B2B eCommerce Website for Manufacturing
People, Products and Channels
It is the age of the customer, and manufacturers of all kinds are looking to establish a direct relationship with the end user of their products. While an eCommerce site can take be extremely flexible, one thing is always consistent: B2B eCommerce is not B2C eCommerce. Large catalog requirements, complex product offerings, or custom part numbers alone can be enough to differentiate from B2C. Add in contract-negotiated pricing for customers, geographically restricted product offerings, volume discounts, and you can further delineate between the requirements of a B2B versus B2C eCommerce experience.
Beyond platform needs, there is a fundamental difference in how a B2B customer wants to interact with an eCommerce experience. Quite often, B2B customer are there to buy, not to shop. They are doing their jobs, and would like to do so in the most informative, efficient manor. This is why customer experience features differ when targeted towards the B2B customer. Efficiency tools such as a quick order pad or simple reorder from their order history allows past purchasers and those familiar with their product identifiers to go from home page to checkout in the least number of steps possible. Flexible and customerspecific product taxonomy of a website allows for users to navigate the product catalog available to them in the way that makes most sense, including application, fit, or simple category. A robust search experience that allows users to search not only products, but categories and content by a multitude of attributes, product identifiers, even customerspecific part numbers simplifies the path to purchase B2B buyers desire.
The B2B eCommerce opportunity is unique in that it fills a variety of needs and goals for manufacturers. The most cited statistic of the “B2B eCommerce Opportunity” is that the global B2B online selling market is at least twice that of the B2C market, coming in at $6.7T+ per year by 2020. But increase in revenue isn’t the only opportunity for manufacturers using a B2B eCommerce solution. Reducing the cost to serve any given customer by enabling self-service options previously fulfilled by internal customer service representatives, salespeople, and other staff can be moved online to be accessible by customers any time of the day, no matter where they are. Price and stock availability checks, status of an open order, freight tracking, and RMAs are just some of the many self-service options available to a customer through eCommerce. Better yet, the time being saved can be used by the sales team to better serve the customers, by introducing new product lines, complimentary items, or simply using the time to reach out to more customers.
B2B eCommerce also allows customers an easy way to research additional product lines you offer that may be complimentary to their business. Using merchandising features such as cross-sell, up-sell, accessories, installation materials, or recently viewed product modules on product detail pages assist in presenting more of your catalog to customers who may have not otherwise been exposed to them. Add in strategic product bundling, kitting, and promotional offers, and the possibilities for expanding your share-of-wallet for any given customer increases. Easily expand your company’s current geographical service area by opening up your eCommerce site to more of the country. Previous limitations of location are no longer an issue, so long as shipping and freight costs are manageable.
Make your customer’s jobs easier.
Johan, a procurement manager, constantly buys “stock” items for his business. Since ABC Manufacturing has a nice eCommerce experience, Johan can easily look up his last stock order, click re-order, and adjust quantities as needed. He can also check the shipment status of a custom order placed on behalf of a customer, and download the associated invoices, all without having to call his direct sales team.
Introduce complimentary product lines to your existing customers.
Melissa, a procurement manager at TopWing Aircraft Builders has been ordering from your organization for years. Using your new eCommerce experience for the first time, she goes to a commonly-used product page that you created on your website. On the product detail page, she notices a “related products” section that shows additional products that she might be interestedin. Looking to simplify her ordering processes and vendors, she now orders that product from your company as well.