Using Merchandising Techniques in B2B EcommerceIn the past, B2B ecommerce sites and their corresponding user experience (or lack of one as the case may be) were often utilitarian in nature. Bare bones. Limited. Maybe a bit boring. Bland. Minimalist, to be sure. Worse yet? Ugly and counterintuitive. Clunky. Error-ridden.

For savvy B2B companies, those days are OVER.

(Thank goodness.)

Today, the cutting-edge B2B ecommerce experience looks startlingly like the B2C experience you are used to. It doesn’t matter if you are selling auto parts, commercial door hardware,concrete block, police riot gear, or thumbtacks and tape–B2B ecommerce leaders are catering to the consumer-at-heart in the core of every business buyer.

Sites include glossy glamour shots of B2B products, hero images, and dynamic content like videos, on-the-fly estimators, and product configurators.

What about product merchandising? Does it have a place in B2B ecommerce?

When I mention merchandising, some B2B companies back away from the idea as being too consumer-focused for B2B. I mean, why would a B2B company want to cross-sell and up-sell its products?

For the SAME reason a B2C company up-sells and cross-sells visitors to its site: To sell more product!

If a B2C site can recommend a protective case for the iPad2 the visitor is purchasing or suggest that a consumer by three pairs of pants to get a discounted price on each pair, why can’t B2B ecommerce companies do the same thing with their customers?

The fact is, they can and those companies that aren’t utilizing merchandising techniques like up-selling and cross-selling in their ecommerce sales process are leaving money on the table.

The business that is buying color laser printers is likely to want and need the toner cartridges that go with the machines. Likewise, a company purchasing shipping boxes might want to know that they can upgrade to the next tier of box quality for a small increase in piece price or that if they buy 3 or more cases of packing tape they are eligible for a discounted price per case.

If you have a B2B ecommerce platform and you aren’t utilizing suggested product bundling, cross-sells or up-sells, you’re missing out on a critical way to grow channel sales. I ask you this:

Can you afford to leave money on the table simply by not asking the customer to upgrade or purchase related products?

I didn’t think so.