The old offline realm of business-to-business (B2B) transactions is giving way to a more online one.
The B2B ecommerce volume in the U.S. more than doubled between 2009 and 2019, increasing from $3.1 billion to $6.7 billion, indicating how quickly this transformation has occurred.
Because of this rapid expansion, B2B companies are now very aware of ecommerce technologies.
In the upcoming year, according to 35% of B2Bs, ecommerce platform technology investment will be their top priority.
Better user experience and more B2C functionality are the top priorities for 54% of distributors.
B2B, generally understood to mean business-to-business (B2B) online transactions for the selling of goods or services, has revolutionized online retail by digitizing order processing. This has made purchasing more effective and efficient for all B2B companies, including wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors as well as B2B2C.
There isn’t a finer moment or chance to create an online business strategy. The initial move? Selecting the best e-commerce platform for your B2B business is essential to offering your clients the correct products and services.
B2B Ecommerce Platform Selection Factors
You can think about how your choice of B2B ecommerce platform will affect your business by going over the following factors:
Type of B2B business.
The needs of various B2B company types will vary. Organizations must first comprehend the distinctions between solutions before conducting study on any one of them.
- B2B2C: Business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) e-commerce eliminates the intermediary, typically existing between a B2B company and a B2C, placing the companies in direct communication with the customer.
- Wholesale: Wholesale e-commerce is a business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce strategy in which you offer your goods to other businesses in bulk at a discount as opposed to selling them to customers one at a time.
- Manufacturers: Using a combination of equipment, manual labor, parts, and raw materials, manufacturers produce completed things on a big scale. The final goods are sold to other manufacturers, suppliers, or distributors under a business-to-business (B2B) model.
- Distributors: Distributors collaborate closely with producers to enhance sales, draw attention to the products they produce, and move those products through the distribution chain.
Getting sales team buy-in and adoption.
First and foremost, a few factors determine how well your team can use the platform you have selected:
- The user interface of the platform.
- The degree of expertise needed to fully utilize the platform.
- The proficiency level of your team before applying the solution.
- The interface of each platform varies and is designed for people who possess a particular level of coding and development expertise.
It is not intended for all B2B ecommerce software to function for your team. For this reason, it’s critical to select the platform that your team will be most able to use, not the greatest one.
Having a plan for onboarding customers.
It’s not always easy to move from one e-commerce platform to another, or from an outdated proprietary platform to a new one, particularly for your clients.
Make sure you have a well-defined plan in place for onboarding your current clients before introducing a new service. You don’t want to introduce them to a new platform by surprise that they are unfamiliar with.
Some e-commerce companies offer comprehensive launch services to expedite the process and offer on-the-spot training for both your consumers and your internal personnel who are still adjusting to new workflows. This could mean the difference between an implementation process that is difficult for all parties involved and one that is lengthy and drawn out.
Ensure it integrates with business software.
It’s critical to pick a platform that can integrate with all of the critical business applications your organization utilizes, including ERP, PIM, CRM, OMS, and others.
The last thing you want is to invest time and money on an e-commerce platform only to discover later that it is incompatible with the software you already have. That results in a loss of possible income in addition to being a waste of time and effort.
The best platforms available offer a way to connect all of your applications into a single, simple bundle without putting you at a disadvantage.
Many users place the highest priority on security when selecting a platform. Ensuring the security of client data is essential to their use of your service and its eventual success.
B2B e-commerce platforms must be able to offer security in the following areas:
When all of these things are properly protected, clients are more inclined to choose your business.
As if that weren’t enough, specialized security tools can shield your website from online threats and eventually raise its search engine ranking. Being safe is beneficial.
Cost of the platform.
When we talk about cost, we don’t just mean the financial expense; we also consider the internal costs associated with setting up and managing the website. How software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms like Appic Softwares contrast with on-premise platforms is one important point of differentiation.
Although on-premise solutions offer a remarkable degree of customization, they also necessitate full-time developers to handle the intricate details of the buildout. Furthermore, the costs associated with security and compliance are also carried by on-premise solutions.
With a SaaS platform, the third-party provider takes care of a lot of the extracurricular activities that might slow down the process, making it simpler and less expensive overall. Furthermore, you may more accurately and readily project future costs when you use a SaaS platform with a long history.
When it comes to SaaS vs. on-premise solutions, there is no simple answer, but there could be a one-sided difference in total prices.
Platforms for business-to-business e-commerce must offer a flexible, customizable solution. The days of releasing a ready-made, all-in-one solution and having it function for every business and individual are long gone. Rapid technological advancement has made specialization the norm.
Customers and merchants are more likely to be drawn to e-commerce systems that offer a high degree of personalization. The primary cause of this is scalability. Solutions that can expand with an organization are necessary for those that are experiencing rapid expansion or are getting ready for it.
