Several Challenges for B2B eCommerce

The New Year is here! And with it, even more conveniences will be afforded to the average shopper. For many, 2014 will usher in luxuries like buy anywhere/return anywhere and the option of same-day deliveries. Assuredly, the ease of making retail transactions will be taken to the next level.

Over the course of 2013, the team at NetSphere Strategies spoke with a variety of professionals in B2B procurement, who indicated that they unfortunately aren’t as hopeful for what’s to come in 2014. Unlike today’s consumers who discover new eCommerce features on a daily basis, too many of their purchasing partners still have to pick up the phone and cross their fingers that their sales rep is available to put in an order.

The question then is: In a world of so many new technologies, why are the manufacturing and distribution industries behind the times when it comes to eCommerce? As it turns out, the reasons are many. From complex sales channels to multiple product lines, B2B business owners are often faced with challenges that retailers aren’t often burdened with.

Those issues, unique to B2B businesses, start with:

1. The need for customer-specific pricing. Trusted channel partners and long-time customers don’t just materialize out of thin air. Those relationships must be cultivated over time. The fastest way to damage those relationships? Treat every single customer and client the same on your online store where first-time buyers are no different than your purchasing partners. The alternative? Introduce contract and pricing logic to automatically manage those B2B relationships based on predefined rules and contract terms.

2. Customers with incredibly tight delivery schedules. Sure, typical consumers want their items to arrive with lightning speed, but often times, those deliveries aren’t business critical. And often they only contain one or two items as opposed to a bulk order. By using logistics tools like IBM’s Sterling Transportation Management System, the fulfillment process is streamlined, allowing manufacturers and distributors to quickly turn-around orders.

But what if you already have a supply chain management tool? Most eCommerce development firms can – at the very least – handle the integration. Or, they can make recommendations for a new, scalable logistics tool that can carry a company into the future as easily as it can carry goods from point A to point B.

3. Promote multiple product lines or brands under one parent company. By creating a unique microsite for each brand or product line, a manufacturer or distributor can maximize the return on the overhead costs associated with an eCommerce site. Essentially, a microsite is just a small part of a bigger system, and because most enterprise-level eCommerce platforms, and many priced for the mid-market, can accommodate various smaller subset sites, business owners can manage as many sites as they need.

4. Branch into B2C while avoiding multi-channel sales conflicts. Selling on eCommerce marketplaces is a great way to reach a broad consumer base. However, some channel partners might be disappointed – even angered – to see the Amazons of the world swooping in and taking away their customers. And rightfully so. Therefore, it’s often recommended to only market products that aren’t already flying off your shelves thanks to the work of sales partners. By giving sales partners first dibs at your top performers, they’ll stay happy, and some of your other lesser-known products can find success online.

5. Too many products with only slight variations. This hurdle can be solved with a robust site search function. Parametric search allows site visitors to search for an item based on specific parameters or particular attributes – as granular as item dimensions or material composition. When a B2B business owner can bring value to a commodity item, such as a nut or a bolt, they’ve done their job and then some.

6. The need to custom-configure products. Although some B2Bers might not realize it, sophisticated eCommerce technology exists that allows clients to not only configure but also view custom products in real-time. This technology represents one realm where manufacturers can learn from the retail industry. Back in 2005, Converse shoes started allowing shoppers to design their own sneakers, and recently, Dodge released its Dart configurator where car shoppers can personally tailor the vehicle of their dreams.

7. The need to manage the customer relationship. Most B2B relationships are the responsibility of a sales team. Often, this includes coordination between inside sales and outside sales or independent representatives. Website content and eCommerce can be integrated with CRM solutions, including Salesforce.com, to inform the sales team of customer interest and to give credit for self-service purchases.

Additional issues, which plague B2B and B2C businesses alike, include a lack of marketing and eCommerce development skills. No matter the business or the industry, however, there’s no mandate to tackle everything in-house. Many of the most successful online stores got to where they are today by working with outside contractors to implement cutting-edge technologies and marketing campaigns.

