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What to Look For When Evaluating Reservation E-Commerce Software

27 Sep 2018
Sarah Marks

E-commerce has changed the face of shopping. Transactions have moved inextricably towards online as consumers enjoy the 24/7 convenience of the Internet, and Nasdaq predicts that by 2040 95% of all purchases will be facilitated by e-commerce.

When we talk about e-commerce we are often thinking about B2C (business to consumer) transactions, but online is shaping the way B2B performs too. In fact, B2B e-commerce is projected to be a $1.1 trillion industry by 2020.

What is B2B e-commerce?
Business to business (B2B) e-commerce represents a complex network of cross-company transactions and supply chains. Imagine the systems behind the range of goods in a supermarket, or the products on sale through an airport. Every purchase is supported by B2B sales.

Most companies are looking for a way to bring their product and service offering online: Something that goes beyond simple website functionality. Businesses taking full advantage of digital trends show strong year-on-year profit margins. For example, market leaders in retail e-commerce, Amazon, reported a 39% year-over-year increase in net revenues to just under $53 billion in July 2018.

While Amazon has transformed consumer expectations of online shopping, its success is rooted in a customer-centric approach to innovation that can be carried over to B2B e-commerce and online reservations.

Whatever your product, from online flight ticket booking and travel reservations to concert tickets and merchandise, however complex or customised the order, it can be sold with an omni-channel B2B e-commerce software like Rezcomm Shop.

How to choose the best reservation e-commerce software
The chances are your venue is already using some sort of online booking system. But the best B2B e-commerce software will cater to the specific function of your venue and allow you to provide the best experience for partners and customers, making it possible to continually add value, customise and personalise the look, feel and functionality.

Ideally, you want a solution that enables your venue to focus on the customer and partner experience, one that optimises all touchpoints with both customers and partners by offering more than just a shopping cart, and one that is capable of supporting both your current and future business models and product sets.

Until recently the cost of launching a B2B omni-channel e-commerce solution was prohibitive for smaller businesses and independent venue operators. However, the development of Cloud-based, SaaS systems like Rezcomm Shop brings enormous e-commerce functionality and potential within reach.

**Your B2B reservation e-commerce software should: **

  • Make it possible to create a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints and throughout the booking channel
  • Provide all users, whether internal sales or external customers, with the same account functionality
  • Generate accurate invoices and allow the customer to view and pay the invoice online
  • Enable customers to request quotes and initiate orders online that can then be completed through their account executive, or to complete orders online that have been initiated in person
  • Make it easy for your venue to collaborate with business partners and re-sellers around the customer orders and demand
  • Accommodate changes in market strategies whenever your venue rolls out new products, engages different customer segments or employs new business models

14 Features to Look For:
When considering a B2B reservations e-commerce solution, find out whether the following features are included. These tools drive functionality for both partners and customers and help drive revenue and customer/partner loyalty:

  1. A ‘Manage my Account’ facility that gives partners and customers quick access to settings and other tools, allowing them to manage bookings and orders whilst safeguarding their data and protecting their privacy
  2. A solution that offers multiple languages and currencies allows partners and customers across the globe to checkout confidently
  3. Customisable, brand-matched themes and customer journeys that allow you to offer the best customer experience. A brand-matched shop-front will help maximise visitor interaction and product engagement
  4. The solution must be optimised for mobile commerce and include integration with social media platforms
  5. Does the software allow you to promote complimentary products and services from partners, monetising your shop with advertising space?
  6. You should be able to create and manage all of your products in one place, to set yield, lead-time and exception rules and manage pricing, images and content.
  7. A venue reservation e-commerce solution should help you to manage and compare availability, capacity and occupancy in real-time. It should let you compare gate and pre-book prices and identify the tariffs that will encourage your customers to book in advance
  8. You should be able to quickly build pricing and tariff structures, to attach multiple tariffs to products, schedule seasonal or event-based adjustments and to quickly check, change or introduce new tariffs to maximise revenue
  9. A venue reservations e-commerce system should help you to create and manage promotions and adverts
  10. Maximise the reach of products and services through third parties by connecting with channel partners in real time via an API connection. Easily create branded partner portals that feature credit rules, discount structures, bespoke products and more
  11. A quick search tool that allows for the search and verification of a sale is critical to smooth operations
  12. Reporting facilities that measure financial and operational performance and identify behavioural trends across your venue’s product and service range enable you to predict your visitors’ needs, manage operational resources and grow revenue
  13. Reports should be exportable for further analysis in your favourite spreadsheet tool where they can be integrated directly into your ERP system or sent to your finance department
  14. Marketing automation that helps to engage with clients and customers whilst focusing resources

What else can I do?
It’s one thing to decide your venue needs to engage a reservations e-commerce service. But shouldn’t you know exactly where you stand before trying to move forward? If you want to navigate the digital landscape successfully it pays to know where you are at the start, and to have a map of where you’re going.

Consider a solution that offers a bespoke review of your venue’s CRM and e-commerce activities, identifying existing best practice and highlighting opportunities. Take advice from experts in your industry on strategies and techniques that will improve customer booking journeys and checkout, drive traffic and boost revenue.

The Rezcomm team can help you discover how your current e-commerce environment is performing and recommend strategies for improvement and growth. Get in touch with us today and discover the potential revenue earning and data capture opportunities for your business.

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