Despite the economic uncertainties, worldwide e-commerce sales are set to reach $4.9 trillion by 2021. These figures are only going to grow by 22% by 2023.
While a major chunk of these numbers comprises of B2C brands, the B2B brands are not far behind. According to Statista around 45% of B2B vendors are looking forward to investing in an e-commerce platform.
B2B brands need eCommerce software just as much as consumer stores. Wholesale websites and resellers, for example, are critical members of the commerce ecosystem. For one, they supply the products that power B2C stores.
Business-to-business companies have their own category because they serve a market of for-profit (and non-profit) organizations, rather than individual consumers. Wholesale websites and resellers are just two categories under the B2B umbrella; many B2B organizations sell services rather than physical goods.
How eCommerce Platforms are equipped for B2B Success
While many B2B companies are hip to the benefits of maintaining an e-commerce website, others still insist on more archaic routestransactions over the phone or via email, for instance.
The truth is that it’s far simpler to run wholesale and reseller transactions through an eCommerce website. It makes it easier for the customer, and it allows B2B organizations to save time and sell more products.
Not all eCommerce platforms are equipped to handle B2B transactions, so selecting the right e-commerce solution is fundamental to the success of your B2B online venture.
Here are 10 key features that e-commerce solutions should offer to be considered as B2B platforms, and provide the right tools to cater to b2b shoppers.
- Product Information Management
- Multi-store e-commerce
- Enterprise integrations
- Segmentation with customer groups and profiles
- Customer-specific catalogs and pricing
- Volume purchase and bulk discounts
- Restricted access
- Minimum order quantity
- Bulk order form
- Flexible payment options
1. Product Information Management
If you are running a product-centric organization in the B2B space, Product Information Management or PIM is an absolute must-have to boost your productivity as well as to simplify the tedious process of creating and maintaining product information across all the channels in your organization.
With PIM, you can procure information from various sources of your organization or business like the ERP systems, warehouses, marketing teams, product suppliers, and more, store it, and make it accessible to people you want internally and even externally through a single interface.
Here are some of the many benefits of employing a PIM system in your B2B e-commerce platform.
- Effortlessly expand to new marketplaces and manage multiple marketing channels.
- Integrate with other applications and build a unified customer experience.
- Reduce incorrect product orders or returns due to incorrect product information.
- Boost productivity in lesser time and effort.
- Integrate with newer technologies and personalize.
Know more about Product Information Management from here.
2. Multi-store e-commerce platform
Running a B2B e-commerce business would require catering to multiple different customers. This means you cannot let all your customers interact with your e-commerce site and products within a single interface.
As you may have already guessed, the workaround to such a scenario is to have a multi-store functionality set up.
A multi-store e-commerce platform enables you to launch and manage multiple stores through a single centralized portal.
This allows you to efficiently manage different customers or organizations and provide them with a personalized experience that eventually boosts your overall sales. Below are some of the reasons why a multi-store functionality is an import B2B e-commerce feature.
- Allows you to expand to new geographical territories.
- House multiple brands under the same roof.
- Boost sales
- Provide a personalized experience to your customers
- Plan your marketing based on your customer’s requirement
- Monitor or manage all the websites from a single centralized portal.
Learn more about multi-store or request a demo to speak with an expert from here.
3. Enterprise integrations
A B2B e-commerce site is only half baked without enterprise integrations.
Enterprise integrations provide your website with the power and opportunity to grow sales and simplify essential operations like ERP, Sales & Marketing, Shipping, Accounting, Payments, and many more.
Any good e-commerce platform will provide you with an option to seamlessly integrate enterprise integrations to your B2B e-commerce website.
SellersCommerce understands B2B e-commerce better than anyone, so we went a step further and added over 70 enterprise integrations to our repository for you to take advantage of.
You may check all our enterprise integrations from here.
4. Segmentation with Customer Groups and Profiles
In B2C, customers are generally treated equally. But wholesalers deal in larger orders that vary from customer to customer. As a result, these organizations need strict group designations for segmenting clients.
B2B companies should be able to classify customers into groups. Allowing to set pricing, minimum order requirements, and group-specific content (like promotions, shipping, and payment options) for each segment.
You should be able to group your B2B customers based on their profiles, including
- Geographical location
- Order volume
- Catalog selection
- Reorder frequency
- Quantity of products ordered
And by segmenting them into specific customer groups, their shopping cart experience should be customized according to their profile selections. Filtering the website content, pricing, and payment and delivery options available to them.
5. Customer Specific Catalog and Pricing
B2B organizations can sell at different prices based on the customer type or, as mentioned above, the customer group. And while you only be segmenting the customers to personalize the shopping experience, you’ll find very often the need to offer “special” product pricing to your more demanding clients. This shouldn’t be confused with competitive pricing. That’s a completely different strategy.
The ability to set different base prices for any product in your catalog and assign these to specific customer groups is the core of a B2B eCommerce website and will make the difference between your clients completing their orders online or continue to reach out via phone or email to get their orders fulfilled.
Right with the ability to provide customer-specific pricing is the need to have a customer-specific product catalog. For b2b clients needing a completely unique setup of products, or a pricing structure so unique that cannot be built into the existing products, you’ll want your e-commerce website to allow creating products that are only available to specific customers.
This also allows your business to explore listing a personalized product catalog for larger clients, for example, corporate apparel can require listing products with the logo of your client instead of the generic version of the product.
6. Volume Purchase and Bulk Discounts
B2B shoppers usually buy products in bulk, and while your products can be listed as cases, packs or pallets, you might still want to offer additional discounts tiers based on the total quantity to be ordered. Your eCommerce platforms must include a way to accommodate quantity thresholds that allow offering bulk discounts.
If you expect the quantity discounts to work along with the customer-specific price levels, then you might also expect to be able to specify different tiers for the discounts based on the customer groups assigned to your client base
7. Restricted Access
In many cases you’ll want to restrict access to your website, allowing only pre-registered clients to access products and content.
Look for built-in functionality in your eCommerce platform to set up an entire password-protected website, requiring customers to register before they can access it.
On a more granular level, merchants can control their main sites visibility with features that empower you to hide products and prices or block purchases for unregistered visitors.
8. Minimum Order Quantity
A minimum order quantity requirement specifies the lowest quantity of a certain product that the store is willing to sell. If the shopper cannot reach the requirement, then they won’t be allowed to place the order.
This is common on wholesale websites, where typically it’s required to reach a certain quantity per product to be able to place an order. The eCommerce platform should allow B2B merchants to set minimum order quantities per product.
Your business might also require similar features like,
- Minimum Order Amount to complete an order.
- Maximum Order Quantity per product.
- Specific quantity multiples for products sold in packs, cases, etc.
9. Bulk Order Form
For b2b customers placing large orders, especially for catalog orders or products order by Part Number or SKU, instead of having them search or browse products one-by-one, a bulk order form can enhance the overall shopping experience by adding a simple, intuitive way to place large orders in your website.
A bulk order form adds to your website the ability to input SKU or part numbers and designate the quantity theyre looking for each product. The process should redirect your shopper directly to checkout after adding all the items to the cart at once.
10. Flexible Payments Options
For B2B clients and B2C alike, getting paid for customer’s orders is equally important.
To accommodate the needs of your b2b clients, you should Integrate offline payment methods like:
- Purchase Orders
- Payroll Deduct
- Employee Allowance
- Credit Card
Here at Sellers Commerce, we provide you with tools such as Uniform Program Management and Retail Commerce, which can connect you with the products and data you need for your employees or business. Contact us for a demo today!