 

The places to find your ancestry - Genealogy Resources

Research and discover your ancestry with these resources to get you started building a family tree. Trace back as far as you can find and share your results with friends and family. Many of the forums in this list will also garner you a few new friends in the genealogy spectrum. Tracing your roots will give you insight into your family’s past and give you an edge in your own forensic education endeavors.

  1. SinoTree  — SinoTree is committed to the global Chinese genealogical information collection, provide a comprehensive genealogy resource platform for  search genealogy , building genealogy , repairing genealogy and sharing genealogy for Chinese all over the world!
  2. Genetree  —Genealogy for the electronic age. Genetree lets you forgo traditional genealogy research methods (dusty books and more library visits than you can shake a family tree at) for a free electronic database that helps you find your connections all over the world!
  3. Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation: Growing the Genetic Family Tree One Branch at a Time—Also offering an online genealogy search engine, the SMGF site focuses primarily on DNA. Going off of a DNA database of samples submitted by volunteers, the site offers “participation kits” that lets you join the database, helping family find you even as you’re finding them.
  4. mitosearch—This no frills search engine is ideal for those who want to quickly begin their genealogical research. You can also compare yourself to users of the site, offering a useful way to find new friends—and even old family.
  5. WorldGenWeb Project—While offering search engines like many sites, WorldGenWeb is much more specific, hosting specific websites for different regions across the globe. These regions are easy to search, and maintained by volunteers—and the site is always looking for those willing to help others in their genealogical quests.
  6. The Federation of East European Family History Societies—Named one of the 101 best sites for genealogy, this site offers a little of everything for genealogical researchers. Hosting resources for different regions and featuring heritage websites of different members, this site’s primary focus is more academic in nature, offering links to various genealogical journals and conferences from around the world.
  7. Access Genealogy: A Free Genealogy Resource—Another no-frills site, Access Genealogy has resources broken down into very specific areas. These include cemetery records, military records, census records, Bible records, and more!
  8. The Ancestry Insider—This site has one very specific purpose: to analyze all aspects of Ancestry.com and Familysearch.com. Sometimes this means defending them, and sometimes it means criticizing them…in all of their actions, however, the site serves as a valuable resource for keeping the world of genealogical research honest.
  9. FamilySearch—The aforementioned FamilySearch offers a quick, registration-free search for ancestors. It also helps you find your nearest family history center—ideal for those eager to pursue genealogy, and not knowing where to begin.
  10. Ancestry.com—Also featuring a free family search, Ancestry.com offers a good mixture of quick searches and in-depth records. Additionally, it offers “recent buzz” about genealogy from sources like the LA Times and USA Today, helping you keep track of rising trends in genealogy.
  11. DistantCousin.com: Archive of Genealogical Data and Document Images—While it does offer the online surname search you’ve come to expect, DistantCousin.com packs in some pleasant surprises. These primarily include image records (such as newspapers, obituaries, and school yearbooks), which supplement the directories in helping you find ancestral information.
  12. Family Tree Magazine—This site provides an ideal beginning for researching your genealogy. It features free how-tos, free downloadable forms, an active forum and a monthly podcast, in addition to offering deep discounts on the print magazine.
  13. FamilySearch Labs: Future Tools to Dig Up the Past—User participation is at the forefront of FamilySearch Labs: as they put, they need your input to “refine new ideas” about genealogy technologies that “aren’t ready for prime time.” More of a site for the leisurely researcher, this offers you an opportunity to find a diamond in the rough—one of these unmarketed projects may hold the key to your genealogy!
  14. Find a Grave—As the name implies, this site’s specialty is in helping you find images of graves, whether of famous people or of your own ancestors. As an added bonus, there’s a discussion forum and a macabre online store of grave-related paraphernalia.
  15. Heritage Quest Online—This no frills site offers quick access to census records, books, and specialized databases. Having been around for 10 years, Heritage Quest is a genealogy search that you can trust.
  16. Internment.net: Cemetery Records Online—This site offers transcriptions from over 5,000 cemeteries across the world. In addition to offering regional searches and an informative blog, Internment.net also lets you publish your own transcriptions online.
  17. MortalitySchedules.com: free search through census mortality schedules—Specializing in offering information above and beyond what was put into census data, this site offers a new way of exploring genealogy. Searches are broken down by state, rather than region, making your inquires more specific.
  18. GenealogyBank.com: Explore Your Family in History—Boasting the largest newspaper archive for family history research, this site is an invaluable resource for your research. Offering monthly, annual, and trial subscriptions, this site’s ready access to over 2400 historical newspapers and documents will keep you coming back for more.
  19. Footnote: The Place for Original Historical Documents Online—Offering a search by names, events, or dates, this site also features a high level of user participation. Featuring over 2500 uploads by members per week, this membership site offers a chance for you to join an entire community of genealogy enthusiasts.
  20. Newspaper Abstracts: Finding Our Ancestors in the News!—As the name implies, this site lets you search newspapers by state, county, and event. Precise information is supplied about the paper itself, making it easier for you to obtain the full article.

