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Heiler Software, a provider of catalog management and e-procurement technology, released what it considers to be five trends in e-procurement in 2011. According to the company, more and more elements from Business-to-Consumer online trade are making their way into B2B ecommerce systems and practices.
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Following are some highlights from Heiler's list and links to related articles from the MDM Archives:
- More Transparency. Purchasing managers are always looking for more transparency when it comes to supplier prices, employee ordering habits and the composition of a supplier's product lines.
- Social Commerce Model. The internal product search engine in e-procurement is now on par with methods known in the Business-to-Consumer e-commerce world. As a result, in the B2B world, facet searches, features and product suggestions are becoming increasingly important. Product evaluations (or reviews) are also becoming more important. MDM looked at how distributors and suppliers are working to standardize how they use aned send data in The Business Case for Better Data.
- Taking a Differentiated Look at Service Procurement. Services based on standardized service directories will be on the rise in e-procurement in the coming years.
MDM looked at the challenges in moving distributor catalogs and sales online in an April 2010 article: Balancing Online & Print Catalogs. According to a survey done at about that time, about two-thirds of distributor and manufacturer respondents had some sort of online catalog already on their websites. But even with this movement online, confusion persists in the industry about the role electronic catalogs can play.
Here are some lessons learned from Grainger's evolution in the e-commerce space: Grainger's E-commerce Evolution.