What is B2B eCommerce?
Business-to-business (B2B) involves transactions between two businesses rather than between a company and a private individual, as with business-to-consumer (B2C). As a B2B merchant, you may offer anything from digital downloads to machinery and software to office supplies.
Today, the percentage of B2B companies selling on eCommerce channels has risen to a staggering 65%, up from 53% in early 2021, as per McKinsey. For the first time, B2B sellers are likely to opt for an online presence over physical sales. Moreover, they are investing heavily in refining their eCommerce platforms instead of settling for an essential website.
Critical differences between B2C and B2B eCommerce
B2B eCommerce is usually seen as more complicated than B2C eCommerce due to a few key factors.
- B2B sellers typically have fewer customers, so they must sell larger quantities or at a higher cost to make a profit. Establishing solid relationships with clients is essential, which may involve bargaining prices and providing personalized customer service. A successful account management team is critical to satisfying these customers’ needs.
- A study by Garner discovered that when B2B buyers make a purchase, there are typically six to ten individuals involved in the decision-making process, and each has its distinct research approach and timeline.
- Fewer rash decisions. The intricacies of a B2B transaction mean that it is usually not impulsive – it can take weeks or even longer finalize. On the positive side, if the buying experience is positive, it could turn into a long-term relationship with repeated orders from the same buyer.
- Many B2B buyers require customized solutions to meet their specific requirements. This could be anything from a marketing team searching for new promotional items to an office manager needing office supplies. Consequently, your product selection, delivery methods, and payment options may need to be adapted for individual clients.
- Brand ambassadors are invaluable when marketing to a large company. If your current brand ambassador leaves, you may need someone to promote and advocate for your brand within the organization.
Many businesses can benefit from B2B eCommerce. Those include:
- Manufacturers can use eCommerce to simplify the order process and make it easier for buyers such as brands, wholesalers, distributors, or other manufacturers to search for and purchase products. Additionally, they can use this platform to better track, monitor, and centralize data which will help enhance their inventory forecasting operations.
- Wholesalers that employ eCommerce can simplify the purchasing process for their partners and increase their reach through online sales channels.
- With eCommerce’s help, wholesalers can streamline the purchasing process for their partners and extend their reach through online sales channels. This can provide numerous benefits, such as increased customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and brand visibility.
- Distributors can increase their sales reach by selling on multiple channels and personalizing the shopping experience for their customers. They can tailor product catalogs, pricing, and messaging to particular buyer groups via eCommerce sites.
- B2M brands – those that use multiple selling models such as B2C, B2B, or B2B2C – can create unique websites for each customer group and offer their products on various channels. This will enable them to capitalize on platforms that already have the confidence of their potential purchasers.
- Brands that prefer to bypass traditional intermediaries can now directly sell their products or services to enterprise or business customers. Through D2C eCommerce websites, they can display their full range of offerings while having more control over their branding, pricing, and other aspects.
- Agencies and consultants can use eCommerce strategies to expand their existing services to other audiences. This allows them to diversify their business portfolio while still relying on what they know best.
Popular B2B eCommerce channels
Depending on how you plan to operate your business-to-business company, there are a variety of channels to consider when selling. To ensure maximum reach, it is advisable to use multiple channels simultaneously.
- Online store – An online store is an effective way to reach business customers. You can create a dedicated, members-only area on your B2C website for selling exclusively to B2B customers. Alternatively, you can offer products and services for both business and consumer markets.
- B2B marketplace – Under this option, you can make your products available to a third-party marketplace that facilitates the connection with potential buyers while also controlling the customer experience (including how products are listed and interactions with customers take place). Examples of such marketplaces include Wayfair Professional, Alibaba, AliExpress, and Amazon Business.
- Social media – Social media is increasingly a valuable platform for B2B brands. With the emergence of social commerce tools, it’s possible to take orders directly from channels such as TikTok and Instagram. However, you should carefully evaluate each channel before investing to determine which ones are best suited for your company.
Tips for getting started with B2B eCommerce
Now that we have the fundamentals covered, it is essential to arm yourself with some critical tips while setting up a business in the B2B eCommerce domain. Follow these guidelines as you venture into this sector.
Pick your eCommerce platform wisely
Finding the right platform for your online store can be overwhelming, and you may even consider getting a developer to create it. But with a reliable eCommerce website builder, you can make your work easier and launch and scale your business faster. When looking for an eCommerce website builder, find one that provides attractive store templates and supports essential back-office features. The Shopiroller is a platform, for example, includes features such as:
Shopiroller Payments: Shopiroller Payments provides a secure and reliable way to accept payments online for first-time online sellers. They offer various options such as major credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, and buy-now-pay-later services, each backed by robust security protocols that achieve the highest level of PCI compliance. Shopiroller Payments provides a secure and easy way for new online sellers to accept payments.
Catalog and listing management: Create a single repository for all your product data and organize collections or list variations that target different B2B customer segments. Make bulk buying easy by featuring multipacks of products at discounted prices.
Order and inventory management: These are essential requirements for any online business. To ensure that orders are correctly recorded and routed, an efficient system is needed to prevent mistakes such as shipping errors or overstocking, which can lead to expensive losses.
Memberships: Create password-protected store pages for your B2B customers to provide a unique and exclusive experience. This is beneficial if you want to cater to B2C and B2B clients from the same platform or reward loyal customers.
Product subscriptions – Provide a subscription option for customized boxes or repeat orders of a single item.
