The B2B marketplace has surpassed all the growth predictions and forecasts. Now is the best time for businesses to tap their fullest potential and turn this change to their advantage. If you want to embark on a successful digital transformation journey, you need to make the most out of the B2B eCommerce solutions and embrace the changes at the rapid pace that it is evolving.
Why is it important to build B2B-specific features for your eCommerce store?
As the very name reads, B2B eCommerce simply refers to an online sale of products and services between companies, businesses, and service providers (and not individuals). When the sales funnel involves business entities at both the buying and selling ends, conventional eCommerce solutions and platforms that are built with a B2C mindset don’t help.
Success in the B2B eCommerce space demands more than basic website features and functionalities. From multichannel selling experience to streamlined order management, B2B customers today expect a fulfilling eCommerce experience along with B2C-like easy, hassle-free, and seamless shopping experiences.
Having effective B2B eCommerce solutions in place helps you meet your customers’ ever-changing demands and channelize them into ROI outcomes. This article sheds light on the biggest B2B eCommerce challenges and top B2B eCommerce solutions, features, and capabilities that help you to resolve those challenges and transform your B2B site into a fully functional and thoroughly optimized eCommerce store.
What are the biggest B2B eCommerce challenges?
One of the major challenges is the lack of marketing and sales personalization which is one of the topmost B2B customer expectations. They expect a 1:1 and real-like personalization at every stage of their purchase journey. Their expectations and the challenges in meeting their expectations can be broadly classified as follows:
Modern B2B eCommerce features for a great customer experience
Let’s get into the graphic details of each of these problems and the competent B2B eCommerce solutions to resolve them. In the ever-changing and increasingly challenging world of B2B eCommerce, the good news is that technology can make anything possible. Here is a list of B2B-specific eCommerce features that help you to future-proof your business and boost your performance.
Challenges in order management
Unlike traditional eCommerce environments, B2B practices often involve voluminous orders. This makes it difficult to manage orders, set volume-based prices, and deliver them seamlessly. Sometimes bulk orders involve multiple shipping addresses too.
Solution #1: Pricing rules based on order volume
This feature empowers the B2B businesses with an intelligent and customizable pricing module to handle volumes of orders. Here’s more on how you can leverage custom pricing:
Feature special discounts on bulk orders
Offer custom pricing based on purchase history
Provide intelligent pricing based on the products they frequently buy
Give volume-based additional discounts to increase sales
Solution #2: Minimum and maximum order volume
Since B2B purchases often involve voluminous orders, there should be a predefined limit on the minimum number of items allowed in an order. This feature allows you to keep your net revenues as well as entice your customers to order judiciously. Here’s more information:
Specify the minimum order quantity required to place the order
Customize the maximum quantity of products per order
Customize the minimum order quantity based on the customer segments
Display the best unit price in the bulk orders to increase the conversion rates.
Solution #3: Multiple shipping addresses and delivery times
Bulk orders accompany by unique challenges and requirements that need superior order fulfillment features. Here are some modern B2B eCommerce solutions that help solve the problems in shipment:
Allow customers to choose different shipment addresses within the same order
Enable buyers to choose their preferred delivery time dynamically within their bulk order
Make shipment tracking easy, accurate, real-time, and automated.
Solution #4: Product bundling
For various reasons, you may want to segment and assort your products into different groups. Product bundling is one of the most effective B2B eCommerce solutions that allows you to benefit from intelligent product segmentation. You can create different product bundles to serve different purposes. Here are some parameters on the basis of which you can do your product bundling:
You can set different minimum order quantities for different product bundles
Group products together and bundle them together for easy marketing
Create pricing-based product bundles for easy merchandising
Challenges in B2B eCommerce personalization
The key difference between B2B and B2C eCommerce is the level of customization expected by the buyers. Since B2B customers expect an almost real-like price negotiation and customization, you need exemplary solutions to facilitate dynamic pricing. Here are some of the B2B eCommerce solutions that make flexible pricing possible and profitable.
Solution #5: Request For Quote
Although B2B customers demand a B2C-like purchase experience, their purchase decisions are not made instantly as in the B2C journeys. They might want to just get a price quote for the moment and have multiple levels of discussions internally before proceeding to buy. Quote management helps you to meet this unique B2B requirement.
