Having a web shop has become crucial for B2B companies as demand for online purchasing in businesses is increasing. According to a Frost and Sullivan Research, B2B eCommerce will is expected to hit $6.7 tn worldwide by the end of 2020.
But how can we define a B2B eCommerce? How is different from a B2C eCommerce and what makes a successful online portal for business customers?
B2B eCommerce describes a commerce transaction between companies using an online sales portal. This business model differs from B2C e-commerce which refers to the online transaction between a company and an individual consumer.
In general, there are three main distinctions between B2B eCommerce and B2C eCommerce.
- Customer Profile. In B2B, the customers are professionals skewed towards rational decision making and who focus on the products´ features and properties. As a result, the buying decision is planned for and is taken by a committee as to fulfil a critical company need.
- Purchase Process: Since the buying decision usually involves greater risks and substantial financial investments in B2B, the purchase process takes a lot of time and is very complex based on business needs and business logic and is usually a repeated purchase.
- Customer Relationship: the B2B buyers would rather invest in a lasting relationship that doesn´t end after the purchase is made. Therefore, B2B buyers´ lifetime value is much higher than B2C buyers which makes customer relationship management more complex
We can conclude from these key differences that business and individual customers have very different requirements with vastly disparate budgets. Nevertheless, the common thing that unifies these customers is user experience. So how can we offer an exceptional online buying experience to a business customer?
As mentioned above, business customers’ purchasing decisions are logical and based on value. Thus, B2B eCommerce should be focused on solving customers´ needs. This can only be done by choosing an eCommerce solution that provides the right tools and by implementing necessary feature-sets that range from navigation and quick purchases to multi system integrations and personalization sets.
Concerning navigation feature sets, they simplify the purchase process for buyers. These include:
- Advanced and intuitive search: one of the most important navigation tools since it enables buyers to find the right product quickly and easily and thus increases conversion rate.
- Shopping cart: assist buyers while making the purchase, allows them to add items in their basket and start the checkout process
- Integration with ERP systems: speeds up the process fulfilment by automatically updating the inventory levels both at the front end and the back end, displays prices based on user type, etc
- Mobile responsiveness: which is a must to provide buyers with the best user experience knowing the growth of shopping on mobile devices
- Multiple users: Each user may have rights to access the platform which can be managed by an administrator.
- Availability and catalogue: These features enable real time inventory updates of each product and offers information that are useful to the buyer.
As for the personalization features sets, they are used in order to increase customer retention and loyalty to the business. They include:
- Order history, tracking and confirmation: The order history feature enables the buyer to easily reorder an item and benefits the company by identifying their bestselling products. Concerning the tracking and confirmation feature, it allows the buyer to be informed about the status of the order.
- Discount applying: Enables the company to apply discounts to specific clients or depending on the quantity that they purchased.
- Restricted access: This is an important feature in every eCommerce platform, it allows only registered customers to access the portal. Restricted access gives the company control over the information the customer can see and, also, gives the customer a sense of security over their personal data.
- Delivery information: This feature gives the buyer an estimated delivery date and notifies them about any delay allowing them to know what to expect for their delivery.
- Replacement handling: as 39% of online buyers check the return policy before making an order. Replacement handling reassures the buyers so that they can order without worrying about errors occurring.
- Cross selling, up sales and recommendation: These features help increase customer satisfaction as well as improves customer loyalty. In addition to that, cross selling and upselling play an important role in increasing profits as customers buy more products.
Although B2B ecommerce differs a lot from B2C ecommerce, it is worth noting that B2B customers expect to receive the same user experience through both channels. The Signifikant Platform can be “the company” portal for anyone planning a new Aftermarket Information portal. Our functionalities of personalization, integrations, and attribute based filtering, amongst others, ensures that B2B users have a familiar online experience coupled with simplified one-click buying. Learn more: https://www.signifikant.se/e-commerce/