Recently, Forbes reported that B2B eCommerce sales in the United States (as predicted) would top about $1.1 trillion and it should account for as much as 12.1% of B2B sales in the United States by the year 2020. This is approximately four times the current size of the B2C eCommerce market. Today, the B2B eCommerce market is still in an infancy stage, where most companies are still trying their best to figure out the best strategies and basic development options.
Driven by the higher expectations of buyers, most business-to-business companies make technological advances in terms of tools to improve their B2B eCommerce sites. The fact remains that not just consumers expect a streamlined shopping experience online.
Nonetheless, a successful B2B eCommerce website will not run like a typical consumer-shopping site. Usually, B2B selling involves some complex processes, including configurable product options, pricing tiers, and special terms of payments. On the downside, not all B2B eCommerce platform support such features and sometimes, this leaves merchants on a search for an expensive app or plug-in.
To help you in what exactly you should look for an eCommerce B2B platform, here you will learn about some features of such platforms, but first let’s look at why an eCommerce platform is so important.
Why is a B2B eCommerce Platform so Significant?
Actually, B2B eCommerce is something that has been around for the past 20 years. On the other hand, B2B eCommerce experiences are not up to today’s standards that B2C set. Today, B2B leaders also realize that there is a huge opportunity in B2B eCommerce.
Fundamentally, eCommerce platforms are more like the backbone of retail enterprises online, which allow the front-end and the back-end to work efficiently. B2B platforms are more like the girders of the entire eCommerce building and they provide a rigid structure on which B2B and B2C enterprise receive support.
According to most surveys, leaders in customer service experience also note that eCommerce platforms remain a digital investment area that is critically a lot more important for business sales. Just like most B2C companies, it is necessary for B2B executives to where their buyers are and they must go online. In order to succeed online, businesses will need to focus on costumer experiences. Keep in mind that the B2B eCommerce platform you choose also has an overall effect on the type of experience you can deliver; this is why it is important to make the best decision.
Choosing a Suitable Platform
When questioning the different B2B eCommerce platforms, here are some of the areas you should focus on. B2B selling is one that is quite different compared to B2C. Most businesses have certain requirements and complexities when it comes to selling to different businesses. Keep in mind that the best platform should meet different special needs.
Look out for functionality features such as:
#1 Responsive Design
Most customers online who shop across different devices might find it easier to check for prices on their tablet or phone, but then they will have to complete the purchase on their desktop. Note that your platform has to accommodate different buyers, so it should render well across different devices such as iPads. This also makes it a lot easier for your buyers to browse through and complete purchases.
#2 Pricing for Specific Customers
Keep in mind that the need of any B2B eCommerce is to be able to cater to the needs of all their customers, in terms of pricing specific items for sale. However, unlike B2C, the prices often vary based on customers. Your B2B platform will be able to provide you with the ability to list various prices for all your customers.
#3 Proper Integration
Along with type and functionality, your eComemrce platform has to integrate well with different systems. This all ensures that your offline and online channels work together harmoniously. For businesses, integration enables efficient selling through multichannel and provides all customers with an appropriate experience. Some also integrate your systems, such as OrderCircle to enable centralized inventory management and ordering.
#4 Shipment Tracking
Good B2B eCommerce software can help businesses to keep a track on their order time, the wholesale products people order, the costs and the location. It allows different inventory management in the simplest and well-organized manner.
Usually, PCI compliance for eCommerce sellers is important. It helps to ensure that you safeguard your entire customer’s credit card payment information at times when they make purchases. Depending on the type of platform, this could add into your responsibilities. However, for other hosted solutions, the seller in charge makes sure that the PCI compliance works. You will need to ensure that your payment meets the standards of the industry.
Choosing an appropriate eCommerce platform for your business often takes a lot of research and time. You make an investment in your business so take your time to choose the best options for long-term mental peace.