This Expert's Corner Article is brought to you by Norman Gluck - A highly experienced sales consultant with extensive, diversified, and direct experience in all aspects of Sales and Customer Care via practical hands-on practice and proven achievement in several varied sales operations in Asia, Middle East, USA and Canada.
One would imagine and attempt at predicting that B2B salespeople would be displaced by E-Commerce in the near future. The prediction is that e-commerce is growing in importance with many buyers preferring to purchase products online instead of via the help of a salesperson.
The fact is Business-Buyers require and utilize both self-serve E-Commerce while demanding higher-quality interaction and customized service with sales pros. A example would be how Home-DIY Spas might be all the rage, yet upon conclusion nothing can replace a true professional treatment, service and outcome at a genuine spa. Sure it is your body, but do you have the knowledge and experience to know what treatment and products are most beneficial for you?
Companies can make progress in the balance with e-commerce by providing more helpful sales reps. They can also utilize online technology to enhance self-service e-commerce via reachable sales reps who can access online data while helping clients make purchases which require more thought and consideration to complete their order.
There still remains our humanity and despite technology we still yearn human interaction especially when spending our hard-earned money, much more our business expenditures.
Please keep in mind that typical business purchases often require more thought and planning than typical consumer purchases. An established business would often much prefer to contact and interact with a trusted and established human representative at a preferred supplier.
E-commerce will never replace full-service commerce, short of a futuristic Artificial Intelligence E-person which can actually interact with a customer in a truly human manner.
With so many distant and offshore E-Commerce entities that exist internationally, it often boils down to a trust & reliability factor, where “local” might be personal preference, rather than economical price. The example of a business-stapler versus a home-stapler, where the former receives higher and more important usage than the latter, hence quality, reliability and service will preside over a recognizable difference in price.
There is a distinct difference between self-service commerce for low-consideration purchases and high-consideration purchases which require the “human touch”. The After-Service factor is also a driving force in purchase preference, especially in equipment or items which are crucial for production or operations in most businesses.
Fast food is convenient and economical, but is generally detrimental and unhealthy for the body to avail of every day. The same applies to purchased made vis e-commerce, where business is built on relationships and partnerships rather than online purchases.
In the world of business, salespeople still have many ways of providing buyers what they require in a mix of person-to-person attention and per-click self-service e-commerce. The key is providing your customers with the balance needed to accomplish the best of both worlds.