The ‘Request for Quote’ feature is an efficient alternative to the ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Buy Now’ buttons that work for the B2B space. You don’t have to take off the buy now/add to cart buttons, but you can place it alongside those buttons on your product listings and pages. Here are its benefits:
Reduce cart abandonment rates
Engage customers who are looking for price quotes for later purchases
Increase conversions with personalized price quotes
Build and nurture customer relationships
Solution #6: Flexible Payment Methods
It’s important to provide your B2B customers with a wide range of payment options to choose whatever that works best for them. Your B2B eCommerce suite should have flexible and easy payment options.
Provide easy and flexible B2B payment options
Make it easy for your customers to create purchase orders
Provide on-account payment options and easy installment options
Include multiple payment modes like credit cards, paper checks, e-checks, COD, etc.
Increase credibility with trusted and secure partners
Solution #7: Dynamic pricing and segmentation
One size never fits all and in B2B, one price never ever fits all. Unlike B2C eCommerce, you might have to sell the same product to two different customers at two different prices. This requires outstanding pricing intelligence and strategy. So, dynamic pricing and segmentation should be part of your B2B DNA. Here’s more on how you can tap the pricing intelligence to the fullest potential:
Specify different pricing for different customers or customer groups
Feature special pricing for your privileged customers
Create customer-specific pricing and product catalogs
Solution #8: Customer Segmentation
You need to classify your B2B customers based on their profiles, location, demographics, catalogs, order volume, order frequency, average order size, etc. This feature allows the B2B businesses to dynamically segment their target audiences into customer groups and profiles.
Create dynamic customer segments based on buyer profiles and behavior.
Provide customized shopping experiences based on the interests of the target segment.
Customize pricing for the specific customer groups based on the frequency of orders and order history
Solution #9: Personalized B2B Catalog Management
Effective B2B eCommerce success warrants multiple-level personalization to foster customer engagement and enhance the purchasing experiences. To achieve personalization at multiple levels, you need to take advantage of the following to the fullest:
Dynamic pricing lists
Personalized catalogs are a result of a combined approach that unifies all the above three categorizations. Thoughtfully created product catalogs will have a package of product bundles with tiered pricing based on the customer segments. Here are a few more benefits of personalized B2B Catalog Management:
Customize your product catalogs to the needs of specific corporations, business units, divisions, and even individual decision-makers. Display customer-specific catalogs to drive more personalization
Allow each customer group to have access to their own catalog where purchasing managers can consume product content and purchase products
Gain complete control by leveraging permission-based catalog showcase
Add, modify, or delete catalogs easily based on your customer needs
Solution #10: Tax Exemption
Tax exemption is a pressing issue for most B2B customers. Here’s another B2B eCommerce feature that enables you to exempt specific customer groups or handpicked customers from taxation.
Set up specific customers as non-taxable
Use custom tags to segment customers based on their tax limits
Configure tax exemption for selected products
Challenges in decision making
The B2B user journey is non-linear and the buying curve is usually erratic, time-consuming, and complex. Besides involving people from different teams and multiple roles, the decision-making process depends on a number of factors. Here are a few B2B eCommerce features that enable faster and easier decision-making.
Solution #11: Real-time inventory updates
This feature allows you to provide your B2B customers with the most accurate product information. To make faster buying decisions, the customers should exactly know the number of products available and when they can be delivered. B2B decision-makers expect solid, super-accurate, and real-time product information. ‘Out of stock’ messages or order cancellations that happen after completing the order are big-time turn-offs to the B2B shoppers. Such shortcomings reflect on your brand reputation, customer retention, and take a toll on your repeat orders. Besides satisfying your buyers, real-time inventory updates help you get a clear picture of your overall inventory. They also help you to streamline your operations and arrive at accurate demand forecasts.
Achieve customer satisfaction through accurate information.
Avoid disputes post order placement.
Streamline operations and simplify workflows
Solution #12: Corporate account management
A B2B business often comprises multiple accounts and users with distinct roles and different purchasing rights. Solving this challenge helps all the team align on the same page and decide things faster. Here’s more on how to facilitate multiple users on the same B2B account and shorten the path to purchases.
