- 1 Introduction
- 2 Must-Have Features of B2B eCommerce Platform
- 2.1 Restricted Access
- 2.2 CRM and ERP Integration
- 2.3 Corporate Account Management
- 2.4 Multiple Pricing
- 2.5 Customized Catalog Management
- 2.6 Content Management System
- 2.7 Flexible Customer Workflows
- 2.8 Segmentation and Customer Reports
- 2.9 Self-Service Features
- 2.10 Flexible Payment Options
- 2.11 Enhanced Mobile Experience
- 2.12 Bulk Order Form
- 2.13 Request a Quote Feature
- 2.14 One-Click Reorder of Previously Purchased Products
- 3 Key Takeaway
For several years, B2B eCommerce has been considered an extension of the B2C business. But, the organizations have now understood that both B2B and B2C businesses resemble standalone business models. Further, B2B websites have even started dominating the online retail space.
Forrester forecasted the B2B eCommerce market to hit the USD 1.8 trillion mark by 2023. But, because of the pandemic, this figure has already been surpassed. The scope of diversification in the B2B vertical has also become significant with different opportunities and technological changes in the B2B eCommerce platform.
Multiple B2B executives feel that buying from an eCommerce website is more convenient than purchasing it from the sales representatives. It has led to a fundamental shift of B2B business from a brick-and-mortar store to an online store. However, deciding on the eCommerce platform seems to be a little overwhelming.
With that in mind, we have listed some of the must-have features of the B2B eCommerce platform that you should consider for digital commerce success.
Must-Have Features of B2B eCommerce Platform
Whether you are a B2B business looking forward to building your website from scratch, upgrading your existing one, or leveraging the benefits of an eCommerce platform, you should ensure that it supports the following B2B features.
In a B2B eCommerce store, buyers are generally people with different responsibilities and job titles. Hence, they must have access only to the information that is required to perform their work and nothing more. You should look for an eCommerce platform that features an in-built functionality of a password-protected website that ensures permissions only to authorized buyers.
On a more minute level, resellers can fully control the visibility of their website with capabilities that authorizes them to block purchases or hide products and prices from unauthorized users. Therefore, access controls are a must-have feature of a B2B online store builder.
CRM and ERP Integration
You must have software like ERP, CRM, shipping, marketing automation, payment and invoicing, to help run your business operations. But, you should look for a B2B eCommerce platform that allows you to integrate these systems easily and streamline the operations of your business using a single dashboard. In simple words, it will help you to perform different functionalities from one platform.
You can also take the help of the vendors for integration references, and get first-hand experience in implementing the integrations.
Corporate Account Management
The B2B businesses require a highly personalized user experience. The B2B websites usually include countless users with unique responsibilities and buying rights, especially when interacting with the subdivisions of the business.
Thus, your B2B online store builder should have corporate account management capabilities to address complex stratified corporate account structures. The buyers should have the advantage of configuring their account management structure, updating authorized users, and generating buying regulations irrespective of the number of teams, offices, departments, branches, or businesses.
Pricing in B2B eCommerce businesses depends on multiple factors, like purchase frequency, buying volume, pre-negotiated offers, and much more. They are required to be calculated particularly based on business and pricing rules.
Therefore, a B2B eCommerce software should include multiple pricing features where you can create and personalize prices for different businesses, companies, and customers. It is one of the best features for generating prices based on parameters, like regional pricing, customer groups, and volume-based purchases.
Customized Catalog Management
Online selling does not include any standardized approach. The B2B eCommerce software should match the needs of your business and not vice versa. This makes customized B2B catalog management one of the essential features of an eCommerce platform.
Diversified personalized options allow the resellers to create product catalogs that are highly customized to specific business units, corporations, and even individual customers. Every group has the authority to access their product catalog where they can see content and purchase products. For instance, you may look forward to assembling some products in a package or set minimum order quantities for every buyer.
Content Management System
As customers purchase products for practical use, the resellers need to furnish them with information so buyers can understand the reason for making their purchase. Some of the best ways to share the information are videos, product descriptions, certifications, etc. Such types of content assist you to communicate the perks of buying your products and answer all questions and pain points of the buyers.
