4 Elements of a Successful B2B E-commerce Strategy

e-commerce strategy
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Business customers look quite differently at online purchasing. Their decisions are logical and practical. It all depends on which provider ticks the most checkboxes on their list, who they can trust and who can accommodate them flexibly.

In order develop a successful strategy a B2B ecommerce website should concentrate on providing as much useful information and customer service as possible in as short period of time. It is necessary to take care of the customers even after the conversion process as they are the ones that will act as ambassadors for your brand. So, let us look at a few elements of B2B e-commerce strategy.

 

Advanced Configurability
You need advanced configurability of pricing options and end user capabilities, as well as complex product and service combinations for quoting and ordering.

Pricing options, contract terms, multiple payment options, purchase authorization rules and approval workflows, product portfolios, product configuration and marketing create a complicated online selling hierarchy. This results in a need for unique processes and technology capabilities.

The B2B channel must have advanced functionality to support sophisticated pricing and product configurations. This includes business rules and workflows that dictate specific pricing for individual customers, approval processes and governance rules in order to execute the sales and marketing strategy across all channels.

Moreover, authorized users should have access to the system and be empowered to set business rules by segment and channels without IT involvement, to make certain that sales representatives do not spend excessive time on internal processes and instead can focus on current and new customer sales.

 

Personalization

Gartner predicts that by 2018 B2B organizations with effectual personalization on their e-commerce sites will outsell by 30% their competitors without the same level of personalization.

The great thing about B2B is that users are used to logging in. When they log in, you know who they are. You know what company they work for, where they are located, their position, and the industry that they are in.  B2B companies should attempt to make the logged in experience richer in the following ways.

  • Create a custom catalog based on their terms, condition and contract.
  • Consider contract pricing and volume pricing.
  • Ensure that search and navigation are in context of their product visibility.
  • Segment content on the homepage according to their industry.
  • Offer a bulk or quick order form for rapid ordering.
  • Payment of invoices and other Accounts Payable activities.
  • Segment by role such as buyers, approvers.

You can even use targeted email marketing to create incredible opportunities for your business.

For example, Unomy specializes in building lists of targeted prospects with the complete profiles of companies, their names and contact details of real decision makers so that you can know about company in seconds and reach out to them in a personalized and informed manner.

 

Enrich the Commercial Process

Expand the traditional shopping cart approach so that B2B e-commerce solutions consider speed and quality throughout the end-to-end commercial process. This permits businesses to minimize the amount of time spent on menial tasks and offers customers information in a more comprehensive and suitable way.

For example, a company provides a wide range of products to their marketing audience like teachers and educators. They allow customers to explore possibilities in self-service mode by using online configuration. This results in more informed customers, who feel comfortable finalizing orders when speaking with sales representatives. In this way, e-commerce does not replace the personal touch that comes with helping and assuring customers, but simply enriches it.

 

Leverage an Integrated Platform

An integrated B2B solution enhances the customer experience with bill of material (BOM) level specifics on products, visibility into the supply chain, giving multi-channel order history, integrated order processing and on-demand reporting.

An automated product feed into your internal systems and online product catalog decreases the time investment to provide or update your product lines, while an automated inventory feed allows for improved customer experience with product availability, potentially reducing time-consuming backorder issues.

In an effort to improve the customer experience and increase the CLV, manufacturers are starting to offer related products, which are normally purchased together, by partnering with other suppliers and drop shipping product as part of the same transaction. Having an extendable and integrated platform allows you to subscribe to product and inventory feeds, as well as automate order processing and thereby reduce the impact on the manufacturer to almost nothing.

 

Follow the above four mentioned strategies for your B2B e-commerce site in order to develop a site that is simple, easy-to-navigate, instinctive and beautiful, to help maintain long-term customers.

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Joydeep Bhattacharya

Joydeep Bhattacharya is the author of the popular SEO blog, SEOsandwitch.com and has been a digital marketing evangelist for the past 8 years. He is a certified Google Adwords and Analytics expert who helps brands take their online presence to the next level.