Regardless of the industry you serve, business-to-business (B2B) commerce is one of the largest untapped and lucrative opportunities. That means there is no denying that e-commerce has become essential in the world of consumer products. While B2C companies create much space for consumers, B2B e-commerce represents a number of successful online businesses that cater to other businesses.
B2B brands require e-commerce software in the same way consumer stores need it. Both resellers and wholesale websites play a critical role in the commerce ecosystem.
That is to say, whether you run a B2B e-commerce store or a popular B2C e-commerce website, it must have certain features that help you accommodate your business needs and functionality. Your B2B e-commerce store must meet the goals of your business. Determining the common features will help you execute online orders on your portal effectively.
However, it is important to understand that not all B2B solutions can deal with the problems in the same way. Here is when you need to analyze some key features of B2B e-commerce solutions that you should offer to your customers.
Considering this, here are some common B2B e-commerce features every entrepreneur should look out for in his/her e-commerce solutions.
Although you will not find this feature in B2C e-commerce, it has become one of the most common features of B2B e-commerce portals. B2B e-commerce portals allow distributors and manufacturers to create a customer-specific experience at the consumer level.
As an online retailer, make sure you provide access (in the form of login ID) to your individual customers. Plus, the provided information should be the same that you intend to provide to each retailer, including pricing and customer-specific catalogs.
The process will enable you to have better control over people who can or cannot log into your online portal. This way, keeping exclusive information for retailers confidential becomes a breeze. The cherry on top is the modified experience for which your consumers are looking.
Seller review is another essential B2B e-commerce feature that can help you ensure that the online orders your customers have submitted meet your business requirements, such as shipping date restrictions and order minimums.
To put it simply, when an online order is submitted, your sales rep and admin has a chance to review the placed order before it’s manually confirmed. It is a great opportunity for sales reps to reinitiate the conversation thread with the customer, answer his/her queries, and up-sell any new product.
If your business works with an updated inventory strategy or you have items that have resale and you often back order them, having real-time inventory data is tremendously advantageous. In B2B e-commerce, real-time inventory data is an easy way to decrease backorders by enabling customers to go through what is in stock. Plus, it will help you find a suitable alternative for a product that is not available.
There is no doubt that B2B e-commerce has the potential to unlock plenty of new opportunities, especially when it comes to B2B marketing. In the past, entrepreneurs found it hard to keep their brands fresh in customer’s mind. However, promotional messaging on B2B e-commerce platforms is very helpful to keep your customers engaged year-round.
That means your B2B e-commerce portal should have a customizable messaging block feature so that you can draw customer attention to all relevant promotions whenever you want. In addition to that, make sure you provide access to brand collateral. Your customers should be able to see everything from merchandising guidelines, item training videos to catalog PDFs.
Allowing your customers to have full visibility of their order history is key; this is particularly true when they need to place reorders. By enabling them to pull up their past orders, check them, duplicate them, and place them as a reorder, you make the whole process incredibly convenient.
This works as an enticing feature that convinces customers to place more orders. Distributors and manufactures in different industries must know how to accommodate frequent reordering.
This significant feature of B2B e-commerce helps you customize the feel and look of your website, according to the design elements of your brand. With this feature, you will be able to customize the colors, background, logo, and imagery of your portal.
The feature will further ensure that your B2B e-commerce solution stays consistent with your brand aesthetics.
Although, for some people, user experience doesn’t stand as a separate feature of B2B e-commerce, its functional significance should not be understated. In other words, if you provide an innovative user experience to your customers, it may help you boost your B2B e-commerce portal.
In order to accomplish this, it is necessary that you make it super easy for your customers to log in, browse the catalog, educate themselves about the products, add them to order, and check out shipping and payment details.
Unlike B2C e-Commerce that has usually the same pricing for every customer, a B2B e-commerce portal is different. It is because it has different arrangements in place to accommodate each customer. The reason can be the volume of business, number of orders, and the type of product a customer buys.
This is what requires diverse pricing arrangements at the product order level, no matter who the customer. In short, your online store must have the functionality to handle various pricing models, regardless how complex.