How to get started with e-ordering

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One of my first roles in the industry was at one of the world’s largest document management providers (Xerox). I was tasked with persuading businesses to use digital for order processing. 

Open-minded prospects, ‘low hanging fruit’ as I called them, saw the benefits of e-ordering and converted to digital. However, a large percentage refused. Problems inherent with digital meant that many decided to stick with tried and tested methods, such as fax and telephone. Nearly 20 years on, many of those problems remain. And while some are embracing a hybrid model, many businesses still ignore or refuse digital. Today, fears around revealing B2B pricing online is a common roadbloack to implementation.

E-orders need to be processed with 100% accuracy. Once an order is received, a supplier needs to ship the order quickly. Errors and delays equal costs, so e-ordering is directly linked to revenue. If e-ordering fails to deliver fast, accurate, line-level data, the bottom line suffers. 

When it comes to e-ordering, businesses have options:

  • EDI satisfies high volume clients, but it’s costly and timely to implement. 
  • OCR might be used for smaller clients for back-office functions, such as finance, but it’s not accurate enough for eOrdering 
  • E-commerce businesses have built B2C-style portals for their B2B websites. These satisfy some customers, but they don’t scale. 

With over 50% of all inbound orders still non-digital, the challenge is the same as the one I faced in 2001: beyond ‘low hanging fruit’, how can a business convert more customers to e-ordering? 

Businesses need to find an answer and fast. B2B buyers today demand digital. According to a recent Forbes article more than 70% of a business’s 20 to 35 year-olds are involved in the B2B buying process and, based on a study by Merit, one third are the sole decision maker. These digital natives are in key buying positions and expect automated solutions. They browse online, tap-to-pay and receive next-day delivery. Anything less is unacceptable.

These buyers might demand digital, but they don’t want to lose time keying in purchase orders. And they don’t want banter with a salesperson. They just want to send an order, knowing it will be accurately processed. Ideally, most want to send an application generated PDF via email.

Over 90% of buyers prefer this method of sending orders as their purchasing system can send them with no technical development needed.

CloudTrade offers an e-ordering solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes, providing 100% accuracy from PDFs. Additional features, such as address lookups, auto code swaps and unit of measure checks mirror the traditional role of call centres. It’s the perfect solution for a new generation of tech-savvy buyers.

CloudTrade also gives buyers control and visibility. This lowers operating costs and increases customer satisfaction levels, leading to repeat business and higher revenues. What’s more, our focus on accuracy leads to time savings for call centre teams. They can then focus on value adding tasks, such as cross-selling and up-selling. E-ordering does all the hard work for them.

The demands of buyers today are different from those that I encountered when I set out in the industry. Today, a new generation demands instant, fast, accurate solutions at the touch of a button. Surprisingly, the problems with e-ordering that buyers encounter are the same as those faced by my prospects. Fortunately, PDFs offer a solution, and it’s one I wish had at my disposal when I was starting out. 

Is ordering a bottleneck for growth in your business? Contact the CloudTrade team today for a chat about e-Ordering.

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