Our personal shopping experiences have shaped our expectations for B2B buying experiences. Consumers have grown used to seamless, Amazon-like shopping experiences in their personal lives. According to a 2018 Forrester survey, B2B buyer appetite for digital ordering tools is increasing. More than 70% of B2B buyers find buying from a website more convenient than buying from a sales representative.
Heightened expectations for powerful digital experiences are causing some manufacturers and distributors to panic. Most of them are realizing that in order to survive, they have to create a more robust digital commerce offering.
Though B2B buyers’ expectations have been impacted by the experiences they are used to in their personal buying lives, B2B and B2C eCommerce have important distinctions that companies must understand if they want to succeed. B2C eCommerce is all about maximizing sales. Though business-to-business eCommerce B2B eCommerce drives revenue, it is also about enabling your team and your customers to be more efficient.
Business-to-business eCommerce provides a way for your customers to purchase your products online, but also provides a host of other benefits to your organization. Imagine your customers, dealers, or distributors seeing both their online and offline orders in one place, managing their orders, budgets, seeing their pricing and available promotions through an online experience.
Here are 10 powerful benefits of deploying an eCommerce site with an engine built specifically for B2B
10 Powerful Benefits of Having a B2B E-commerce Site:
1. Scalability – An effective e-commerce solution will enable your organization to grow and scale easily to meet market demand and customer needs by opening new sales channels and continuously reaching new market segments.
2. Improved efficiencies – Through integration to the enterprise resource planning (ERP) and other back-end business systems, e-commerce provides marked efficiencies for B2B organizations. Customers are able to order online at their convenience, customer service can focus on actual customer service functions rather than simply being order takers, and the need to rekey data in independent systems is eliminated, thereby eliminating the possibility of errors and improving shipping processes and increasing order throughput.
3. More customers – A B2B e-commerce site with public-facing catalog pages is a powerful way to reach new B2B customers. Your future buyers not only prefer to shop online but will demand it. As B2B buyers head online to find the best prices, manufacturers and distributors can leverage the power of the search—and therefore, ready to index—pages of their site to locate new visitors and convert them into customers.
4. Improved brand awareness – Improve brand awareness in the market place. Developing pages that can be indexed by search engine crawlers is a fast way to improve your site’s search engine optimization and improve the likelihood that your target audience will know who you are.
5. Increased sales – Not only will you reach new customers, e-commerce also allows you to easily implement an automated cross-sell and up-sell recommendation program, offering relevant suggestions to customers on the site and encouraging them to purchase related items or items with more features and functionality.
6. Analytics – B2B e-commerce provides the perfect platform for an organization to launch a comprehensive analytics campaign. Through ecommerce, organizations can more easily measure and evaluate marketing campaigns, sales effectiveness, product mix, inventory turns, customer sales effectiveness, and customer engagement. Google Analytics offers e-commerce tracking, but integrating analytics with your ERP as well gives you much more valuable data with actionable insights.
7. Customer-centric experience – Amazon.com sets the standard for providing an exceptional e-commerce experience and today’s online shopper expects an Amazon-like experience whether they are shopping for business or pleasure. While there are certainly differences in experiences for retail shoppers and B2B buyers, B2B organizations still need to employ intuitive design, rich content, and interactive functionality in their websites.
8. Exceptional customer service – E-commerce provides an exceptional opportunity for the B2B organization to improve its customer service initiatives. E-commerce sites can provide access to self-serve portals with account, order, history and tracking information. Through integration with an organization’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, a robust e-commerce site can display customer specific products, services and pricing based on customer log in credentials.
9. Improved sales engagement – Your physical sales team will also benefit from the launch of a comprehensive e-commerce effort. A B2B e-commerce site or portal will improve your sales teams’ visibility into customer orders, pricing, and history while on the road or working remotely.
10. Multi-site capability – Launching channel-specific or co-branded e-commerce sites is easy with the right B2B e-commerce platform. This capability allows you to offer co-branded websites or microsites for each of your distributors or key clients as well allow for sites that cater to a specific international audience by presenting content in alternate languages or currencies.
So you’re ready to see the benefits of a B2B eCommerce site, but how do you choose your platform? Consult the experts. Analysts at Forrester published The Forrester Wave: B2B Commerce Suites, Q3 2018 which outlines the leaders in B2B eCommerce. Manufacturers and distributors have complex eCommerce needs that can only be matched by the most sophisticated B2B solutions. See why Forrester named Insite a Leader in B2B eCommerce. Download your copy today.