These days, figuring out how to deliver e-commerce can be daunting because of the incredible speed of change. Savvy sellers may feel overwhelmed at times, but they are jumping into e-Commerce with both feet because they know it will deliver big payoffs for their business.


Failing to do so can spell disaster long term. According to Selling Power’s Gerhard Gschawndtner, today’s companies are buying and thinking about their sellers in radically new ways, creating cataclysmic market shifts—and e-commerce lies at the heart of that change. For example:

  • 85.3 percent of buyers go online to research purchases
  • 42 percent of all B2B spend is electronic
  • Leading companies place 60 percent of their orders electronically through supplier networks


Clearly, buyers are voting with their feet, using e-commerce in greater numbers than ever before. But even if you’re excited about the potential rewards of e-commerce, misperceptions can derail your efforts. To help you avoid the pitfalls as you plan your e-commerce approach, I’ll be doing a series of articles on common myths to avoid:


  • Myth #1: “E-commerce primarily benefits large companies with big IT budgets.”
  • Myth #2: “E-commerce will disintermediate me from my customer.”
  • Myth #3: “My e-commerce process is complete when I can deliver information and take orders online.”


Let’s tackle the first one now.


Myth #1: “E-commerce primarily benefits large companies with big IT budgets.”1.jpg

As myths go, this one’s a whopper—since e-commerce can benefit smaller companies just as much as large ones. In fact, e-commerce serves as an instant equalizer that often masks your size so you can focus on competitive differentiators, such as nimbleness. E-commerce resources help to level the playing field across companies of all sizes and budgets, allowing you to:

●   Connect to customers who are ready to buy. The high level of no- or low-cost marketing exposure that e-commerce provides can be a major boon to smaller companies, with solutions like Ariba Discovery offering direct access to even very large global buyers who would otherwise be difficult or impossible to reach.

●   Enhance agility and service. Many smaller sellers pride themselves on their ability to rapidly respond to customer demands. By automating processes and enabling real-time connectivity, e-commerce boosts your speed and efficiency at every stage of the order-to-cash cycle—so you can elevate customer service from good to great with little IT investment.

●   Make your size disappear. With e-commerce, the size of your business matters far less than the capabilities you bring to the table. For example, sellers who provide touchless service by integrating with customers through the Ariba® Network are highly valued by buying organizations as technically savvy and easy to do business with—making them more likely to win deals than competitors who lack these abilities. What’s more, cloud-based access enables your company to leverage current technologies without a large IT expense.


Next week we will look at Myth #2: “E-commerce will disintermediate me from my customer.”


Ariba offers extensive resources to help simplify and streamline your path to e-commerce success, whether you’re just starting out or have a well-developed solution in place. Contact to find out more.


This article was first published in the Supply Lines group. You can subscribe to the Supply Lines newsletter here.