Address complex hierarchies and user structures
Enable buyers to configure their own account management structure based on their organizational needs
Easily add authorized users, create predefined purchasing rules and access, regardless of the company size
Facilitate multiple businesses, departments, teams, offices, or outlets to use the same account with different usage rights, access, and permissions seamlessly
Solution #13: Conversion boosters
Entice your customers to make faster decisions with unique conversion windows that are proven to work for B2Bs.
Provide a ‘Request call back’ feature that helps your customers get their queries answered instantly. Also, human-powered conversations help customers decide faster
Personalized demos and quick consultations also contribute to quicker decisions by increasing reliability and trust from customers
Allowing customers to export their order summary handily helps them in their internal decision-making discussions and makes price comparisons and negotiations easy for them.
Challenges in meeting unique B2B user experience needs
All successful eCommerce businesses will have one thing in common, that’s a great user experience. Though user experience is a common ingredient in all success recipes, B2B user experience warrants an advanced and novel approach. In this part of the article, we will discuss B2B eCommerce solutions for a great user experience.
Solution #14 One-click reorder
B2B purchases involve regular and repeat orders. ‘One-click reorder’ is an interesting module that allows your customers to quickly reorder previously purchased products. Looks like too simple? You’ll not know how impactful such simple things can become in user experience. Here are a few benefits:
Save your customers’ time
Shorten their path to purchase
Simplify the product discovery process
Enhance the overall shopping experience
Solution #15 Responsive eCommerce design
Since B2B purchases involve professionals from the top management, there is a misconception that they visit the website only during business hours and on big screens like laptops and desktops. But the landscape has entirely changed. From mobile-only apps like Instagram to devices of all sizes, B2B eCommerce has become an ever-expanding marketplace. In the advent of increasing business users from mobile devices, it becomes important to allow your B2B customers to engage, shop, and purchase from your eCommerce store from the comfort of their own choice of devices. Responsive eCommerce design is the key to increase engagement, improve conversion rates, and reduce bounce rates.
Allow your B2B customers to browse and purchase on your store on the fly.
Leverage speedy page loads on mobile devices and nurture customer engagement.
Reduce cart abandonment rates with shopping carts optimized for all devices.
Solution #16 Intuitive & User-friendly Searches
Your B2B eCommerce engine should have an advanced search algorithm that makes product search and discovery intuitive and hassle-free. Here are some of the B2B eCommerce features to improve search results:
Filtering and sorting options: Buyers must be able to locate products easily with mega menus and assorted display of product categories. Apart from this, they must be able to refine the default search results by advanced attributes like specification, product size, type, color, availability, etc.
Auto-complete search queries: Power your B2B eCommerce store with intelligent and automated suggestions of search queries as the buyers type the keywords in the search bars. This feature has helped a lot of businesses to drastically lower their bounce rates.
Long-tail searches: Your B2B eCommerce store should be able to understand and display the most relevant products for the long tail question-based keywords too.
Solution #17: B2B Customer approval for enhanced security
Take advantage of this customer approval feature that empowers the security of the site. Allow admins to approve/restrict customers who want to create an account on the store.
This helps prevents the creation of fraudulent accounts.
Gain complete control over your registered accounts.
Deny login access to any registered customers at any time.
Suspend any customer account at any time if required.
B2B eCommerce Checklist
How to challenges in order management
Bulk Order Placement
Multiple Shipping Addresses
How to challenges in pricing personalization
Request For Quote
Dynamic Pricing And Segmentation
Personalized B2B Catalog Management
Flexible Payment Methods
How to challenges in decision making
Real-time Inventory Updates
Corporate Account Management
How to challenges in B2B user experience
Responsive eCommerce Design
Intuitive & User-friendly Searches
Choosing the most competent B2B eCommerce solutions
There is no end limit on how far you can go in optimizing your website for improved performance, user experience, and conversions. The Commerce Shop is a leading eCommerce agency that offers best-in-class eCommerce solutions, development, and maintenance services to a wide range of clients. Leverage our years of experience as a trusted partner to hundreds of companies and expertise in working with multiple industries.
Talk to us for a free consultation on how to make your B2B eCommerce store powerful, performance-oriented, and competitive.