Just like B2C sales, business-to-business sales have quickly been revolutionised by e-commerce. These two sectors are very different, but they have one very important point in common: to increase their performance, companies must make the user experience their priority!
Indeed, B2B buyers are just as, if not more, demanding than B2C buyers. They expect a smooth and frictionless interface and buying experience from their suppliers.
The challenges of B2B e-commerce
In order to convince B2B users to buy from your e-shop, make sure you simplify their buying experience. To do this, you should, of course, offer them a quick and easy login and payment method .
In general, it is best to have a site that is entirely dedicated to B2B commerce. This means that access for private individuals should be limited. The customer will have to identify himself as an employee of the company for which they are ordering so they can access the products, or at least their prices, and to be able to add them to their basket. Access can also be restricted according to the employee’s function.
Then you can add specific features that make shopping easier.
Your customers want a quick and intuitive order process
Make it possible for your customers to place an order based on what they are used to buying. For example, as soon as they log in, display the previous orders they have made with a “reorder” button. Another option is “order by SKU” which allows customers who know what they want to order to quickly type in item numbers and quantities (or import a list) and add those items to their cart in seconds.
Your customers want a smooth and simple shopping experience
Like the quick order, and if your customers are likely to buy products on a recurring basis, why not offer regular purchases through a subscription system. This will make your customers’ lives easier, as they will no longer have to think about their next orders as these will be automated (X quantities every X months, for example). Plus, it’s a great way to create ongoing, predictable revenue and increase your customer’s loyalty and value.
Your customers want personalisation
Contrary to some preconceived notions, selling online is far from incompatible with personalisation. We strongly recommend that you implement a feature that allows businesses to see only products that are relevant to them. This customisation can go as far as displaying different prices depending on the type of customer (e.g. offering more advantageous promotions for your regular customers). This online customisation makes life easier for your sales team and increases customer satisfaction.
Your customers want to be guided and advised
Finally, use recommendations! Very effective in B2C, product recommendations based on machine learning are even more important in B2B. You deal with people who have to place orders during their working hours. They usually know what they are looking for and expect to find it easily and quickly. This powerful tool provides the most relevant information to your customers to guide them through the buying process. By showing them the information they are most interested in, you gain users’ trust, establish yourself as an expert and build a relationship with them.
In conclusion, effective B2B functionality is about serving customers better, helping them find what they need and completing their purchase quickly and efficiently. Depending on your industry and your customers’ consumption habits, you will need to adapt these features and innovate in order to meet their expectations and anticipate their needs.
Become a pure player in B2B e-commerce!