B2B eCommerce can be full of opportunities unless you make some detrimental mistakes.
The B2B eCommerce market is on the rise and is expected to account for more than 13 percent of all B2B sales by 2021, thereby overtaking retail eCommerce in terms of units sold and money spent.
With the help of a successful B2B eCommerce platform, your business can benefit in the following ways:
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- By earning new customers
- By strengthening consumer relationships
- By encouraging customer loyalty
However, the growth and success in B2B eCommerce are less predictive, and you have to take the right steps at the right time to avoid potential downfalls. If you are contemplating launching a B2B eCommerce platform, here are the five mistakes you don’t want to make.
5 B2B eCommerce Platform Mistakes to Avoid
1. Not offering customary B2B payment options
You are already on the back foot if the only payment option you are providing on your eCommerce site is an HTML form to enter card numbers. B2B purchases can consist of issuing purchase orders, which will require some sort of available credit.
Purchasing professionals may also prefer paying with a physical check via the postal service or an electronic check via an ACH (automatic clearing house).
Such buyers can also expect terms of 30-120 days. And, as the owner, it is your job to satisfy these payment expectations as they are crucial for your business. If you want your B2B eCommerce platform to be a feasible channel, it should allow customary B2B payment options.
Your store must do business in a way that makes it easy for your customers to purchase from you. In certain instances, you might also need to create customer groups within your eCommerce platform that enable you to provide essential payment options to all of your B2B shoppers.
2. Not providing a B2C-like shopping experience
Online B2B sellers such as Amazon and Jet have trained your B2B customers to shop online. The buyer ordering from you during the day goes back home and orders from these retailers on the weekends. So, they enjoy the best-quality B2C experience, including fast fulfillment and responsive customer care, and they expect your B2B eCommerce platform to provide a similar or better service.
All in all, your prospective buyers will expect you to offer a B2B purchasing experience that features the best aspects of B2C eCommerce buying as well.
3. Not having the buy-in of your sales reps
Your sales reps were driving your organization before your B2B eCommerce platform. Now, if you launch an eCommerce site without taking the support of the sales reps, the performance of your store will be adversely affected. If your sales reps feel threatened by your eCommerce, they will encourage their customers to avoid buying from the site and stick to the previous method.
Not only will this tamper your store performance, but it will also limit you from analyzing if your platform is working or not. Most importantly, you will not be able to leverage the most value from online shopping.
So, you should make sure your sales reps are not against but up for your eCommerce store and act as its advocates. You can commission them on B2B orders, even if they are placed online. Also, train them to train your customers to use your B2B eCommerce platform and reward them in the form of incentives to drive them to encourage buyers to place orders online.
4. You are not providing good product information
Just like B2C sites, your B2B eCommerce platform should also have customer-friendly product descriptions, specifications, and titles, along with high-quality, professional photography. You cannot get lousy with your product and data presentation, as the internal descriptions your company has are not sufficient.
The best B2B eCommerce platforms and sites provide detail product information that helps customers make buying decisions with ease. For instance, you should give no less than these pieces of information when applicable.
- Model or part number
- Case pack
- UPC, ISBN, or similar
- Cube value
- Freight class
- Documentation, like datasheets or MSDS
- Visually appealing photography
When you provide so many details about a product every time, your customers will not find the need to call or mail your sales team with queries, which will simplify the buying process. In conclusion, excellent product data makes it easier to perform business with your company, both offline and online.
5. Your store does not support your business complexities
B2B businesses are way more complicated than B2C, as they can have complicated selling rules, such as order minimums, customer-specific pricing, promotions, and more. Several businesses encounter this problem of figuring out in the later stages of their store that their B2B eCommerce platform does not support the required complexities.
By this time, most businesses cannot go back and have to settle with abandoning their selling rules. They either adopt a simple approach or edit orders manually once they are placed. Doing so simply eliminates the purpose of an efficient, automated eCommerce site.
There are several other mistakes that can significantly impact the performance of your B2B eCommerce platform, such as:
- Not providing customer-specific pricing
- Your store has a poor buyer adoption; no one uses it.
- Not having a robust website that loads fast, is easy to navigate, pleasing to browse, and optimized for search
- Not integrating your B2B site with other systems
- Your eCommerce site and mobile app are not linked to each other.
- Not tracking proper analytics
- Trying to develop a custom B2B eCommerce site
Making mistakes is a part of learning; however, some mistakes can lead you to lose a hefty amount of money. Thus, spend an ample amount of time evaluating your business and potential customers before rolling your store.
The best way to avoid the errors discussed above is to analyze your competitors’ platforms and see what they are doing. There is no harm in waiting for a month to launch a great B2B eCommerce platform instead of hurriedly starting an average store.