Internal customers adopting procurement solutions is essential for promoting the use of procurement policies. In this context, user experience in particular plays a major role. According to Patrick Conquet, Ivalua's Director of Product Research and Development, the user experience "must be user-friendly and intuitive, as well as useful in a business context". For internal customers, this translates into comprehensive product content and digital capabilities that will help them find and select the products that best suit their needs.
Comprehensive product content
As well as a powerful procurement tool, internal customers need access to high-quality product content, such as product descriptions, qualitative photos, full technical attributes, data sheets, assembly instructions and so on. It's also important for them to be able to access certain data in real time, such as stock levels and delivery times, especially for class C purchases.
Without this, internal customers cannot make an informed decision. How can they know whether the gloves they want to buy will provide adequate protection; whether the furniture they desire complies with fire safety standards; or whether the shelving they're looking to purchase will arrive in time? Without comprehensive content, internal customers risk selecting products that are not suited to their needs or may even place orders through other channels, which carries risk for individuals and comes with significant costs for the company.
In addition to this crucial information, internal customers can also rely on functionalities that align with B2C e-commerce standards.
One of the essential parts of the user experience is the search function. That's why search engines must be particularly efficient. Some use autocomplete and correct errors (if the user writes "shelv" or "shevling", the tool may suggest "shelving"), and others even offer different filters to help refine the searches.
There are also next-generation e-procurement solutions for finding products in different catalogues. Take the example of Search360, which takes data from hosted catalogues and other connected providers via the API (Application Programming Interface), and puts them on a single platform, thus making it easier to compare products.
Downselling tools offer users an alternative product at a lower price. How it works is simple: When a user is looking at a product sheet, one product or more with similar features will be displayed, but from a lower range (mid-range, private label or entry-level products).
This feature is particularly popular in projects that are aiming to rebalance the product mix, when users usually buy products that exceed the level of quality required, without any justification. This solution creates savings which will be directly reflected in the procurement budget.
Product configuration tools
These tools allow users to customise certain products according to their needs. This often affects specific products that can prove to be complex to purchase, such as shelving, slings, products requiring compatibility such as ink cartridges, blinds, office furniture etc. Users can configure the characteristics (colour, dimensions etc.) of a product in just a few clicks. This saves time and is easy for internal customers to navigate.
As we have seen, these elements are key to improving user experience in relation to company purchases. This in turn helps improve internal customer satisfaction and encourages them to stick to internal solutions, contracts and procedures implemented by procurement departments. In other words, it's a win-win strategy!