The B2B eCommerce store should have an in-built robust content management system to enable you to have complete control over the content and the layout. The content creators should know how to enable marketing teams to update product pages and content effortlessly and without any hassles of coding.
Flexible Customer Workflows
Complex organizational hierarchies are one of the fundamental reasons that affect the behavior of your customer purchases. To complement the organizational structure and purchase journey of the customer, you should look for eCommerce platforms that have the capability of tailoring workflows.
An eCommerce website should not be a one-time creation. It should have the ability to generate numerous custom workflows to reinforce both the processes of the buyer and seller. You can easily customize replenishment, checkout, quotation, and onboarding.
Segmentation and Customer Reports
With an abundance of customer databases, the eCommerce platform is prolific for segmentation, account-based marketing, and user behavior analysis. You should have the capability of tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) of the businesses and analyzing which factors affect the user experience improvements, latest product updates, and distinct marketing hacks.
Therefore, the eCommerce platform should provide segmentation-wise data analysis of the customers. Moreover, it will assist you in understanding the purchasing behavior of the customers closely and preparing time-bound and highly-targeted marketing campaigns.
The customers desire to order whenever they can and not wait for the sales reps to answer their calls. The B2B eCommerce platform should have self-service functionality to empower buyers by allowing them to purchase and manage their accounts. For instance, businesses can place their orders through a one-click reordering system based on the order history.
However, the eCommerce platform cannot replace human communication. In that case, you need to look for eCommerce platforms that feature self-service capabilities of offering personalized products to each customer or modifying them according to circumstantial changes. If you want to strengthen your relationship with the customers, self-service features are ideal capabilities that you should consider while opting for an eCommerce platform.
Flexible Payment Options
Immediate payments are highly essential in the B2C world. However, this is not the case in B2B businesses. They extend credits to their clients to establish a secure relationship with the customers. This calls for the requirement of flexible payment options.
Flexible payment options like NET 30 (60 or 90), Company PO, Company Check, etc., enhance the overall experience of the users. The eCommerce platform should offer multiple payment methods to the customers, through both offline and online modes.
Enhanced Mobile Experience
In the era of smartphones, most consumers use mobile phones for browsing activities. Your B2B business needs a mobile-friendly website to keep pace with requirements of the modern customers.
Autocomplete, clear CTA buttons and fast loading time are the features that businesses need to consider while designing a mobile-friendly website. It should also highlight the unique positioning of your business in the market with quality content.
With a mobile-friendly site, you’re able to reach a wider range of customers and provide them with an enhanced user experience.
Bulk Order Form
For customers who place orders in large quantities, a bulk order form simplifies the purchase process for the users. They will no longer have to browse the products one by one. They can simply add all the items in the bulk order form and purchase products from your website.
This feature enables the functioning of adding SKU or part numbers and allot the quantity they are looking for each product. After adding the products to the cart, the customers are redirected successfully to the checkout process.
Request a Quote Feature
Apart from adding a ‘Contact Us’ page, you should also consider including the “Request a Quote” feature to boost the conversion rates. It provides real-time support to the customers in case of complex ordering procedures. Presenting a form or inquiry button is a great way to make the inquiry procedure a lot easier, and helps you to generate leads seamlessly.
One-Click Reorder of Previously Purchased Products
One-click reorder functionality is yet another B2B eCommerce feature. It saves much of the customer’s time which otherwise would be spent on re-entering the same items from the previous order again. You can display the recent orders on their Accounts page so they can start the new order, which includes the same products from the previously purchased items.
You might have heard that “first impression is the last impression.” So, you should select an eCommerce platform that understands the needs of your business and your customers and offers room for modification in the future.
If you already use an eCommerce platform, you should evaluate to see if it includes everything to make the purchase journey of the customers more efficient. You should also check if it is sufficient to handle the contemporary expectations of the consumers. Once you recognize what you need to accomplish, you can use the above list of features to serve the needs of the B2B customers today and tomorrow.