Everything You Need to Know about B2B eCommerce
August 16, 2022 By Yana Persky
If you’re selling to other businesses, then B2B eCommerce may be the future of your company. B2B ecommerce helps to revolutionize your sales strategy and allows your business to grow exponentially by allowing customers to purchase from you with greater ease and convenience than ever before. While B2B ecommerce may look complex at first glance, it’s actually quite easy to set up and maintain once you know what’s involved in the process.
What is B2B eCommerce?
While often associated with online stores for businesses and individuals, e-commerce has actually been around since the early 1990s. Simply put, e-commerce refers to business transactions that take place over an electronic network. Early forms of e-commerce included both mail order sales and service providers who were able to accept credit card payments online.
Nowadays, e-commerce can be accessed through a multitude of devices such as desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets – giving buyers an unprecedented amount of access to shop online.
In short, e-commerce is about buying and selling goods and services over digital networks (i.e., via websites). The most common types of e-commerce include:
• B2C (business-to-consumer)
• C2C (consumer-to-consumer)
• B2B (business-to-business)
• C2B (consumer to business)
The focus here is on B2B commerce which involves companies selling products or services directly to other companies, rather than individual consumers who buy something online using their credit cards.
B2B eCommerce vs B2C eCommerce
Not every ecommerce platform is designed for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions. In fact, many are actually geared towards businesses looking to make a purchase from other businesses (aka B2B). So, how do you know if your ecommerce software is meant for retail or wholesale transactions?
Typically, both kinds of platforms have their own suite of features that cater to specific types of purchases. If you’re still wondering which option is right for your business, here are a few pointers that may help you decide:
Are there pre-determined prices in place? If so, your platform likely caters more toward larger purchases and wholesale exchanges. If not, it’s probably built with retail in mind.
Does it require an account to use? Many B2B platforms require users to create an account before making a purchase—which means there’s likely some kind of vetting process involved.
Can it integrate with ERP & 3rd-party services like shipping providers and payment gateways? The more bells and whistles available on your ecommerce platform, the better equipped you’ll be when it comes time to start selling online.
Top 3 Challenges Facing Suppliers in the Modern Era
1. How do I sell more of my products online?
2. How do I market my brand digitally?
3. How can I get digital experience talent into my organization?
If you are a supplier, then you should certainly be familiar with these challenges. The good news is that in 2022, there is more opportunity than ever before for manufacturers and distributors to reach out to B2B customers directly through digital channels and gain exposure they might not have had previously. One of those opportunities is ecommerce, which has become one of today’s most effective sales tools. But why would suppliers want to use it? Let’s dive deeper into what B2B ecommerce means, and how it could benefit your business.
The Benefits of B2B eCommerce
Selling your products online is an excellent way to attract a broad audience and generate more sales. With ecommerce software and services, you can sell more efficiently than ever before. Here are just a few benefits:
Perhaps most importantly, buying through a self-service portal gives your customers access to product information that can include images, smart filters, descriptions, pricing, promotions—all crucial components in building trust between buyer and seller.
B2B eCommerce provides opportunities for greater efficiency and robustness at all levels of operations. With big data at their fingertips, businesses can make smarter decisions about what products work best for them, and have a greater understanding of what their customers are doing at all times; making themselves both more successful and less vulnerable. Repetitive tasks that were previously carried out manually can now be automated to be carried out at speeds faster than ever before, while also cutting down on errors and mistakes.
5 Tips when Choosing a B2B eCommerce Solution
1. Integrate with your existing tech ecosystem: Before signing on with a B2B ecommerce solution, make sure it’s compatible with your current business applications and technology infrastructure.
2. Choose a partner you can trust: If you already have an established ecommerce operation, find out if they are committed to ongoing development and support before deciding on a platform.
3. Maintain control over your changing business requirements: Your business priorities are always changing, and you need to be able to react quickly. Be sure that the best B2B eCommerce solution is configurable enough and meets these requests for easy changes at every turn.
4. Make sure you are offered your own branded app to boost brand identity and improve customer loyalty
5. Don’t forget about reporting: While most B2B ecommerce solutions offer analytics tools, some may not offer enough data points or detailed reports. Make sure any software you choose provides information you need to track performance.