What is your customer’s expectation about e-Commerce? Why has it become a necessity?

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B2B e-commerce is already the way to go for commodities

Just a reminder, a commodity is a basic product that is interchangeable with other products of the same type, whatever the manufacturer brand. In our Energy and Industrial Automation business, you will find in almost every panel pushbuttons, pilot lights, tower lights,  relays, and contactors . Those components are in every distribution panel and control panel. Altogether, it’s a market that exceeds $11B. Being easily interchangeable between brands, those devices are skyrocketing on B2B e-commerce websites: If a customer cannot get the pushbutton from brand A, he will get if from brand B with only a few clicks.

Commodities are answering key customer’s values: Availability, Robustness and Quality, Price/Performances ratio; but even more their presence on e-commerce brings many more features and information. Internet delivers every day a Tsunami of information. The proliferation of information consumes the attention of the web users, then one of customers. Therefore, to be able to capture the attention of the users is a real value. As a result, information’s for commodities must be perfect, understandable and memorize-able in a blink of an eye. The catching messages must solve customer’s problems and pains.

In the customer’s shoes

To better understand customer’s expectation about e-commerce, let’s step in their shoes for a short time.

Internet provides the gift of ubiquity
When I’m going to order some automation components online, I have access to a lot of information, either pre-sales or post sales information. I do my research on multi-tabs, opened simultaneously in the web browser. I am in a multitude of points of sales at the very same time. It’s more and more easy to buy online my usual basket of commodities. Access to information is 24/7.  I can start my product search early morning, continue it when I am in my office, and even complete it in the evening from the cosy comfort of my sofa. Material and time constraints of the physical world are non-existent with the virtual world. Ubiquitous nature of the Internet eases my purchasing tasks.

Availability and delivery

Availability of the products I order, or their next delivery date, is key in my purchasing decision. If the information is missing or not clear, I change webshop in a single click. By the way, I won’t come back to your website when I find this information clearer and true on another web shop.

My Purchasing conditions

I’m a regular, and somehow loyal users of products from the same brands. I expect customer’s personalized pricing lists to be available across all buying channels, in real time. As a customer, I need to access my discounted/ personalized prices for each SKU (Stock Keeping Unit).

Regarding commodities such as pushbuttons or relays, due to the high frequency of component ordering, I know exactly what I want. I need to key-in a list of commodities I purchase and create bulk orders from my more recent orders. Time-saving is one of the values delivered by e-commerce.


e-commerce is a channel for business, like any other channels. As a consequence, Human Beings and Relationships are of paramount importance.  As a customer, I need to access to a quick chat, whatever the system. Online support helps to resolve issues in the ordering process, check there’s no mistake about the part numbers I choose, verify the completion of my basket.

Get more from B2B e-commerce

Beside customer behavior, attractive potential business, let’s not forget about the overall benefits of a B2B e-commerce website:

  • Reach new customers and therefore increase the sales volume.
  • Reduce operational costs thereby increasing profits.
  • Expand the presence on the market.
  • Ability to handle a large number of products.
  • Increase efficiency and advertising exposure.

Real attention to customer’s and distributors expectations

Schneider Electric workforces, not only Marketing, are dedicated to understanding the customer in their e-commerce buying behavior:  leading a multichannel strategy, we create personas, talk to actual customers, and create tests on various platforms.

As a result, Schneider Electric provides customers and distributors with easy to use website, eye-pleasing interface, full access to large and broad offer families and enriched data.
Enriched offers data are high quality and high quantity information’s, valuable contents about the offers, just to name a few: high-quality pictures, 360 pictures, long descriptions, exhaustive datasheet. All of this to make the user’s journey in e-commerce as seamless as possible.

Finally, language can be a blocking point when customers browse websites and decide to buy or not. A market survey from Common Sense Advisory highlights that:

  • 75% of users want to buy products in their native language.
  • 59% of users seldom buy from English-only websites.
  • 67% of the users prefer navigation and “some” content translated.

It goes without saying that global network of Schneider Electric is delivering the highest-level localizations.


As for as commodities are concerned, the relation with customers has changed. It’s now very easy to buy a usual basket online. However, it did not kill the traditional sales relation between humans.  A lot of researche starts online, and the purchasing is made later in a point of sale. Not forgetting that web sites optimized for mobiles raised a new behavior: start of the buying relation in a traditional way and use a smartphone on the go to check and compare on the web.

The digital environment gave back the power of choice to customers. To be or not an actor in e-commerce is not a question, it’s a necessity. The customers already moved in their day to day life. Embracing e-commerce, you can be one of their choices, and ultimately you are their preference. Otherwise, you threaten your business, not to say that the very existence of your company is jeopardized.

Schneider Electric provides you the ad-hoc support either to grow or to settle your business through e-commerce.
Are you in?

Resources :

Apruve:                                   https://b2b.apruve.com/electrical-distributors-2018

Internet World Stats:           https://www.internetworldstats.com/

Common Sense Advisory:   https://csa-research.com/

Internet live stats :               https://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/

Search statistics:                  https://seoexpertbrad.com/local-seo-stats/

Statista:                                 https://www.statista.com/markets/424/internet/

Iresearch:                             https://www.iresearchchina.com/

Discover a large choice of push buttons, switches, pilot lights, bezels and emergency stop to cover most industrial applications. Available worldwide in metal and plastic versions, the Harmony range fits your needs for robustness, safety and simplicity.

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