line world with very little
outlay and will grow with your business.

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