Challenges Faced by Distributors:
There are two specific reasons why B2B eCommerce adoption is in the lower single digits.
- Emails with no part numbers: Most distributors’ customers prefer to send their orders via emails in plain English and industry jargon, with or without part numbers. Others, who use a centralized buying or an ERP, would rather send a Purchase order as an attachment than first create a PO in their system and then come into the distributor’s eCommerce portal and repeat the same process.
- Non-Stocks: Most customers’ orders have a mix of products that the distributor keeps in stock, and sells but does not stock. For a customer, an eCommerce website will only allow them to fulfill products in stock and has a “call for price” or “call for availability” for non-stocks.
As a customer, both of the above challenges create tremendous friction in sharing their demand; hence, they gravitate towards traditional means, i.e., emails and phone calls.
Traditional OCR technologies are the current solutions for converting customer orders into ERP systems. However, these technologies require the customer order to be perfect, often failing to understand plain English, industry jargon, or orders without part numbers. This limitation forces sales teams to spend their valuable time manually converting these orders, which hinders efficiency and prevents them from focusing on more strategic tasks.