Strong B2B eCommerce capabilities bring many benefits to brands and wholesaling companies. But these are not guaranteed. To offer the best B2B eCommerce platform to your customers, you need to develop a well thought out eCommerce strategy, select the right platform, and execute it.
What questions should you ask to make sure you’re on track to achieve this aim?
Have you prepared your sales team?
You have a hard-working and successful sales team who are probably the engine that has driven your business for years. But if the people that represent your company to your customers don’t fully understand the benefits of B2B eCommerce, they won’t be onboard and motivated to use it, nor will they be willing to promote it.
Sales reps have a common misconception that an online sales platform leads to lower commissions and some feel they may even lose their job because of it. To avoid misunderstandings and make sure your B2B eCommerce platform is the best, you must include your sales team from day one.
Explain how they will get paid for eCommerce sales through the B2B ordering system, how the platform will make their jobs easier, and ensure they fully understand the benefits of online sales for their customers.
Do you have the customary B2B payment options?
B2B purchases are different to B2C ones. Your B2B customers expect more than just a form field in which to input their credit card details. In fact, nearly 80% of all B2B transactions happen on an extended line of credit with payment terms ranging from 30 to 120 days. They may want to issue a purchase order, pay with an electronic check via an automated clearing house (ACH) or, increasingly, through an online payment service.
Added to that, B2B purchases often involve multiple individuals from multiple departments throughout the different stages. A lack of internal and external communication could easily cause a deal to fall through.
The best B2B eCommerce platform will accommodate a full range of B2B payment options and configurable workflows for review and approval, to make it easy and comfortable for your customers to buy from you.
Can you make it personal?
For several years, ‘personalization’ has been a hot topic within the B2C commerce industry: know your customer, personalize their offers and prices and communicate effectively to build a relationship and not just one sale.
B2B sales have the same aim, but often involve many decision makers. It’s therefore just as important for B2B companies to create an immersive, contextual commerce experience but the experience needs to be as personal as it was with your sales rep, with enough flexibility to affect all the stakeholders involved in the purchase.
Not all B2B buyers pay the same price for the same product and every B2B deal will involve negotiations for favorable prices, terms, and freight. As a result, the greatest B2B eCommerce platform must clearly show B2B customers their specific, negotiated prices and shipping rates.
Can you offer an Omnichannel experience?
The top B2B eCommerce platform must have the flexibility to adjust to the complexities of selling through all channels, to prevent your customers spending time and resources on buying and tracking orders across different channels. This includes insight into delivery dates for products and services, monitoring of order processes and automatic customer notifications. Your platform should be the single source of information across all channels providing a consistent buying experience regardless of whether the customer is interacting with a field sales rep, a call center, a mobile application or your website.
In addition, the omnichannel experience includes backend processes such as order fulfillment so your products always arrive on time and with no errors.
These are just a few of the many questions you must ask before investing in the best eCommerce platform for you. You must evaluate each one to ensure it will offer the capabilities required to handle B2B complexities while delivering superior customer experiences.