As a brand or wholesaler with B2B customers, you’ve probably noticed a change in how your customers want to buy from you. As more and more people do their shopping online, your B2B customer, who is also a consumer, is fully accustomed to buying online in their personal lives. This online experience means they now have the same high expectations of your B2B ecommerce platform as the B2C websites they usually use.
But the B2B industry is not the same as the B2C one and your B2B ecommerce site needs to reflect these differences, as well as adopting the B2C best practices.
Here are 7 ways to ensure your customers get the best B2B eCommerce buying experience
1. The B2B order approval process is managed from beginning to end
The number of people involved in one B2B purchases has increased from 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today. Each person will have a different role in the company and may even reside in different countries. As a result, your B2B ecommerce platform needs to accommodate the complexity and variety of processes involved in making each B2B purchase, by providing a digitized approval workflow to ease the approval process.
With an administrator function to delegate purchasing authority to individuals, groups, or departments, the individual closest to the purchase can identify the product that best fits their need but still having their spending monitored.
2. Make it easy for your buyers to do their research
Modern B2B buyers these days have much more access to information when researching their purchases. Obviously, this is a good thing as they can find the right product for them themselves, but it won’t be a good thing for you if they need to sift through loads of material on your site to find the information they specifically need.
We are all short on time, so your e-catalog software must make it easy and simple for them to quickly find what they’re looking for, or they will swiftly switch to one of your competitors.
3. Offer the full range of credit terms and payment options
Unlike consumers who pay immediately for an online purchase, B2B buyers have individualized payment terms. But they still expect the convenience of electronic invoicing and payments, allowing them to easily track their payments and expenses and to report on them. By providing as many options as possible for invoicing and payment you can ensure you will meet your customers’ needs.
When your e-commerce software platform integrates seamlessly to all popular payment gateways and accounting systems, your customers can securely enter and store payment information without compromising financial data integrity.
4. Provide a personalized pricing and product range
Because of the different credit terms and payment options set up with your customers, your B2B ecommerce platform will need to be flexible enough to have their individual tiered and volume discounts already configured into the pricing they see on their site.
In addition, their e-catalog must be restricted to their personally defined categories of products to prevent noncompliant purchases. Together with showing only their agreed discounts. By providing these options, your buyers will get the pricing transparency and catalog curation control both of you want.
5. Give them good reporting and tracking functions
B2B buyers have budgets and need to be in total control of their purchasing, as they must answer to other company stakeholders. To provide the necessary information to your B2B online customers, the B2B ecommerce platform must be integrated with your sales order management system so customers can see what they purchased, when, and for how much, giving complete visibility into order fulfilment and goal attainment.
6. Avoid human error
Ecommerce is all about the customer experience and if they’re not happy, it’s all too easy for them to move their business somewhere else.
By integrating your accounting system or back-office with your e-commerce platform you are eliminating double inputting and the mistakes often made via manual entry. This puts you in complete control of all the data you choose to display. Because it is consistent across both solutions, you will provide a flawless buying experience for your customers.
7. Give your B2B buyers fast and reliable shipping
If you love to shop, you know part of the excitement is taking your new purchase home straight away. Buying online means waiting for your goods to arrive, but even if you’re a B2B buyer, you also want a fast and timely delivery to ensure you stay fully stocked.
By integrating shipping information with your platform, your buyers will have the ability to track their order themselves. You can inform them of any delays or changes, managing their expectations, so they are never disappointed with your service.