There was a time when a supplier/wholesaler would generate a purchase order and send it via fax or email to the manufacturer. The manufacturer would then manually punch in the order details into a computer, print an invoice and send it via fax or email to the supplier. This system doesn’t just sound unexciting and drab but is (was) also time consuming and error prone. A major revolution was needed in the area of business to business (B2B) transactions. Enter B2B E-Commerce!
B2B E-Commerce has enabled business partners to place orders for their supplies at any time through just a few clicks on a web portal. This has led to a rapid migration of suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers from the traditional manual system to an online platform. Did you know that by 2020, the global B2B E-Commerce market is supposed to generate about 6.7 trillion dollars – which is twice of what is expected from the B2C market. Leading market research Company, Frost & Sullivan also say that U.S and China will be leading the B2B online market by 2020 and double their revenue contribution.
B2B E-Commerce - Why does everyone want to ride the wave?
Here are a few reasons why –
- Because it is a cost-effective and compelling marketing and sales add-on to an organizations’ existing sales channels.
- The explosive growth of B2B E-Commerce has set off a market-changing domino effect and forced many organizations to adopt it.
- Because B2B E-Commerce websites can integrate with backend business systems like ERPs, CRMs, etc., organizations find it easier and more efficient to manage an all-in-one system.
- A B2B E-Commerce website will improve your brand awareness, increase your SEO ranking and there-by attract more customers.
- When your business is online, you can reach out to the world. B2b E-Commerce websites can increase revenues by attracting customers from all over the world.
Strategy # 1 – Learn From B2C E-Commerce Companies
It is a fact that B2C companies have set high standards in terms of their E-Commerce website’s user experience. These consumer-like expectations have set in and B2B buyers are looking for similar experiences with their B2B sellers. A few things to keep in mind to emulate a B2C like user experience –
- Having great content on your website will not only help in improving your SEO rankings but can also help you connect better with your business partners. An effective content marketing strategy is key here.
- B2B companies often tend to ignore the UX and UI of their website but as more companies are looking to look for products and services online, it has become crucial to have a good looking website. About 94% of customer’s judge you based on your website’s design.
- Making sure your B2B website is mobile responsive will ensure you won’t lose those mobile-loving customers.
- Providing personalized content and user experience is as important in B2B E-commerce as it is to B2C. Customers like attention and will prefer a website offering them more personalized and customized attention.
- Using visuals to display product information can heavily impact a B2B customer’s decision to purchase a product from your website. Great quality images, videos, demos’ of your products attracts more attention.
Strategy #2 – Simplify it
Let’s face it. B2B E-Commerce transactions are much more complex than B2C transactions. A B2B E-Commerce website should be able to capture the potential customers purchasing information like job code, purchase order number, cost center, etc. for advanced configurability. A large portion of the sales procedure still depends on human interactions with the sales team. An integration of the E-commerce website with a third party sales tool will ease-up the whole process.
Strategy #3 – Price Right
Because the buying volumes usually are bigger in B2B E-Commerce, pricing gets more complex. You cannot always have a standard price for everybody. It depends on different criteria like customer size, service level, volumes ordered, analytics and many more. Segmentation can help in customizing information like pricing or catalog, based on the customer type. A custom quoting tool can be integrated to help your customers get the best price fast. Allow customers to pay once the goods/services have been received.
Strategy #4 – Get Personal
As they say, there is a lot of power in a personal touch. B2B E-Commerce buyers have to think twice before making a purchase as the volumes and prices are higher. Hence building a long-term and personal relationship with your customer is more crucial for a B2B company than a B2C seller. Make sure you are available 24/7 for any customer queries or issues. Making your phone number and address very conspicuous on your website will increase trust in your customers. Offering online chat support on your E-Commerce website will improve customer interaction and help in getting to know your customer better. Keep in constant touch with your existing customers and work towards retaining them.
Strategy #5 – Robust Product Catalog
Unlike B2C customers, to make a B2B purchase, your customer will most-likely already know what he is looking for. They will make use of your search functionality of your website to look for what they want. Make this task easy and efficient for them. A detailed catalog of products along with search, filtering and sorting will enable your customers to find what suits them best. Associate great descriptions with every product along with high quality images. A quick ‘how-to-use’ demo video will prove to be very useful for those looking for a newly introduced product.