Yesterday, we posted a blog that discussed the transformative power of B2B e-commerce.  Today we'll learn what Lexmark's key takeaways were.


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Lexmark’s Lessons Learned

  • Your company’s blemishes will show on the web. “Anything you have in terms of pricing issues, disconnects in product information, or breaks in the supply chain or customer support will become very evident on the web,” Heather says. This makes it crucial to document processes and have contingency plans in place to ensure fast resolution when breakdowns occur. “The worst thing that can happen is an issue arises and the customer is the first one telling you there’s a problem.”
  • Invest in building a team to support your e-solution. “Having the right skill sets in place is key to keeping everything running smoothly once you launch,” Heather says. Lexmark’s team covers both internal and customer-facing tasks, with clearly defined roles to cover every major need—a significant part of which is managing culture shift.
  • Build technical solutions with scalability in mind. “Often we had salespeople come to us and ask for functionality for a specific customer,” Heather explains. “We said, well, what if other customers are going to need this? Let’s not just build it for one, let’s build it for all.”
  • Support customers from site to ship on the web. “Understand that your customers who begin their shopping experience on the web want to stay on the web, so it’s very important to centralize customer service [online],” Heather says.


Measure Results to Escalate Impact

Research indicates that best-in-class companies track their e-commerce ROI[3], and Lexmark meets this mark while keeping customers top of mind. “The ROI for an e-business solution is not just measured in dollars or units sold, though we do track them,” Heather says. “Our primary focus is customer satisfaction and analytics. If a customer is dissatisfied, it can cost us the business. So we make it easy for customers to leave us feedback; we track how many customers we retain each year, how many new customers are added, the number of order issues, and how long it takes us to resolve the issue. Most recently, we have seen customers expand their business with us.” The simplicity and ease of use provided by the company’s e-commerce solution have been key drivers of this growth.


[1] “The Emerging Role of E-Commerce in the B2B Customer Journey,” BtoB magazine survey, June 2013.

[2] For example, in the BtoB magazine survey, participants’ agreement with the statement that “The technological, branding, and customer interaction synergies between IT and marketing are natural and inevitable outcomes of B2B e-commerce, leading to greater alliance between the CIO and CMO functions” was 7.3 on a 10-point scale (where 10 was “completely agree”), and 81 percent said this evolution will occur in the next three years or sooner.

[3] In the BtoB magazine survey, 57 percent of best-in-class selling organizations answered yes to the question “Does your company have an ROI metric to measure the total effect of your B2B e-commerce?” (vs. 34 percent overall).