15 Features You Need for B2B eCommerce


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The best B2B eCommerce capabilities become increasingly essential to stay competitive. Companies looking to build digital sales and marketing capabilities should concentrate on building a highly functional platform with simple navigation, mobile-friendly displays, multiple self-service options and modular capabilities to foster future growth and business expansion. It's important to be ready for international sales, provide great customer service and integrate all business applications to streamline business processes.

Sales Volume of B2B Sales Creates Opportunities

The B2B eCommerce market will outstrip B2C sales by more than 200 percent in 2019--$1.1 trillion in B2B sales compared to $480 billion in B2C sales. [1] B2B sales are becoming more complex with multiple sales channels, marketplace sales platforms like eBay and global marketing options that are available to any marketer. B2B eCommerce features need to be increasingly customer-centric and fully integrated to handle the various processing needs of modern B2B sales. Some of the best 15 B2B eCommerce capabilities to develop include:

Centralized Product and Service Management

  • Centralized product and service management using a unified database simplifies innumerable business processes, streamlines management and enables wide-ranging customer self-service options.

Real-time Buyer and Supplier Relationships

  • B2B companies depend more on each customer and supplier than B2C companies because orders are bigger and more complex. Integrated, functional platforms enable easier communications among stakeholders, faster fulfillment times and quicker action on customer service issues.

Data-driven View of All Business Operations

  • Automated data exchanges simplify every customer and company operation such as activity monitoring, communications and process management.

Flexible Platform with Modular Capabilities

  • The continuously evolving nature of digital technology means that marketers will always encounter new technology and the need for expansion. Robust platforms enable upgrading and expanding capabilities with new software and business applications using a modular, plug-and-play approach.

Instant Inventory Updates Across Marketing Locations / Channels

  • Successful B2B companies often sell products in wholesale and retail operations and brick-and-mortar stores. Many wholesalers employ outside sales staff to call on customers. Companies also market their products in other sales channels such as marketplace platforms. Keeping track of inventory across multiple sales channels can be challenging. That's why real-time inventory updates are so important.

Flexible Payment Options

  • B2B customers require multiple payment options such as bank transfers, third-party payers, credit accounts and other payment methods. The more options that are offered customers to pay, the higher the sales will be.

Friendlier User Searches

  • About one out of every five searches is done by voice. Searches must be integrated within eCommerce B2B sites to make them easier for customers. [2]

Enhanced User Experiences

  • Users demand simpler ways to research products, place orders and get answers to their questions. Effective eCommerce features should include enhanced mobile experiences because customers want to research products and order on their phones. Research shows that 94 percent of customers start their searches using a phone. [3] Platform features should include auto-complete to fill in forms, prominent call-to-action buttons and fast page-loading times.

Custom Pricing Options

  • In B2B sales, non-negotiable prices don't work. Although pricing transparency is important, B2B companies often offer different prices to different companies including discounts for bulk orders, buying incentives and discounts for key groups of customers. Dynamic pricing, custom pricing tiers and customer-specific pricing are key B2B eCommerce features.

Custom Displays

  • Gathering intelligence about customers enables companies to display personalized content and landing pages based on buying history, preferences, seasonal trends and other criteria. Companies can also choose to display custom product blocks and content based on profitability, the need to move inventory and the popularity of certain products that is likely to increase the totals of sales orders.

Customer Group Management

  • In B2B sales, many companies use purchase orders. Managing buying committees effectively includes satisfying different decision-makers, integrating the checkout process with credit limits and approvals and enabling charges to shippers.

Easy Account Onboarding

  • Simplified account onboarding is one of the features that provides a big benefit to customers. The process helps to separate different customer buying profiles and enables creating separate logins for resellers. Simplified onboarding prevents order abandonment caused by a complex signup process.

Automated Calculations

  • B2B eCommerce customers enjoy integrated websites that automatically calculate taxes in different tax jurisdictions, apply taxes and duties and convert foreign currencies.

Multiple Shipping Options

  • B2B customers often convert or abandon an order based on shipping options and costs. Offering a choice of carriers--integrated directly on the site--increases conversions and increases customer satisfaction.

Automated Marketing

  • An integrated platform allows companies to automate marketing campaigns based on customized criteria. These might be customer buying habits, seasonal offers, personalized incentives or making contact after cart abandonment. An integrated website makes it easy to incorporate software from email service providers--such as MailChimp--and use the service and CRM software to target customers based on activity and ordering history.

There are dozens of others that could have made the list (i.e. custom re-ordering, self-service, invoice payments, etc.), but we wanted you to read them all. You may need to call Clarity and schedule a demo if you want to see them all.

Developing Your Platform

Choosing the right development partner is an important step in building the best B2B eCommerce capabilities. The right partner will collaborate with your business, take time to understand your needs, make recommendations and provide modular services that allow you to choose only the features that you most need. Clarity’s focused on building their B2B eCommerce platform for more than 13 years. More than 1,300 launched sites later, we’re still adding and extending our platform daily. That’s the nature of B2B, it’s constantly and ever changing. Give us a call today so we can help with your B2B eCommerce development.

 

References:

[1] Dckap.com: 13 Must Have Features in B2B eCommerce

https://www.dckap.com/blog/13-must-have-features-b2b-ecommerce/

[2] Smartinsights.com: 37 indispensable E-commerce stats for 2017

https://www.smartinsights.com/ecommerce/ecommerce-strategy/37-indispensable-ecommerce-stats-to-inform-your-2017-strategy/  

[3] Icecubedigital.com: 12 B2B Ecommerce Features Your Website Should Have

https://www.icecubedigital.com/blog/12-key-features-every-b2b-ecommerce-website-should-have/