01 Nov How do EDI and eCommerce work together?
If you are a direct procure company, or a company where most of your customers purchase electronically through EDI, you may be asking
How do EDI and e-commerce work together?
Is e-commerce just for letting small mom and pops purchase from us?
What role do procurement systems and EDI have with B2B e-commerce?
To understand how EDI and e-commerce work together, let’s start by throwing out the notion that a shopping cart is needed. I wrote about this topic in a post called “Who cares about the Add to Cart button”. Before the transaction itself, typically your customer perform some sort of research and discovery to find the type of product that meets their needs. Your customers are looking for the right parts or products to fit their applications. They are searching, comparing, and sharing with their project teams. They are researching detailed specs and maybe even ordering samples. The problem with the term e-commerce is that it unfortunately implies Commerce or a transaction (I mean that is what Commerce means – ha). However, B2B e-commerce has morphed well beyond the simple transaction to become a platform where customers can find information, research, compare and share with team members and colleagues and have self-service. This is what a good B2B site does – and to do that it needs ALL of the components of an e-commerce site (search, navigation, cross-sell, up-sell, etc.). In the end, those users can purchase the products using any means that is standard for their company.
B2B E-Commerce complements EDI
Many companies that are direct procure or extremely heavy EDI users may never need to add a shopping cart or method of transaction. However, the value of B2B E-Commerce for you may be creating a digital platform that meets your customers needs and expectations in their research and discovery phases well before the transaction takes place.
I wrote a little more about some of these topics: