As services between businesses grow, the B2B industry is experiencing unprecedented expansion and innovation. In the rise of the digital age, these services are shifting away from traditional offline territory and into the world of eCommerce, allowing for newer products, improved services, and more convenient transactions. In fact, B2B eCommerce is growing so fast that 61% of B2B transactions today start online.
As with every other business out there, B2B eCommerce companies span across different sectors and business models, ranging from services like accounting and legal to products like machinery, equipment, and consumer goods. One thing they all have in common, apart from the convenience of using digital channels, is the tech-enabled tools that allow them to implement flexible and scalable business solutions.
B2B-oriented eCommerce solutions leverage the power of data and technology to streamline complex sales processes, improve services, and scale your operations. To help you understand how these solutions can help you optimize your business, we have listed some of the top B2B eCommerce solutions you should start using today.
Although companies may be hesitant to move away from their long-standing reliance on dealing with suppliers and clients directly, using digital channels can greatly improve the efficiency and success of the process.
Nowadays, many B2B companies use procurement systems that centralize purchasing and maintain their position as preferred suppliers to Fortune 500 companies and government organizations. These solutions streamline the entire procure-to-pay process, from pricing catalogs to invoicing.
Alternatively, you might want to consider search APIs like Reverse WHOIS that help you find and contact partners, clients, and resellers with updated and well-structured databases. You can perform search queries with names and email addresses to find useful connections between various domains.
Pricing, Payment, and Ordering
B2B companies often consist of numerous moving parts. From procurement catalogs like PunchOut to fulfillment centers and client management tools, there are many different systems that require unification and customization for smooth and uninterrupted operation processes.
To ensure a unified solution for payment and orders, you might want to consider a digital solution that allows transactional options. Since using several tools can often result in confusion or unclear processes, you can avoid such inventory or order management problems by opting for a single unified solution.
Such a solution can be particularly important if your business offers both B2C and wholesale channels, as minimizing channel conflict and management is vital for all aspects of your business.
Additionally, you might want to consider offering different delivery options for your best or most loyal clients depending on their location, tier, or other factors.
User and Customer Experience
One of the most important aspects of running an eCommerce website is the experience you offer users when they visit your pages. Optimizing your website can help you communicate and interact with your visitors in an effective and meaningful way.
Since your website is representative of your brand, and you want your brand to resonate with your customers, the user experience and user interface (UX/UI) of your site need to be tailored in such a way that they make the brand experience more enjoyable and powerful. For example, using videos instead of text and optimizing your product videos to generate videos in bulk can lead to higher conversion rates.
When it comes to UX and UI solutions, your best bet is to find a platform that offers personalization and customized solutions that align with the values and goals of your brand. Such features may include:
- Easy-to-use design templates;
- Customizable and brandable components;
- Responsive design;
- Easy-to-add tools (lead capture forms, personalization plug-ins).
B2B eCommerce businesses are undeniably more complex than B2C ones. Due to nuances and rules involved in selling to other businesses, you may need to manipulate the platform to correct for different buyer experiences depending on the user.
For this reason, you should employ an eCommerce solution that gives you the option to restrict access to certain parts of your website depending on the circumstances.
Some of the restrictions you can use include:
- Hiding your bulk prices from B2C customers;
- Hiding pricing altogether;
- Hide your B2B site from non-registered users.
Every business is unique, so the options you choose will depend on the buyer’s experience as well as your customer and product variety. If you’re working with eCommerce software, make sure you have these options available before deciding to use them.
As the B2B industry becomes increasingly digitized, so do the solutions and platforms that serve as enablers of this transformation.
Although practically every business is likely to tailor their solutions of choice to their respective needs and capabilities, there are certain solutions that every B2B eCommerce business should consider using to achieve improved results. These solutions include e-procurement platforms, pricing, payment and ordering tools, user and customer experience solutions, and access restriction options.
When choosing the right solutions for your business, consider their full scope and capacity, how well they fit your goals, and if these goals are likely to change.