More and more B2B businesses are leaning into eCommerce as a way to increase market share, facilitating online purchasing for today’s B2B customers whose buying behaviors and expectations are changing.
Streamlining the B2B eCommerce experience means borrowing from the B2C playbook. Your online experience must meet and exceed customer expectations, drive sales, and improve brand loyalty. However, B2B retailers face specific challenges when it comes to taking their sales processes digital. Watch out for these six pitfalls when embracing eCommerce.
1. Assuming B2B buyers won’t embrace self-service
It’s true that some B2B buyers will resist change and continue to prefer face-to-face interactions with a salesperson. However, with millennials reaching positions of purchasing power across organizations, the digital experience isn’t just acceptable, it’s expected. B2B companies must be prepared to deliver the convenience of 24/7 self-service access to buying options, accounts and orders, and shipping/tracking information.
2. Failing to deliver a familiar online shopping experience
The same buyers who shop B2C websites in their leisure hours will be using B2B channels during their workday. They expect a similar experience no matter which platform they purchase on or the reason. You need to provide personalized product recommendations, an intuitive ordering process, easy, secure payment options, and fast, trackable fulfillment to give B2B buyers a familiar B2C experience.
3. Not acknowledging the importance of mobile B2B eCommerce
B2B buyers use mobile channels to research work purchases, request price quotes, check tracking information, and contact customer service. Branded mobile apps can be a significant differentiator, supporting all vectors including customers, internal teams, field sales personnel, and channel partners. Mobile can also integrate with features like bar code scanning to deliver instant product information, and provide real-time data on availability and pricing.
4. Missing customized ordering opportunities
B2B customers are accustomed to leveraging the power of negotiation for special pricing and terms. Many B2B sellers don’t realize that modern eCommerce is able to offer the same level of customization. Customer-specific pricing and discounts can be shown automatically by segmenting your buyers into customer groups according to their unique needs. Add quoting tools to enable custom orders for new buyers, and add them to your database. In the future, they can benefit from eCommerce access to one-click check-out at their negotiated price point.
5. Limiting payment options
B2B customer invoice settlement can span a massive range of options, and you need to be able to readily service them according to their preferred mode of invoicing and payment. A variety of offline and online payment methods should be on offer, from corporate accounts and credit to mobile wallets to virtual checks on net 30 terms. You can even partner with a third party to provide invoice factoring, keeping purchase flows consistent and strengthening brand loyalty.
6. Not integrating the site with other critical systems
Failing to integrate an eCommerce platform with existing critical systems like ERP, CRM, and PIM means lost time and money. You’ll have to devote valuable resources to manually syncing information across your business, including inventory, customer accounts, pricing, orders, and fulfillment.
Thoroughly evaluate your options, and select an eCommerce platform that provides all of the features and functionality a B2C company would require to be successful. Then configure and integrate with existing systems, and tweak settings to better serve your B2B customer base.
Pixafy specializes in helping companies grow their eCommerce presence, from developing sites on leading platforms to integrating from and back ends with an ERP solution (like NetSuite and Sage X3) to streamline workflows and improve user experiences. For more information, contact the Pixafy sales team today.