B2B businesses have traditionally treated ecommerce as a nice extra, but many have not made this their main priority. However, many businesses have found this to be a mistake, and have adopted many of the B2B ecommerce trends that B2C businesses traditionally made the most of.
The products and services B2B businesses offer can be much more complex, and ecommerce wasn’t a suitable venture for this.
But technology has come a long way, and ecommerce platforms are now increasingly suitable for B2B purposes, with many features and customisations that makes ecommerce a fundamental part of any B2B brand’s success.
B2B ecommerce has always traditionally been behind B2C ecommerce, but that’s all changing.
B2B brands have realised just how important efficiency and convenience is for their customers.
For instance, mobile-friendly shopping is still key for wholesalers and other forms of B2B stores.
Many businesses will need to make purchases or orders when they aren’t on a desktop computer, and will go to their mobile device.
The research will often take place on a mobile device, whether on a mobile phone or tablet device. By providing a great mobile ecommerce experience, B2B brands have seen just how important the seamless shopping experience is from the research to the purchasing stage.
Open up to a Global Market
Many businesses only focus on selling products or services to the country they are in, but more B2B countries are finding that ecommerce gives them the perfect opportunity to open up their market on a global scale.
This means more B2B businesses can focus on more customers than their existing client base, with the potential to appeal to thousands more international customers.
Nowadays it is much easier to offer your products or services in local currencies with the preferred payment methods for that region.
The customer experience can also be tailored in order to comply with any regulations or other privacy and security concerns.
B2C and B2B blends
B2B businesses are offering more consumer-like buying experiences. At the end of the day, those purchasing B2B products or services are consumers themselves, and are now used to interactions with B2C ecommerce platforms such as Amazon and otherwise.
This means everyone has become accustomed to a particular way of working online, and so B2B experiences need to adapt to suit.
Even for complex services, products or software offerings, they will require a simple and efficient experience to give them the necessary information in order to make an informed decision and purchase.
Personalised Ecommerce Experiences
Personalisation is big business, and allows you to turn data into customer insights that help to drive sales.
Machine learning is becoming a big thing, and this brings a host of new ways to market to your customers.
Whether this is customising the shopping experience by offering relevant products or services, personalising through placing names or personal details on the site, or through marketing messages, it can really help in generating more sales for your business and provides a competitive advantage.
Ecommerce and Marketing Automation
The B2B buying process can often take longer than B2C, and marketing automation can take a lot of the strain out of nurturing potential customers.
Marketing automation allows you to capture lead information, store it in a CRM, and continually market messages and emails to customers without you needing to manually reach out.
Being able to generate content that gets sent to customers on a particular timescale or due to particular actions can make a big difference to B2B ecommerce.
Improved Customer Experiences
B2C brands have long used more intuitive navigations and designs that are customer-centric in order to provide the best experience possible, whereas B2B brands may have thought they can get away with a largely outdated experience. This is no longer the case.
Many customers will expect the same experience on a B2B website for work as they will on a B2C ecommerce store they would use in their spare time.
B2B brands are utilising more methods to enhance the overall experience of customers, whether that’s by supplying guides and descriptive product details, or through content such as high-end photography, audio or video guides.
As for the user experience when it comes to shopping, B2B brands are also realising that efficiency is key for the on-site search and checkout process.
Customers should have to take the fewest number of clicks possible to go from landing on a home page through to purchasing a product – so it’s essential your navigation, on-site search and checkout process is as streamlined as it can be. This also helps to ensure fewer abandoned checkouts.
B2B Ecommerce Stores for Sales Support
Many customers may choose to ring up instead of placing an online order, so many B2B brands are making sure this option is visible and simple to complete.
For returning customers, the ecommerce platform can be a great tool to encourage repeat purchases, while the sales team work on generating new customers.
A B2B ecommerce store can be a critical part of the buying process, and it’s important to consider the typical customer journey and how your ecommerce experience can best benefit new and existing customers. All the while, your sales team can step in at suitable points to cross or up-sell particular services or products.