B2B eCommerce is fast growing and sales are projected to pass US$1 trillion by 2020.
For wholesalers, it's important to have an eCommerce site to service B2B customers who are making more and more of their purchases online.
Unlike B2C merchants, B2B wholesale companies have some unique challenges when it comes to creating a successful eCommerce website. Here are 7 factors to consider:
1. Gated Access & Personalized Information
As a B2B wholesale business, you want to show wholesale pricing only to customers that have gone through an approval process. Moreover, you may have different pricing structures and payment options based on various business rules associated with the buyer's company account.
To make sure your customers are seeing the right information, they need to log in to get full access to the website so they can view pricing and other information relevant to their accounts.
2. Omnichannel Integration
Different customers from the same company may prefer to place their orders in different ways -- e.g. online, via phone, or in person. Your eCommerce website should have the capability to register all customer interactions and have the account information reflected across all channels.
Your eCommerce platform should also be able to automatically consolidate orders from multiple channels in real-time for fast and accurate fulfillment.
3. Sales Reps Support
Use your wholesale B2B eCommerce site to support your sales reps by providing them with easy access to key information, such as customer order history, product recommendations, and real-time stock level on products.
You can also give sales reps access to digital catalogs that reflect account-specific pricing and information so they can service customers more effectively whether they're interacting on phone or in person.
4. Streamlined User Experience Design
The line between B2B and B2C eCommerce is blurring -- the same customers who are ordering from your B2B site are also purchasing from B2C websites that offer streamlined and easy-to-use interfaces.
Customers could leave your site if it doesn't offer a modern and convenient user experience that meets their expectations.
Make sure your website is easy to navigate and provides a personalized experience so customers can find what they need quickly and easily. Despite the complexity of B2B purchasing and the approval processes, always make sure your customers encounter as little friction as possible during their transactions.
5. Customer Service and Support
As you're selling to customers via different touch points, they also expect omnichannel customer service and support.
Besides the standard "contact us" page on which customers can find a phone number and a contact form, you need to use technologies that give them access to assistance without having to leave the product page (which could disrupt the purchasing process) -- e.g. live chat or click-to-call on mobile sites.
An efficient eCommerce platform frees up your staff so they can spend less time on transactional activities, such as entering and fulfilling orders, and more time on customer care. Take the opportunity to provide more strategic values to your customers so you can build relationships and cultivate loyalty.
6. Analytics & Key Metrics
It's important to understand what works and what doesn't so you can improve the effectiveness of your B2B eCommerce site.
Make sure you have the technologies in place to capture and analyze key metrics such as the number of visitors, engagement, and ROI on marketing investment so you can improve usability and boost conversion rate.
7. Multiple Payment Methods
To better service your B2B customers and facilitate the transaction process, it's important that your eCommerce site offers multiple payment options, including extending credit to your customers with a B2B credit network.
You can also set up multiple users for each company account, so buyers can place orders within their pre-approved spending limit without having to wait for approval.