Operating a successful B2B eCommerce company requires a different approach than the more standard B2C eCommerce company. Many businesses still have not understood the importance of implementing a successful eCommerce strategy. This causes their sales and business to suffer.
The following 5 simple tips will help ensure that your B2B eCommerce business gets off to a good start.
1. Design Still Matters
Many B2B online retailers will ignore the design of their web store. The usual reasoning is that other businesses do not care about design and would prefer a lower price. This is true to an extent but requires further explanation.
Yes, businesses do not care about design and want the lowest price product that offers the highest value. However, businesses are made up of people that have preferences and biases. If these business people visit your B2B website and it looks like it is from 1995, then they will be less likely to purchase from it.
They will think you are unreliable and do not care about your customers. Additionally, they may not trust your security system with their credit card information.
Instead, those businesses will visit your competitor’s website that has a modern design. Sites with modern design are easy to navigate, look safe, and have the design appearance of a successful business. All those are components that lead to a high conversion rate and repeat business.
2. Focus on Customer Needs
Another common method to improve your B2B eCommerce company is to focus on the customer needs on your website. One of the fastest ways to do this is through the use of excellent content.
Some of this content can include user guides, manuals, services, and product offerings and this makes it much easier for the customer to find exactly what they need when they visit your website.
Another value-add tip is to make sure your website includes a search bar. You would be surprised at the amount of B2B eCommerce websites that do not have a search bar. This makes it extremely difficult for your customers to navigate your website.
Additionally, it will result in many of your customers not knowing your entire catalogue of available products. The worst possible thing a customer can say to you is, “I never knew you sold this product.”
That generally means that your website did a poor job of showing the value your company can provide to customers. If they did not find the product on your website, then that means they went to a competitor website. That is lost revenue and the potential to lose a customer altogether.
Now, the main point of this tip is to focus on value first. The value will then flow naturally to creating the best possible product and website. Adding a search bar was just one example, but other examples of value-added features to your website exist such as a live chat bar.
Regarding product, trying to create the lowest price product will simply lead to a race to the bottom and provide no value other than a low price. Not the business model you want for your eCommerce store.
3. Separate your buyers
Separate your buyers from each other on your website. This is important in every eCommerce, but especially important with B2B as you will have many different types of customers with very different needs.
An example might be a large company that sells products to small businesses, medium-sized business, large businesses, and the government. Each facet customer will have their own unique needs and wants. This makes it especially important to segment the customers into specific groups.
This is especially noticeable with companies that sell computers such as Dell. They have specific categories on their website for the different types of customers that purchase their products. This makes it easier for the customers to purchase product that meets their need, which in turn increases the conversion rate of your website.
4. Make the experience easier for your wholesalers
Many B2B businesses still rely on phone calls and email for their wholesale customers. This makes it difficult and time-consuming for you and them to get the wholesale.
Instead, you should focus on building the best possible wholesale portal for your wholesale accounts. It means less hassle for them to reorder and takes much less of your time. You may also acquire additional wholesale accounts with an easy to use wholesale interface.
Finally, an easy to use wholesale interface opens the possibility of streamlined drop shipping. This will require an API of some sort for drop shipping that can fulfill orders at the time of purchase.
5. Keep your customers up to date
Ensuring your customers know the date of their delivery is one of the major tenets of success in the B2B space. Businesses want to know when they will receive products. Saying they will receive a product in “2 or 3 days” will not work for many businesses.
They want to know the exact date, and sometimes the time of day that they will receive the product. Naturally, this is because businesses have tight deadlines. The delivery of your products at a specific time may often be the difference between a successful project and an unsuccessful project.
This list of tips is not an exhaustive list of everything you should do to ensure a proper B2B eCommerce website. Instead, these tips will point you in the right direction as you start your business.
Other important tips touched on briefly include to focus on other potential sales channels and this includes wholesale, but it could also include international distribution or shipments. In addition, selling to the government, which generally requires an entirely different skill set and is not typically conducted on a website.
All the tips listed above are extremely important. However, the most critical tip is to focus on the value that you provide to the customer. If you focus on value towards the customer, then the rest of the steps should fall into place quite nicely.