The world of eCommerce is most commonly associated with online shopping in B2C exchange. In recent years, however, eCommerce has slowly emerged to dominate the B2B industry. As more and more B2B customers begin to use eCommerce platforms to do business, your eCommerce design needs to cater to the requirements of these types of customers.
Before you begin to offer B2B eCommerce online, you need to understand the differences between B2C and B2B businesses. When it comes to your eCommerce website, B2B customers will have needs and requirements that are much business than your every day B2C customer. For example, the regular shopping cart model will not function the way your B2B customers need. Your eCommerce web design should be altered to meet these requirements and deliver a great online store to this class of customers.
B2B eCommerce Features Every Web Design Needs
If you’re ready to jump into the world of B2B eCommerce, or if your current B2B eCommerce store isn’t giving you the results you need, make sure to talk to your eCommerce web design team. Implement these essential eCommerce features to make sure your B2B eCommerce store skyrockets to the success you need to crush your business goals.
1. Personalized Pricing Options
While B2C eCommerce portals use uniform pricing for all customers, B2B businesses work differently. B2B businesses offer different prices for different customers. For example, wholesale purchases receive a higher discount than a normal retail purchase would. B2B businesses also offer bundle pricing for specific combinations of products or for customers who purchase a certain amount at one time. To further complicate matters, some specific customers have different pricing than others.
Obviously, the checkout process involved with B2B accounts is a lot more complicated than B2C accounts. Since the basic shopping cart model does not work for B2B customers, a more advanced checkout process needs to be implemented. Talk to your eCommerce design team about creating an advanced checkout process. But make sure they also keep ease of checkout and reducing shopping cart abandonment in mind.
The checkout process needs to be streamlined. Your eCommerce design team should also accommodate B2B factors such as:
- The option for customers to transfer their shipping charges to corporate delivery accounts with businesses like FedEx, UPS, USPS, etc.
- The ability to pay for orders with different payment methods. For a B2B business, this includes options such as a line of credit, purchase reqs, and trade credit.
- The ability to retrieve payment information from previous orders.
- The ability to reorder a previously placed purchase without having to add all the individual products to the cart again.
All these features don’t just deliver the ultimate B2B user experience, but they also help reduce shopping cart abandonment rates and increase conversions.
3.Bulk Ordering Options
Bulk ordering is a very common practice in B2B exchange. As with any customer, you want to make sure your online store delivers the most effective, time-efficient purchase process for your customers. That’s why you need to include bulk ordering forms to keep your customers from having to search through your entire online catalog to find their products.
Bulk ordering forms should be included on your B2B eCommerce website and offer the option to enter part numbers or SKUs to add products. From there, customers should be able to easily change the quantity for each item they want to purchase. You should also offer an easy transition from the bulk order form page to the checkout page to further simplify the process.
4.Bulk Discounts for Wholesale
As mentioned earlier, many B2B customers receive discounts for products that are purchased in bulk quantities. Items that are frequently purchased in large quantities for bulk discounts can be listed in cases, boxes, packs, or even pallets. This simplifies the process for both the customer and yourself. Customers can add these products in bulk with one click instead of having to change each quantity. While it seems like a minor task, offering these small amenities can make a big difference when it comes to customer satisfaction.
You can also offer discount tiers based on the number of products your B2B customer is purchasing. For example, customers who purchase a carton of products will get a small discount than those who purchase a pallet. Your eCommerce store needs to be able to accommodate these discounts seamlessly.
5. Enhanced Mobile Experience
As you’ve probably heard, mobile responsiveness is one of the most crucial elements of design if you want to find success for your business online. B2B eCommerce websites are no different. As more and more B2B customers turn to their mobile devices to search for business products and complete orders, having a mobile-friendly site is mandatory. If you don’t, your customers won’t have good user experience and will likely go elsewhere with their business.
When it comes to B2B eCommerce mobile responsiveness, you need to make sure you include important features such as:
- The ability for customers to fill out forms using stored information from their device. The auto-complete feature gives B2B customers the option to use pre-stored information to complete common fields such as name, address, and phone number.
- A clear and responsive call-to-action button that allows customers to access important functions easily, like contacting the customer support team.
- Optimized pages that have minimal, organized, and clutter-free design. This allows pages to load quickly which is essential to B2B customers.
6.Flexible Payment Options
While B2C business requires customers to pay up front, B2B business doesn’t always work that way. Very much like the old days where customers could run a line of credit with businesses, B2B customers often use lines of credit to make purchases. That’s why flexible payments are necessary when it comes to your eCommerce features. This only enhances the overall user experience.
In the world of B2B, if you don’t offer flexible payment options, you are probably going to miss out on a ton of business. You should still offer the normal payment options like credit card processing and PayPal, but you should also add in the ability to add it to their line of credit, create a purchase order, etc. Customers should be able to easily pull up their order number and complete their payment, even if the actual order was processed at an earlier date.
7. Real-Time Inventory Updates
Real-time updates are also very important in B2B business. This allows you to offer your customers the most accurate information at all times. When they log onto their eCommerce portal, customers should be able to see real-time updates when it comes to your inventory. The worst thing you can have in B2B eCommerce is a customer who completes an order then later finds out you don’t have the products they need. This won’t just cause them to lose trust in your brand, but it will also lead to lost revenue in repeat sales and future customers.
Real-time inventory updates give customers a clear understanding of what products you have in stock and what they can expect to get when they complete an order. This also helps your business to streamline operations and avoid the chaos created when orders are processed requesting inventory you no longer have available.
8.Advanced Customization Options
Many B2B eCommerce businesses who have the potential for success actually end up failing because they don’t allow room for customization. Your B2B eCommerce store should not be created using a standard template. You need to be able to offer advanced customization options to meet the needs of your clients. If you want to get the most of your eCommerce B2B business, you need to be able to tailor customer accounts to meet their specific needs.
Talk to your eCommerce design team about choosing an eCommerce platform that can provide the functionality you specifically need to meet your customer requirements. When you provide complete customization options to your customers, you will gain lifelong customers who bring you business time and time again.
9.Live Customer Support
Live chat is another crucial element to your B2B eCommerce success. This helps ensure that you boost your conversion rates to the highest possible level. When it comes to B2B, you need more than just a contact us page. Your eCommerce portal should provide customers with a “request a free quote” form for their convenience. You should also offer live-chat options to provide clients with real-time customer support as they need it.
Studies have shown that live chat can help increase leads by up to 8 times more than websites that don’t offer live support. When you provide enhanced customer support features in your eCommerce design, your customers will benefit from an overall amazing customer experience.
If you have emerged into the world of B2B eCommerce, you’ve already learned about the amazing benefits B2B business can bring. If you want to be successful, you need to make sure your B2B eCommerce web design includes the necessary features to meet the requirements of your customers. The better the experience you create, the better the business your customers will bring. For a successful B2B eCommerce store that is set up to sustain your business goals and move you forward into the future, make sure your eCommerce design has these 9 essential features. Your customers and your business will be sure to thank you!