Even if you’re excited about the potential rewards of e-commerce, misperceptions can derail your efforts. Here is the first of three common myths to avoid when planning your e-commerce approach.

 

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

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.

 

 

 

 

Tampa-based MarkMaster, a seller of marking and identification products, offers a good example of how e-commerce benefits small sellers. Since joining the Ariba® Network and becoming Ariba Ready™ in 2000, the company has used e-commerce to achieve 20 percent year-over-year growth, garner international sales exposure, and effectively serve thousands of global customers—including 80 Fortune 500 companies—from a single US location. During the same time period, error reductions and efficiency gains realized through e-commerce have helped the company cut overhead in every facet of the business.

 

“Being an e-commerce expert has solidified our existing customer relationships, enhanced trust, and opened up many opportunities for new business,” says CEO Kevin Govin. “You go from being a supplier to being a partner, because you’re able to provide a real value-add to customers beyond the price of the product, which is huge.”

 

 

 

In The Next Blog: Myth #2. “E-commerce will disintermediate me from my customer.”

If you don't want to wait until tomorrow to learn more, then go to Which Online Catalog Is Right for You?http://exchange.ariba.com/groups/supplylines/blog/2013/03/27/dont-be-fooled-by-e-commerce-myths to read the full article.