There continues to be hype aplenty on AmazonSupply and Alibaba. These online purchasing platforms are certainly taking bites out of distributor wallets as they elevate price comparison potential to a new level for traditional distribution channels. But companies need to be careful about how they adjust or build an e-commerce strategy based on the perceived impacts these relatively new alternate sourcing channels have, particularly into industrial markets.
B2C requires very different components than B2B, whether it’s e-commerce data, marketing, usability/functionality or infrastructure. Too many companies are getting distracted by consumer-oriented functionality. Much of that is important in terms of usability, but customer service features are critically important on the B2B side.
By far, data quality, which includes product specs and content such as description and graphics, is the highest priority. If a customer or prospect shows up on your site and only gets a very limited view of a product’s specs, description or safety data sheet, they will do their research somewhere else. They'll move onto Google - or even to Amazon.
Nothing will lose a prospect or customer more quickly than crummy (technical term) data. Groom this horse and feed it well before making the shopping cart pretty.