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  1. Virginia Newcome
  2. Sherlock Holmes
  4. Friday, 19 January 2018
Are there any good examples of B2B ecommerce success stories for wholesale or distribution companies?
Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Yes of course there are many. Here is one example from Computer Weekly:

B2B e-commerce - RS Components

RS Components is one of Europe's leading distributors of electronic and mechanical parts. It operates in 22 countries and stocks 300,000 different products from 1,200 suppliers.

In the UK, the company's main sales channel to its 400,000 customers was its huge 550-page, 5kg catalogue, which cost the company £30 per copy to produce. Because of the technical nature of its products, RS Components was often required to send customers product information sheets, costing anywhere from 50p to £5 depending on their location. The call centre ordering process was very paperwork intensive, which was costing the average customer £60 per order - very expensive, especially considering that the average order was worth £100.

RS Components had started sending customers CD-Rom versions of its catalogue in 1994, but the impetus for the company to develop an online sales channel was very apparent. The company started developing its Internet Trading Channel (ITC) in the UK, with the help of e-business software company, Broadvision.

The RS Components site now lists 130,000 products together with their specifications, dramatically reducing the cost involved with publishing, updating and distributing catalogues and data sheets.

The site has also eliminated the paperwork involved in ordering parts, thus reducing the purchasing costs to suppliers. More recently, it has started using personalisation technology to get a better understanding of its customers, showing them their purchasing history, preferences and buying habits.

RS Components has now moved the UK systems over to a European Internet trading platform, which will see the company roll out multi-language, multi-currency sites in 10 other European countries. It is also working with e-business platform suppliers such as Oracle, SAP, Ariba and CommerceOne to enable its customers to link their own e-procurement systems in with the RS Components online sales system, and has more than 30 international customers using this service.

"Internet trading is helping our European business to scale and grow more effectively and it has become a very useful customer acquisition tool," says RS Components e-commerce marketing manager, Julian Wright.

Project launched 1998
Cost of Internet Trading Channel project so far is around £5m
RS Components had UK Internet revenues of £30m over the last year (8% of total sales)
The site has 250,000 registered users, 97% of them new contacts
Site achieves 1200 orders per day
The £60 average cost of placing an order has been cut by 80%. Cambridge Consultants, for example, places 7,000 orders, worth £7.5m, per year. It has cut its average order costs from £90 to £10, saving £100,000 per year
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