What is B2B eCommerce?
B2B eCommerce in its simplest form refers to online purchases made between two or more businesses. An eCommerce website enables customers to shop like they do in stores, but by using an online catalog, selecting items for purchase and virtually checking out.
But B2B eCommerce is about more than transactions. B2B eCommerce transforms businesses by increasing revenue, driving efficiency and improving brand engagement. A strong B2B eCommerce solution must be able to manage complex pricing, quote workflows, many personas, multiple shipping locations and more.
If you haven’t heard, we live in a digital era. Today more than ever it’s crucial for B2B businesses to deliver strong online experiences. Why? Because everyone expects the same kind of experience that the Amazon’s and the Grainger’s of the world are delivering. Our personal shopping experiences have shaped our expectations for online B2B buying and selling. And if it’s not Amazon-like, it’s not going to be good enough.
In the last year we’ve seen a significant increase in the demand for more robust digital commerce offerings. Basically, B2B companies are realizing they need to evolve, or they won’t survive. Enter eCommerce…
What kind of eCommerce strategy does your company need?
The B2B buying cycle involves many roles. While building your eCommerce strategy, consider how the eCommerce platform enables everyone from the customer service representative to the service technician in the field. Additionally, the platform you select should be able to seamlessly integrate right into your backend business systems like your ERP, CRM or PIM.
Focus on designing a personalized experience for your customers. Remember, B2B buyers’ expectations have been shaped by their personal shopping lives. They want to self-serve whenever possible. Giving your customers the ability to self-serve is a win-win as it also frees up your internal team’s time to focus on improving other parts of the business.
How do I select a B2B eCommerce platform?
Recognizing the need for eCommerce is one thing but making the right platform selection for your business is another – and it takes careful, strategic planning and evaluation. Resist the urge to quickly schedule demos or compare flashy features right away. You need to make a plan that highlights your core business needs for today and tomorrow. Jumping right into a demo without a plan to give you direction is putting the cart before the horse. How will you know what you want the demo to highlight if you aren’t clear about what you’re looking for?
Here’s a piece that can help you choose the right B2B eCommerce platform for your business.
How can a B2B eCommerce website improve your company’s bottom line?
In B2B, your eCommerce platform should not only drive revenue but also increase share-of-wallet, automate low-value tasks and reduce inefficiencies from redundant, manual processes.
How does a B2C site compare to a B2B eCommerce site?
If B2B and B2C eCommerce are alike, consider them distant cousins. First and foremost, B2B is far more complex. As mentioned, a B2B site needs to accommodate things like workflows, customer-specific pricing, multiple personas and multisite instances. Next, the fundamental purpose of B2B eCommerce is different than B2C. B2C is largely based on the impulse buy. There is little room for that in B2B. B2B buyers don’t shop, they buy. B2B eCommerce websites need to allow your customers to get in, find what they need and carry on with their day.
We’ve seen many eCommerce vendors who got their start in B2C claim to “check the box” on B2B. They want a piece of the trillion dollar B2B eCommerce pie …I guess we can’t blame them, it’s a tasty pie. Unfortunately for them, and for manufacturers and distributors who get fooled by flashy frontends, many eCommerce projects fail because they are built on eCommerce platforms that do not accommodate the fundamental complexities of B2B. No one wants to pour a significant amount of money into customizations, only to find out that they have a less than desirable solution that is difficult to maintain.
While it’s not uncommon for an organization to launch both B2B and B2C eCommerce solutions, most often the B2B side carries far more complexity and when done correctly, can serve as the foundation for a future B2C solution. So how do you make sure your eCommerce provider isn’t just checking the B2B box? Here are the top 10 differences between a B2C platform and a B2B platform. Or read more about how B2B is not B2C.
What platform has the most out-of-the-box requirements?
This is where InsiteCommerce comes in! Since day one InsiteCommerce was built specifically to handle the complex needs that manufacturers and distributors face. InsiteCommerce is a cloud-based solution that connects your existing systems like your ERP or CRM and scales with your business as it grows. InsiteCommerce is truly geared to drive transformational business outcomes.
Become a B2B eCommerce expert with Insite Software and begin identifying your unique eCommerce needs by requesting a free eCommerce assessment!