Business-to-Government E-commerce Basics
Just four years ago, selling to the United States government was easy. That was the first time I saw a memo from a CFO establishing guidelines for online purchases using government issued credit cards. Those guidelines were short and sweet:
(a) the Web site must offer secure purchasing; and
(b) buyers should purchase from known vendors.
That was it!
During the past several years, things have gotten noticeably more complex. In that time, I have been monitoring vendor Web sites and government list servers and consulted with some notables in the industry.
As a result, I have evolved a list of Web “basics” for B-to-G (business-to-government) sites. These are seven things your site must have in order to attract government buyers. I will list them (not necessarily in order of importance), then discuss each.
By the way, some of the experts I’ve consulted for this list include Amy Africa of Creative Results, Williston, VT; Ralph Drybrough and others at MeritDirect of Stamford, CT; Don Libey of Libey/Concordia, Philadelphia; and Neil Sexton of Corporate Greetings, Trinidad, CO.
B-to-G Top Seven
2) Post your return policy on your purchasing page.
3) Index your site.
4) Use the SmartPay government credit card logo on your site.
5) Offer complete information that helps the purchasing process.
6) Create quick loading pages.
7) Make the purchasing process easy to follow and easy to complete.
Many of these items will improve your success rate with all your customers, not just government purchasers, so it pays to implement them.
Here’s why they are important: