Key Factors in Successful B2B eCommerce
Technological innovation and advances coupled with ever-growing buyer expectations have contributed significantly to the growth of B2B eCommerce. Today, buyers are demanding the convenience offered by eCommerce from B2B enterprises. They want to be able to place orders online and track delivery of goods without talking to a sales person. It’s a similar scenario for businesses that use other B2B Services also. They want to be able to manage their services and payment online without the need of an account rep.
B2B trade is more complex than B2C eCommerce and includes configurable product pricing, offerings, and promotions, depending on the specific needs of the individual buyer.
Beyond basic commerce capabilities, B2B eCommerce platforms should include the following aspects for more effectiveness.
Integrate B2C Best Practices
The business buyer now looks for the same kind of facilities or advancements as in B2C (Business to Consumer) online shopping. They want the same ease of use. As a B2B eCommerce platform, your focus should now be to include better quality products at competitive prices, incorporating best practices, and personalizing customers’ needs. Simply replicating an offline catalog into a website will no longer work; rather, your focus should be on social integration, user reviews, dynamic on-site searching, and mobility and mobile apps. Successful B2B eCommerce platforms focus on incorporating best practices from B2C commerce, such as presenting products in a way personalized to customer’s needs and integrated Search of all products (and services).
The complex buying environment in B2B eCommerce includes approval workflows, contract terms, customer hierarchies, product portfolios, multiple payment options, purchase authorization rules, approval workflows, technology capabilities and a lot of other bureaucratic systems. Today, advanced functionality is crucial for B2B eCommerce to support product configurations and sophisticated pricing. Easy access to the system for authorized users is imperative. It is also important that sales representatives focus only on sales and do not have to spend time on internal processes.
Analytics and Segmentation
Most B2B eCommerce sellers devote resources to analyze data, including sales, customers, and products. The data enables B2B organizations to develop segmented strategies for each customer and offer them optimal pricing. In order for a B2B eCommerce organization to make optimal use of resources, it is important that they include tools that can seamlessly execute strategies, depending on advanced analytics and segmentation for guided selling. In other words, use data to help you sell more effectively.
B2B enterprises must be able to support complex buying cycles across diverse channels and markets. In order to do this, they need to integrate technology systems across different channels and have capabilities to get insights into every aspect of the order across their supply chain partners. This should include automatic order delivery notifications to customers, delivery dates, and order process monitoring. The B2B eCommerce platform should provide consistent information about products(or services), irrespective of the fact whether the customer is interacting with a call center representative, a field sales rep, or their website. As an eCommerce seller, you must be able to successfully manage inventory, business processes, and customer orders, ensuring customers can easily place orders and receive confirmations and updates regarding their order.
B2B eCommerce enterprises should deploy a centralized, single, global platform that helps in the overall control of customer orders as well as product information while offering the scalability to adapt market campaigns, product information, and order processes, catering to customer needs in each targeted market.
For a B2B retailer, it is not enough to simply have an online catalog to “display” their products or services. Business consumers today want to be able to handle all order(or service renewal) related transactions online. They want it to be seamless. They want to be able to get their order or service related information on demand without having to go through customer service or sales reps.