Everything you need to know about B2B e-commerce
82% of professional buyers want their business purchasing experience to be the same as when they’re buying for themselves. The fact is, B2B buyers are just as human as you and me. As such, they are looking for the most convenient shopping experience: B2C standards impact B2B expectations.
1. What is B2B e-commerce?
B2B E-commerce is commonly known as the e-commerce transaction that exists between businesses. It allows professional buyers to actively research product information from manufacturers and wholesales and place orders over the internet.
Let’s have the automotive industry as an example of complex B2B relationships. To make a car, automotive manufacturers purchase components from several companies over the world. This business-to-business transaction is commonly referred to as the “B2B business model”. For instance in the B2B model, prices vary depending on the customer and the quantity they order. Pricing contracts is a regular practice in the B2B space. This means that for each order, the sales rep must check the contract and adapt the quote.
Smooth communication is the key to effectively simplify this complex process between two companies. This is why placing orders through a digital platform can increase business efficiency and gradually drive sales growth. According to Sapio’s 2019 research into the B2B buying process report, increasing the efficiency of the purchase process is in the buyers’ top 3 priorities.
The same report also points out that 33% of B2B buyers would be persuaded to choose a vendor that offers online sales functionalities. They want to access an online portal where they can place and track orders, pay online, and manage returns on their own. Fully personalized shopping experiences is definitely a trend as well and is becoming a top priority in the buying decision.
Find the key reasons why B2B E-commerce is growing rapidly over the past few years with the top 6 advantages of B2B E-commerce platform below
2. How does B2B E-commerce benefit your business?
1. Enable your business to reach more potential customers
Increasing your online visibility during B2B research process will help your business to reach more potential customers.
2. Empower your customers with self-service
While business owners start looking for more and more personalized orders and simplified reordering processes, leveraging e-commerce platform is the most effective way to encourage them to interact with your brand.
3. Enhance business productivity
Simplify your order process with a cloud-based system and advanced commerce functionality such as repeat order, multiple payment and shipping options, etc. This will help to eliminate repetitive tasks for your sales team.
4. Easily manage each of your accounts
Manage your accounts effortlessly with order review and approval workflows. Personalize what products and pricing each account can see to ensure a coherent experience.
5. Enable your business to strategize with data-driven reports
Gain accurate data insight with automatic tracking and reporting of your commerce performance. In this way, you will easily measure your marketing and sale efforts.
6. Expand your business
Bring your business to the next level by speeding up your operational working flow and increasing your possibility to meet the new customers.
3. B2B E-commerce key features
Did these benefits of B2B e-commerce get you thinking about your business’ online opportunities? If so, keep on reading to find out the most important features and make sure you are getting the right platform:
Personalized customer experience to increase interaction with your customers
- Customer-specific Pricing
Depending on massive orders and contracts between different businesses, your website should display specific pricing for certain products or product bundles. This will make your customers’ buying experience personalized and relevant to their business context.
- Customer-specific catalog
Customized specific catalog for unique business buyers, this will certainly help to improve your customers’ buying experience.
- Enhanced faceted search
Increase the possibility for customers to easily find products which they are looking for on your platform.
Speed up your order process to boost up productivity
- Product Information Visibility
As buyers acquire more and more accurate product information, providing product visibility on your site seems to be the key to increase sale opportunity.
- Request the quote
It’s never easy to deal with an email with complex products to ask for the quote. By leveraging the “Request the quote” feature, you will be able to easily manage product quotation and efficiently respond to your customer
- Minimum Order Quantity
In order to maximize your business profit, minimum order quantity is required for each buyer to successfully complete the order.
- Multiple shipping options
B2B buyers always have a variety of delivery needs such as speed, location or cost. The best way to increase the conversion rate is to provide them preferable shipping methods. In this way, customers will be able to choose the option based on their priorities.
- Flexible payment options
Providing multiple payment methods ensure customers can complete their orders conveniently. This also helps to reduce abandoned cart rate at the end of the buying journey.
- Multiple invoices options
Managing your invoices allows you to track where your cash is flowing and reporting purposes.
- Easily repeat a previously placed order
B2B buyers are likely to repeat their purchases every month. In this case, a repeat order option is a crucial feature to have to enhance customer experiences.
- Real-Time Inventory Updates
Only with real-time inventory updates are you able to provide customers with accurate stock information. It helps to gain your customers’ trust and opportunity to build long-term relationships.
View Data Analytics with advanced features for B2B Buyers
- View consignments with tracking
Easily track your consignments with real-time location updates.
- Seller reports in the back-office
Easily identify potential customers as well as deliver the appropriate sale approach to each buyer based on reports
- Buyer’s reports in the storefront
Buyers can always view their order history in their account setting that helps to keep track of order status, invoices as well as enable them easily to repeat the order at the same time.
- Integration with Google Analytics
Generate powerful customer data to create strategic campaigns that meet customer needs to drive sales and business growth.
B2B E-commerce Trends in 2020
Keep up with B2B E-commerce trends in 2020 to quickly adapt and stay ahead of your competition.
1. Fully personalized online shopping experiences arrive
According to Sapio’s 2019 research into the B2B buying process, personalization is already top-of-mind for many B2B customers. Users will be served customized product catalogs and even entirely personalized websites, navigation experiences, and checkout processes.
2. B2B voice commerce on the rise
In 2019, 14% of B2B customers already wanted to see voice ordering in their online B2B buying experience. Therefore, the demand for voice commerce in B2B e-commerce in 2020 and beyond will not be far behind.
3. AR and VR comes into play in B2B
When B2B customers shop online, they look for straightforward, quick, and accurate experiences. Therefore, in B2B, a big opportunity for AR and VR technology is to serve a functional role: to help customers virtually try out and identify the correct products quickly and easily.
4. B2B e-commerce becomes eco-conscious
People across the world and across demographics becoming more conscious of environmental issues. Optimizing delivery chain and other e-commerce processes can reduce environmental impact, but also increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of ordering and fulfillment processes.
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