Why You Should Launch a B2B Catalog Online

For almost all B2B manufacturers, distributors, or VARs, the decision to sell online is a complicated equation involving channel conflict vs future revenue. You have to be very careful you don’t cannibalize or alienate your current primary sales channels, but you also realize that in the blink of an eye your distributors, who survive on thin margins, could disappear or be the victims of consolidations.

In this environment, you have to have a multi-channel customer outreach strategy. A recent Forrester study found that organizations that offered multi-channel touch-points (very different than multi-channel sales options) saw a 17% increase in Average Order Value. 

Now, the obvious choice might be to launch an online eCommerce store, but we believe even an intermediate step of allowing your current customers to browse your catalog will have a material impact on your top and bottom-line revenue. 

In addition, this will actually engage your current channels in a positive way, as the research shows this will help them make more sales. This approach allows you to easily add quoting and even eCommerce without throwing away any of your capital or operational investments. 

What to Know About Launching an Online B2B Catalog

In addition to discussing why it’s wise to launch a B2B catalog, the panel also addressed: 

  • The most important components of a catalog
  • Structuring your catalog
  • Organizing product attributes
  • Taxonomies
  • Maintaining and publishing your catalog
  • Using a PIM
  • Using a CMS
  • The truth about digital transformation

7 Impacts of Poor Taxonomy

  1. People can’t find what they’re looking for
  2. Literal ‘web’ of retail content that search engines can’t index properly
  3. Helpful consumer features like “filter,” “compare,” and “sort” become confusing to people and are misunderstood semantically by crawlers and search engines
  4. SEO becomes more difficult and more expensive
  5. Thesaurus entries are longer
  6. Complications for features like breadcrumb navigation are often so challenging retailers pull the features altogether
  7. Critical services like coupons, promotions, and shipping require expensive platform customizations to account for all the special circumstances and compromises in the taxonomy rules.

You can think of website taxonomy in terms of a closet. Just like the frustration you experience when you can’t find something in your closet, an online shopper encounters the same feelings of helplessness and frustration when they can’t find what they want.

There’s no right way or wrong way of organizing your closet, but ideally, the goal is to find the best way to help you find your clothes or shoes the fastest and stay organized. There are wildly different organization types, so when you’re thinking about your taxonomy be sure to consider how your customers want the products organized.

Organic Search

Finally, the trio of experts dove into why organic search is difficult, and why it’s getting more difficult. 

They emphasized that to compete and ultimately succeed at organic search, you’ll need a clear and concise content strategy that includes:

  1. Quality content that people want
  2. Algorithmic, machine learning technology to get content found in organic search
  3. Going beyond ad metrics to evaluate performance 

Get Started

Contact the team of experts at Object Edge to learn more.

About the Author

Blue dotted circleRohit Garewal

Rohit Garewal


Rohit is a forward-thinking eCommerce evangelist, especially focused on re-energizing the B2B sector and merging the old disciplines with new technology opportunities. He is passionate about delivering profitable growth through people-driven digital transformation. Watch his talk on digital transformation.

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