Print-on-demand (POD) and dropshipping integrations: Offer custom-made products and outsource delivery through a Print on Demand (POD) supplier.
Enable a live chat feature on your website so customers can get quick answers while shopping or connect with a customer service representative.
Multichannel expansion -Connect to top marketplaces like Amazon and eBay without leaving the Wix dashboard. This eliminates the need to manually input product details on each channel and automates any potential changes that may occur between channels.
- Multichannel expansion -Connect to popular marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay from within your shopiroller dashboard, so you don’t have to re-enter product information on each channel.
- Global eCommerce – Make shopping on the go easy for customers with a fully mobile-responsive eCommerce store from Shopiroller. Your online store will look great no matter what device is used so that you can reach more potential shoppers.
Apply B2C principles to your B2B site
Treat your business customers as if they were ordinary people. Like all of us, corporate buyers have encountered ecommerce before and know what to expect in terms of the shopping process.
Ensure that on your website you:
- Organize your products into easy-to-find collections with helpful navigation menus, filters, and more.
- Utilize high-quality product images that accurately display size, features, and intended use. Compose comprehensive product descriptions that stand out.
- Enhance the mobile shopping experience.
- Include videos such as user-generated content on your website.
- Highlight customer testimonials, product reviews, and case studies as proof of your quality.
- Offer various shipping and payment options.
- Supply clear return and exchange policies.
- Provide contact information and a live chat option on the website.
- Organize your products into easily navigable collections with functional navigation menus, filters,
Encourage self-service shopping—whenever, wherever
Many B2B purchasers prefer to take matters into their own hands and explore goods at their own pace. B2 B buyers complete nearly 70% of the customer’s journey before proactively reaching out to a dealer.
For this purpose, you should be sure to offer plenty of self-service resources, such as chat boxes,
As customers look for a vendor’s digital experience equal to or better than their in-store experience, utilize a practical omnichannel retail approach and maintain consistency. Integrate your branding, payment options, and product information across all channels so that buyers can make confident purchases no matter where they find your products. With 93% of customers expecting a unified experience, it is essential to implement a seamless system.
Create a full-service experience
Analyze the entire customer experience with your brand. Break down the distinct customer groups you are targeting and their level of knowledge about your company. Although it is impossible for your website to satisfy everyone’s needs, you can create an environment that caters to both new and returning customers, as well as high-priced purchases and inexpensive items.
The key is to be mindful of the aim of each web store page. Look into who visits and from where they come. Your homepage usually speaks to potential clients, while your members’ pages are more addressed to regular customers. Your homepage’s primary call-to-action (CTA) can be like “browse products.
” or “contact us with questions,” whereas your members’ pages should emphasize subscription choices, pre-order buttons, and the customer’s previous orders.
Establish a strong marketing strategy
Launching an eCommerce website does not guarantee to attract visitors immediately,” Akvilė states. “Treat your site like a new platform and let your existing customers know about it.” Creating a successful eCommerce marketing strategy is the other key component for success.
- Let your existing contacts and network know about your new venture, and you could even give them special discounts when they refer someone. Social media – A study showed that 84% of B2B decision-makers use social media as a research tool to find objective reviews before making a purchase.
- Increase your website’s visibility on Google search pages by incorporating keywords, improving page loading speed, and following other eCommerce SEO techniques.
- Platforms like Facebook or Google Ads can quickly inform more people about your business.
- Send emails to keep customers informed with newsletters, abandoned cart reminders, and promotional messages.
- Create trust and tout the advantages of your products through blogs, YouTube videos, or customer reviews.
Q: What should companies do to set themselves up for success with their eCommerce website?
A: Companies should create straightforward navigation and product organization, offer various shipping and payment options, supply clear return and exchange policies, provide contact information and a live chat option on the website, encourage self-service shopping, integrate omnichanneln Retail, create a full-service experience, analyze the customer experience, and establish a strong marketing strategy.
Q: What is omnichannel retail?
A: Omni-channel retail creates a unified shopping experience across all channels, including online, physical stores, mobile applications, and more. It allows customers to move seamlessly from one medium to another without losing information or having to start from the beginning. It creates a more personalized customer experience and increases customer loyalty.
Q: What are some eCommerce marketing strategies?
A: Some effective eCommerce marketing strategies include letting existing contacts and network know about your new venture, increasing website visibility on Google search pages through SEO techniques, using social media platforms such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads, sending emails to customers with newsletters, abandoned cart reminders, and promotional messages, creating trust through blogs, YouTube videos or customer reviews.
Q: What is the importance of a strong eCommerce marketing strategy?
A: A strong eCommerce marketing strategy is critical for success in launching an eCommerce website. It helps to increase brand visibility and awareness, attract more customers, promote products and services, and generate sales. A strong marketing strategy can also help build customer loyalty and trust in the brand.
Q: What role does self-service shopping play in an eCommerce website?
A: Self-service shopping is essential to the customer experience on an eCommerce website. It allows customers to quickly and easily find what they are looking for without needing assistance from a customer service representative. This helps to create a smoother shopping experience, making it easier for customers to purchase products or services.
In conclusion, having an eCommerce website is essential to competing in the modern retail landscape. To deliver a successful online retail experience, it is necessary to have straightforward navigation and product organization, offer various shipping and payment options, supply clear return and exchange policies, provide contact information and a live chat option on the website, encourage self-service shopping, integrated omnichannel retail, create a full-service experience, analyze the customer experience, and establish a strong marketing strategy. With these steps, companies can set themselves up for success with their eCommerce website.