What is B2B eCommerce?
This is a good move. In fact, according to Forbes, B2B eCommerce is anticipated to be the area of largest eCommerce growth from 2020 to 2025. Companies can reduce overhead costs by using digital transactions. But unlike the sometimes impulse-driven B2C buyers (Prime Day folks, we’re looking at you), B2B buyers tend to conduct extensive online research (an average of 12 searches, believe it or not) before they even engage a supplier on their website. This is just the research phase. We are still not at the point of actual sales.
B2B transactions can be more complicated than B2C due to a variety of factors: different pricing, shipping requirements, and product volumes – plus the complex taxing and regulations which make them more complex than B2C.
Why should B2B companies sell online?
As the market grows, this number will only increase. It will be harder to stand out in this marketplace.
It might seem difficult to create a high-quality eCommerce website for a market segment that is deeply rooted in transactional and buyer nuances. Some businesses still refuse to accept the fact that buyers want them to be online, despite their best efforts.
Online customer interactions are becoming more important as B2B eCommerce expands. Your business could have been doing more if it had an online presence. Online presence is now a necessity, and it’s more important than ever to keep up with the changing market.
Omnichannel marketing strategies have been the most effective for B2B. They create a single approach to commerce and provide a consistent shopping experience for customers across all touchpoints. This includes in-store, mobile browsing, online marketplaces, and social media. These strategies gain so much insight from their audience that customers tend to spend more on brands with a smart omnichannel strategy. (We’ll get to that in a moment.)
Misunderstandings of B2B eCommerce
We’ve established the reasons why B2B businesses should be selling online. Let’s now address other B2B eCommerce myths that we have heard over the years.
Brands that don’t believe they are selling “B2B”?
Complex transactions are not the only thing that makes up the B2B market. This market includes wholesale, retail distribution, selling to schools, businesses, nonprofits, and suppliers selling to resellers. Many companies sell both B2B (think Walmart, Home Depot) and B2C (think Amazon, etc.). These are some of the most popular.
Are B2B customers able to order online?
They have certain expectations as they age and become more capable of purchasing large businesses.
Does eCommerce require price transparency?
Many B2B brands sell products and services at an enterprise level. These solutions often require extensive customizations which can make publishing pricing models difficult.
We’ve already mentioned that the path to purchase requires extensive research. Your customer’s priority isn’t selling, so don’t make it your priority.
Is online shopping lacking personalization?
Online ordering, when used correctly, can give you more control over your order and allow for personalization. You can create an order experience that is tailored to your audience using a variety of customizations and integrations available on eCommerce websites. (More to follow).
Is it possible to order custom-made items from an online store?
Au contraire. Online stores foster custom orders. Online stores allow you to integrate customer data and automate presentations to suit different company profiles. We’ll also go over a multitude of other features.
B2B eCommerce Marketing
After we have spent so much time discussing B2B eCommerce myths, let us now look at how a strong B2B marketing strategy can help your business.
- Be better educated than your competition
- Transfer your customers from offline channels to online channels
- Technology can be used to reduce manual labor and errors
- Customer loyalty and support can be increased
- Improve your team alignment and increase your scalability
- Increase sales while reducing costs
- Talk to your customers
- Segment your customer experiences
There are so many eCommerce names available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. Other platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce might be worth considering. You might also be considering other platforms like BigCommerce or Shopify. Consider the following:
- Mobile Compatibility/User experience – With more people browsing on their smartphones, it is no longer an option to have a mobile-friendly browsing environment. You should be able to create templates for different user types to provide an intuitive browsing experience for all your audiences.
- Compliance – There are many privacy and accessibility guidelines, including the GDPR and ADA. The platform should be designed with these in mind.
- B2B eCommerce Functionality – The platform should allow bulk ordering, account management, and multiple shipping options.
- Available 24 hours a day – Clients shouldn’t have to wait to get responses. This could result in missed opportunities. A robust eCommerce platform has well-integrated AI such as chatbots that clients never feel like they are on standby.
- Marketing Functionality – As more people search online, eCommerce is essential to your paid and organic marketing strategies. To ensure consistent solutions that increase the visibility of your website, your eCommerce platform must be SEO-optimized.
Benefits of B2B eCommerce Website
You can generate more sales by doing less outreach. A well-designed B2B eCommerce website can deliver personalized sales and marketing experiences on both mobile and desktop, regardless of which platform it is. Shopify is one of the many platforms that allow you to integrate customer data from an ERM or CRM, create customizable navigation and search functionality, and offer flexible payment options with over 100 payment providers. These powerful tools allow you to create a personalized and automated customer experience for new generations of B2B buyers. As a company, a strong B2B eCommerce website helps you:
- Requests for proposals (RFPs) based on SEO and easy discoverability
- You can scale your brand by generating revenue from both outbound and inbound sales.
- To win customer loyalty, expand into new product categories and geographies by using localized sites
Trends in B2B eCommerce
Your website’s goal is to communicate. Trends are the most used techniques for businesses to achieve that goal. This post would not be complete if we didn’t spend a few moments talking about the current direction of B2B eCommerce marketing.
Integration of CPQ (Configure Price quote)
B2B products or services can be difficult to sell and price. CPQ solutions provide the opportunity to create customized configurations to suit each buyer’s needs.
The quote-to-cash process covers the entire sale transaction for your business. This process, which is increasingly connected in B2B eCommerce solutions, encourages a single view of the customer and allows for easy information transfer across the entire online purchasing experience.
Voice command and conversational commerce are essential for the aging population and those who work on the go, such as Alexa and Siri. Now, we’re seeing this trend trickle into the B2B world with technologies like the world’s first quote-to-cash intelligent agent, Max.
Desire a B2C experience
Conversational commerce isn’t the only area where there is overlap between B2B and C2C. Amazon and other companies have provided a great consumer experience. B2B buyers are not willing to accept a poor user experience.
A B2B eCommerce experience must be tailored to each buyer’s needs. It should also avoid making unsuitable recommendations. A B2B platform that is right for you will allow you to turn data into customized profiles.
How to get started with B2B eCommerce
This post has covered many topics. Where do you begin? B2B eCommerce websites can be complicated – but that’s what’s exciting! You can create a new website, or revamp an existing one.
You need to know your audience and have the right tools and strategies to meet their expectations. Your business will lose valuable time and money if it misses the mark.
Partnering with an agency can simplify the process and remove the guesswork from your marketing strategy. You should compare the services of different agencies to learn as much information about your customers as possible. We have created websites for a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, education, and health. We have the experience to create customized, informed solutions that meet a wide range of business needs.
Don’t worry, there are many integrations and platforms that can be used to help you build your business. A powerful B2B eCommerce website can be yours.
Interested in getting started? We would love to help your business succeed in the B2B eCommerce market. Drop us a line.
Mike Patel is a digital marketing enthusiast, innovator and President of a leading Digital and E-commerce Development Agency in Dallas, Texas. Mike holds a BS, Computer Science degree from Wayne State University and is a key player in the E-commerce development and digital marketing industry since 2004. The scope of technology in his extensive experience of more than 15 years ranges from Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC (Pay Per Click) management, E-commerce SEO, Google Shopping Ads and more.