Buying online is now second nature to us all. Even if we don’t end up making our actual purchase online, we will certainly have done most of our research there before making a final decision. This no longer applies just to B2C buying, but B2B buying too.
Forrester estimates that B2B eCommerce will reach $1.2 trillion and account for 13.1% of all B2B sales in the US by 2021. So, if you are a brand or wholesaler, the likelihood is you already have a wholesale eCommerce platform. Your next step is to encourage your buyers to use it.
These tips will help you make your platform too tempting for your B2B buyers to ignore.
Put your B2B customer first
To encourage customers to use your Storefront you must put them first; a good user experience is paramount to successful adoption. Buyers’ expectations of B2B eCommerce are guided by their familiarity with B2C platforms, so when it comes to a great online experience, they expect what they get from a consumer online store - speed and ease of use.
Your wholesale eCommerce platform must be simple and intuitive. For a customer unfamiliar with buying online, anything that’s not clear will make them want to give up.
Beautiful design is important because first impressions count. Use great imagery and comprehensive product descriptions. Make sure to include multiple, high-quality images, fabrication details, dimensions, and other relevant details in your e-catalog software allowing buyers to easily visualize what they are purchasing.
Knowing somebody else was satisfied with a product or service encourages us to trust that business. Quotes from satisfied customers displayed on your website will be a powerful tool to promote your successful reputation to the market.
Provide ‘B2B specific’ features
Although it’s good practice to borrow features from B2C online stores, it’s important to remember that there are major differences between B2C customers and B2B ones. To cater specifically for B2B buyers, your online store should allow for multiple price lists by customer to provide the required flexibility. Find a solution that allows you to customize your catalogs, again, by customer, assigning different ones to customers according to their specific needs.
Promotions and discounts are always an attractive sales tool, but they change rapidly, depending on varying market trends. Your wholesale eCommerce platform should allow you to quickly and efficiently set up promotions, so your customers always have the latest offers available to tempt them online.
Shipping costs are important to your customers, as is any tax that will be payable, so make sure you provide the full cost and include calculations in the shopping cart, so your customers don’t get any nasty surprises when they are checking out.
Ensure your help and contact info is always available and easy to find. B2B sales can be a little more complex and expensive than B2C sales, so wanting to speak with a sales representative is more common. Plug-ins such as online chat options are a good motivator as your customer knows they can get immediate help and won’t leave the site never to come back.
Continuing love and attention
Once your customers begin to use your online store, you want to keep them interested and the best way to do this is through showing them how much you care!
Here’s some ideas:
- Offer easy to find FAQ’s so they feel supported and cared for
- Send an email tempting them with new products
- Let them know about similar or recommended products, so they are eager to make another purchase
- Contact customers who haven’t been active in your store for a while with discount links, or offers for free shipping, encouraging them to revisit
- Use your sales software to generate a report of customers sales history and send it to them making it easier to reorder
Finally, by making sure your sales reps are always involved with your customer service team so they provide a seamless experience for the customer - your eCommerce solution will be too tempting to ignore.