When we talk about eCommerce most people think of the online store of their favourite brands, or of Amazon, eBay and so on but, we forget the potential that this tool has for trade between companies, the so-called B2B. In fact, Amazon has a division dedicated to B2B that we’ll talk about later.
When we talk about eCommerce, we forget the potential that this tool has for B2B commerce.
When we think of the best practices in the sector, we all know that user ratings are fundamental, that having a section of related products is essential for incremental sales (upselling) and that it is essential to have a tool to manage online promotions.
Today we have overcome all that, and we have taken a step forward to enter the omnichannel world. That the different sales channels are not watertight, and that they can interact, is fundamental to improve the user experience. But what happens when the users are companies? Why can’t we transfer all those benefits to the business world?
Technology alone will not turn your business into a successful business. First, it is necessary to design a strategy that differentiates you and satisfies your customers, and this is where an eCommerce strategy for the relationship between companies comes into play and becomes a real challenge for all industries. The objective remains the client satisfaction, to get them to repeat, it doesn’t matter that this is a legal entity, there will always be an individual behind it with needs and feelings. It is true that the product, the purchase decision and the negotiations may differ, but in the end, it is the individual who decides.
The goal of B2B eCommerce continues to be customer satisfaction.
What must a B2B eCommerce accomplish?
The ideal for any company is to be able to categorize its clients, be able to assign different prices and/or discounts and payment methods depending on the category, and allow those customers to place orders in a system linked to inventory management, so that we can establish a security stock, if there is no stock but there is a planned entry, the system automatically calculates the expected delivery date and automatically generates the invoice to the customer at the time we designate. And all this without having to communicate to the financial department that the budget has been accepted, that the material has been sent or that the invoice must be generated since the system is in charge automatically.
Buyers expect catalogues, prices and product selection to be filtered based on their needs. For complex B2B businesses, which offer multiple product lines, have extensive catalogues and serve different sectors, personalisation can significantly affect their profits.
The best way to offer this customisation is through the personalised dynamic prices. According to Gartner, 40% of business websites will use price optimisation algorithms, which will be based on parameters such as purchase volume, frequency and CLV – the value of the customer during the relationship-.
According to Gartner, at the end of 2018, 40% of business websites will use price optimisation algorithms.
It is important to know the consumer’s journey and understand which interactions are interrupted or are not very personalised. Provide a satisfying shopping experience and interaction.
But what advantages can eCommerce bring to B2B?
It simply opens a new sales channel, able to interact with my other channels and departments within the company. In the end, this channel provides the possibility of managing existing customers more effectively and generating new customers, expanding our business beyond the area of influence of our sales team. If the electronic commerce channel is linked to the rest of our system, the risk of errors is significantly reduced.
A system such as SuiteCommerce, capable of integrating e-commerce data with the client’s interaction history, provides all team members with the same holistic vision. No matter how exceptional an online store is, if it is not able to offer a comprehensive solution that allows the sales, marketing and customer service teams to cooperate, it can be considered an inefficient solution.
The winners in B2B will be those companies capable of making their teams work together in a way that maximises the efficiency of all the members of the organisation.
The winners in B2B will be those companies capable of making their teams work together in a way that maximises the efficiency of the organisation.
4 reasons why you should get on the B2B eCommerce cart
- The B2B audience is increasingly digital. 89% of companies use the web in their purchase decision process.
- Since its launch in 2015, Amazon Business has achieved more than one million business users. It is just a sample of the potential that this channel offers.
- B2B buyers are becoming younger. Although internet usage figures have been maintained, B2B purchasing decision-makers belonging to the millennial generation, digital consumers, have increased up to 50%. This generation is not willing to waste time in long buying processes, instead, they require 24/7 availability, eCommerce and intuitive interfaces and without the need for human interaction.
- eCommerce on mobile devices is here to stay. The same experience they seek in their private environment is applicable to the professional. This means that very often, purchases are made from mobile devices, taking advantage of travel or downtime between meetings. Designs must adapt to smaller formats and choose eCommerce platforms optimised for mobile.
How to face the digitisation process?
Often, companies decide to get on the technology cart before even being clear about the business model that their company needs. And we are not just talking about marketing, but about the entire management of the company. The process should begin with the preparation of a business plan aligned with the needs of the buyer-company. Technology alone does not guarantee the success of a business, but a consistent business model and a solid business plan.
- What is my business model?
- How can I monetise my product/service?
- What is my USP?
- Loyalty is possible
Only once we have all the answers should we consider which platforms and technologies best meet our expectations and needs.
Sometimes I have encountered cases of clients asking us to incorporate AI or machine learning to their company, but in reality what they should be looking for is not technology, but understanding the patterns of customer behaviour and being able to predict their future needs. For example, it is possible that the solution comes through using these emerging technologies, but the question they must ask is not whether we can give them the technology, but whether we are able to solve their need.
If you do not have your business model defined, the technology will fail.
Are your client’s legal entities? Are you in the process of digitisation? Leave us your opinions and comments, I would love to know your experience.