The B2B (Business-to-Business) model refers to trade between companies, for example, wholesalers and retailers, in contrast to B2C (Business-to-Consumer) which refers to transactions between businesses and end customers.
If you’re a B2B entrepreneur, you’re probably aware of the necessity of an online selling platform. In 2022, having an eCommerce store is not an option – it’s a must-have! According to Statista, by 2023, 17% of sales will occur online, compared to 2019, when the share of digital sales was 13%. Estimations say USA B2B online sales will reach $1.8 trillion in 2023.
It’s challenging to decide how to choose the ideal B2B ecommerce platform since so many options are available. In the following lines, we will explain the importance of choosing an adequate B2B selling platform and its key functionalities to make it easier for you to choose the right one for your company, so keep reading.
How To Choose Which B2B eCommerce Platform Is Right For Your Business?
Before looking for a B2B eCommerce platform, consider your expectations and possibilities. Here are some good questions: for what kind of business transactions will you use it, how much customization will you need, whether you have an IT expert who can handle it, and what your budget is.
To choose the best B2B ecommerce platform keep in mind the following factors:
- Your employees and customers should use the platform with ease. You don’t want your employees to struggle and make mistakes, and you should be aware that customers who can’t manage the platform will go elsewhere.
- The platform you choose should follow your company’s needs and adapt accordingly. Otherwise, once your business grows, you’ll need to re-platform, which can be tiring and expensive.
- Ensure the platform you choose can integrate with other software you use, such as CRM or ERP.
- Getting a B2B eCommerce platform is an investment, but more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. Concentrate on the functionalities and features you need and choose the platform that fits your financial plan.
- The chosen platform should keep your and your customer’s personal information confidential. Security should be one of your top priorities.
When you have the answers, consult with all the teams in your company that will directly use the platform – salespeople, marketing department, and IT. Go with it if you’re all on the same page about a given platform.
Most important B2B eCommerce functionalities
Your platform should have the following functionalities:
1. Business capabilities
A B2B platform is essential for your business. It allows you to take orders and payments and take care of personalized offers and prices for your customers. It makes your business happen.
Here are several functionalities that are significant for the success of your online store:
- The possibility of registering partners (customers) on the portal. When the customer registers on your platform, he gets access to all the relevant information: prices and discounts, delivery conditions, order statuses, delivery deadlines, order history, amount of credit, discounts, etc. The B2B platform answers questions before the customer asks them and saves time for employees who no longer make repetitive phone calls.
- Personalized price lists. Product prices often differ from customer to customer, and a contract usually defines them. When a B2B customer logs in to his profile on the webshop, he must access the catalog with sales conditions that apply to him.
- Ability to calculate discounts. The online sales platform should have discount calculation functionality that will speed up the process and reduce the possibility of error. Customers should easily see the discounts, depending on the ordered quantity, frequency of orders, method of payment, and other factors. The online sales platform should have discount calculation functionality that will speed up the process and reduce the possibility of error.
- Actual stock level. The customer wants to know how many products are available. Integrating the B2B platform with the ERP system gives you an insight into the stock situation; the check is automated.
- Facilitating administrative tasks. The functionality of automatic document processing simplifies the entire process and increases accuracy. A lot of legally necessary documentation accompanies online transactions, which also eases the processing and sending of orders.
2. Attractive design and content
The attractive design of the online store allows the company to present itself. It leaves the impression of a professional, expert, and severe trader. At the same time, the exciting content increases the connection with new and existing customers.
As a B2B seller, you should also highlight all the necessary product information, such as specifications, warranty, high-quality photos, user manuals, and the like. You know your products and customers best, so you should provide all relevant information.
Also, it would be good if there was an option to compare products, which would make the decision-making process even more accessible when buying.
3. Easy Navigation
Complicated and unpredictable navigation can make your customers give up shopping.
The web shop must be easy to use, with intuitively created navigation, categorization, and the ability to filter products by specific characteristics.
Fast search is imperative today, and it must always work flawlessly.
4. Responsive Design
Responsive design is a must. Your content should look great whether your customer reaches your website from a mobile device, desktop PC, or tablet.
Almost 80% of customers use their smartphones to purchase online. Therefore, your site should be mobile-friendly.
5. SEO Opportunities
Facilitated promotion is one of the most significant advantages of B2B. With the proper optimization and digital marketing platforms, such as Google and Facebook Ads, potential customers come to your B2B online shop looking for products from his range.
Platforms that allow quick and easy content management make the promotion even more accessible, as there are numerous ways for merchants to present new products, communicate promotions, stock sales, etc.
6. User-Friendly Platform
Functionalities of B2B eCommerce platform have to be easy to use, both for the merchant and customers.
Opening a B2B online shop means opening a new sales channel with numerous opportunities for you as a merchant and your customers. B2B customers have certain expectations and want to feel privileged. The company’s presentation site is no longer enough. Automating numerous operational jobs is enabled with the correct setting, integration with the ERP system, courier service, and other partners. When the platform works for your goals, you have more time to focus on the further development of your company.
Sophie Douglas is a digital marketing specialist and a journalist based in Columbus, state of Ohio.
Her characters are passionate, innovative, and ambitious. Before becoming a writer for DigitalStrategyOne, she was writing short stories, screenplays, and directing short films.