Companies all around the world have come to this realization and are now providing solutions with more features and designs without raising prices. Customization seems to be becoming more and more desirable as new techniques like headless commerce gain traction.
First-party data and customer data.
In the current company environment, maintaining or increasing success requires being more data-driven. Being aware of additional information sources and analyzing the data you already have at your disposal can help you stand out from the competition and expand your company.
Understanding consumer behavior—where they are, what interests them, and what drives them to make a purchase—is now simpler than ever thanks to tools like Google Analytics and the interactions of many internet channels.
A successful e-commerce platform should have comprehensive data-driven decision making processes.
Essential B2B Ecommerce Platform Features
Let’s examine in more detail some of the most important characteristics to search for in B2B e-commerce platforms and websites:
ability to use a single platform for both B2B and B2C sales.
In the current ecommerce landscape, selling to B2B and B2C customers doesn’t always need to happen in separate silos within your company. In fact, being able to do both on the same platform can save you time and money.
However, not all e-commerce platforms provide this capability, therefore it’s vital to conduct thorough research before settling on a solution.
Adding additional technology partners and/or channels is simple.
Modern e-commerce has evolved due to the omnichannel experience, which enables companies to operate across multiple channels like social media, internet platforms, and physical storefronts. Having a consistent experience across all platforms contributes to more sales and a more satisfying consumer experience.
Selecting a platform feature that puts omnichannel first needs to be a top priority while doing research on features. Being able to sell to clients across whatever channel they operate in is one of the keys to business success, given how much the shopping experience has evolved in the last ten years.
Ability to sell internationally including multi-language support.
Global access to the international marketplace is possible unlike anything that has happened in the past. A person in America can order a goods from China on Amazon or eBay, and it will arrive in a week.
Given how interconnected the globe has become, being able to sell worldwide is essential for long-term, steady growth, and multilingual support is the first step in that process.
Selecting a platform with internationalization capabilities means selecting a service that will expand with you and enable you to sell into new markets whenever you’d like.
Access restriction options.
When it comes to e-commerce, B2B companies are frequently more intricate than B2C companies. Because selling to other businesses frequently involves subtleties and regulations, you must be able to adjust your e-commerce platform to accommodate varying user experiences with buying.
This is why the e-commerce software of your choosing should enable you to individually grant or deny access to specific areas of your website.
For instance, you might wish to:
- Keep your B2C clients in the dark about your bulk price.
- Completely conceal the price (for a number of reasons).
- Completely conceal your B2B website from users who aren’t registered.
Examining your B2B buyers’ experience as well as the diversity of your clientele and offerings will help you decide how best to use these alternatives. First and foremost, you need to confirm that the B2B e-commerce software you select gives you the ability to make these decisions. If not, you’ll encounter problems when expanding these paths later on.
Pricing, payment, and ordering customization and options.
B2B companies have numerous moving components. To establish a single order management and customization system, a number of distinct systems must cooperate, including punchout catalogs, fulfillment centers, and customer management tools.
It is imperative to confirm that your B2B e-commerce platform facilitates transactional possibilities inside a single, cohesive solution. Having many incompatible tools can lead to disarray, misunderstanding, and possible issues with order fulfillment and inventory management.
This is especially important if your company is a hybrid that offers both B2C and wholesale channels, as managing and minimizing channel conflict is essential to your operation.
Additionally, based on their tier, region, or other variables, you may want to offer your finest clients a variety of delivery options.
Heavy focus on user/customer experience.
The user experience is the most crucial factor to consider if organizations want to build an e-commerce website. To improve their experience and make it more pleasurable, B2B clients must connect with your brand and the user experience and user interface (UX/UI) of your website.
To create movies in quantity, you might, for instance, think about automating the videos for your e-commerce products. Since videos are more visually engaging than text, scaling your volume of creatives will probably result in higher conversion rates.
Finding a platform with the necessary customizing options is your best bet as more and more B2B companies shift to an improved UX/UI with optimization possibilities. You should look for a platform that lets you build an online store that is:
- templates with a simple, intuitive design.
- Both branded and customizable.
- adaptable to a range of devices.
- Tools like lead collecting forms, plug-ins for customisation, and rewards systems are simple to install.
For your company, selecting the top B2B e-commerce platform is essential. You may make an informed decision by assessing your unique requirements and taking into account factors like scalability, user-friendliness, integrations, and support. Remember that the ideal platform should not only satisfy your present needs but also develop and expand along with your company as it does. Time and effort put into this choice will pay off in the form of enhanced productivity, happier clients, and long-term success in the cutthroat field of B2B e-commerce.
Appic Softwares is a great option if you’re seeking for an e-commerce development company to assist you with the development of a mobile app. Our skilled development team is here to assist you with any and all of your needs.
So why are you being so circumspect?