Women's Day

Women's Day marks the role of women in both the past and the present. It was started to highlight the importance of working women and bring to light their problems. However, the day is not a one-day agenda. The real challenge lies in the spontaneous flow of feelings -- honoring and celebrating womanhood on a particular March 8 only to forget its importance the next day is sacrilegious.

In this article, we'd like to introduce to you the way to celebrate International Women's Day in other countries, including the countries in South Africa, U.S. and Russia.

  Women's day in South Africa

In countries like South Africa, the people celebrate the national Women's day on 9 August every year with a variety of events.

Women's Day on 9 Augustmarksthe day, in 1956, when 20000 women marched on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against one of the cornerstones of apartheid - the pass laws.

The countries will nowadays celebrate the month of August, by a ceremony promoting women in politics and decision-making positions, awarding them certificates of honour.

  Women's day in U.S.

IWD wascommemoratedin the United States during the 1910s and 1920s, but then dwindled. It was revived during the women's movement in the 1960s, but without its socialist associations.

In 1981, the U.S. Congress passed aresolutionestablishing National Women's History Week. The week was chosen to coincide with International Women's Day, March 8. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women's History Month, and the U.S. president has issued a proclamation. Since its founding, the National Women's History Project has recognized and celebrated the rich and varied contributions of women to the history and culture of the United States.

The 2005 Women's History Month theme, "Women Change America," honors and recognizes the role of American women in transforming culture, history and politics as leaders, writers, scientists, educators, politicians, artists, historians, and informed citizens. "Women Change America" also celebrates the myriad ways in which the spirit, courage, and contributions of American women have added to the vitality, richness, and diversity of American life.

  Women's day in Russia

Kollontai, a minister in the first Soviet government, persuaded Lenin to make March 8 an official communist holiday in 1909. During the Soviet period, the holiday celebrated "the heroic woman worker."

Today the Russians are still thepremiercelebrators of the March 8 holiday. Around the world, the event is a way to honor women's contributions to history. But in Russia, the festivities go a step further - celebrated in the fashion of Mother's Day with flowers or breakfast in bed-in which men boys are expected to bestow presents and show appreciation for the women in their lives.

  Tips on Women's Day

This day is a great way to honor the women in our lives- mothers, sisters, wives, daughters - everyone should be made to feel special. Here are a few ways by which you can mark the day:

1. Think about all those women who have helped in their own way to shape your life. Do something they would have liked.

2. Consider cooking their favorite food, planting their favorite flowers in your garden or sending a check to their favorite charity. The idea is to make them feel special.

3. Host an all women's party and have a ball of a time.

4. Shower the women in your life with wonderful gifts (if you're a man) expressing your love and respect towards their individuality.

5. Accept graciously when the men in your life shower you with gifts (if you're a woman).