Key characteristics for a B2B e-commerce website
Very often, when we hear the words "online shop", this creates the images of different e-commerce platforms which sell products such as shoes, jewelry, stationery, or grocery stores. If it is unquestionable that the B2C companies compose a very important part of e-commerce shops, B2B portals slowly emerge to dominate the online sales.
Today, more and more customers of B2B are making their purchases online. A study from Forrester indicates that more than 74% of the B2B customers make some online researches before buying something. This proves the everyday increasing levels of B2B portals.
Having said that, the needs and requirements of the customers are very different for B2C and B2B enterprises. Therefore, B2B enterprises should change the way that they design and display their online shops to their customers. The standard model of the shopping cart does not work for the B2Bs.
Here, in this article, you can easily find a list of the essential functions to create a successful B2B e-commerce website.
1. Customized pricing
Unlike the B2C portals that have uniform pricing for all the customers, the B2B enterprises propose different pricing depending on the client or the quantity that is bought. The wholesale purchases offer you higher discounts compared with smaller amount of purchases.
In addition, B2B enterprises offer group prices for specific products, quantity discounts, etc.
Your site should be designed to display the right price for different customers. Once a particular customer logs in, he must be able to access the price for him, depending on the quantity ordered and other discounts.
2. Advanced Payment Method
We agree that the process for B2B orders is more complicated than B2Cs. This means that the shopping chart model should be the most appropriate. Your e-commerce website design company needs to be able to design your site to make it easier to pay and reduce the basket desertion.
The payment process must not only be streamlined, but also help to remember some other factors such as:
- • Customers must be able to transfer their shipping costs to their delivery partners accounts (such as FedEx, USP, etc.)
- • Customers must be able to retrieve their payment information from previous orders.
- • They must have the possibility to pay for orders through different payment methods such as a line of credit, a purchase request, commercial credit, etc.
- • It should be possible to repeat an order previously placed and not to research individual products again.
3. Wholesale purchases
Very often, B2B customers place large orders. In such cases, searching for all the products in your online catalog is boring and time-consuming. To simplify the task, you can provide your consumers with a form for a bundled order.
When designing a group order form, make sure that the customers can add products only with the part number or the SKU. In addition, they should be able to specify the desired amount for each item. Once the bundled order form is completed, it should take the customer directly to the payment page.
4. Minimum amount of order
This is another feature that makes a difference between B2C e-commerce websites and B2B portals. Very often, B2B companies sell products only in quantities of wholesale. Customers must order a specific minimum amount of order so it can be completed.
5. Degressive discounts for the wholesale purchases
B2B customers often make bulk purchases. In this way, instead of listing products that are frequently sold as individual items, you can also list them as packages, boxes, cartons, or even pallets. This will make things easier for the customer as well for you too. If a customer is looking for nails, he can easily add them to the basket in the form of a box instead of 100 individual nails.
In addition, B2B companies offer different levels of discounts to customers depending on the number of products ordered. For example, offering the same discount to a customer who buys 10 air filters and a buyer of 1000 air filters makes no sense. Your online store must be able to accept different discounts depending on the quantity ordered.
6. Restricted access
Some B2B companies only allow pre-registered customers or resellers to order products from their online stores. For example, if your business only sells through a network of resellers, your website should be designed so that only authorized resellers can access it.
When choosing an e-commerce platform, make sure it has the ability to protect with a password your entire site and restrict access to customers.
You can also restrict access to specific parts of the site to non-registered customers. This means that the home page and product line are accessible to everyone, but only authorized retailers can buy from your online store.
7. Improved mobile experience
Today, more and more B2B customers are looking for professional products on their mobile. As mentioned above, almost 94% agree that they start looking for commercial services or products on their smartphones. This means that mobile-friendly sites are no longer an additional feature. They are essential to provide your customers with the best user experience.
When designing a responsive mobile e-commerce store, you need to look for advanced features such as:
- • Auto-entry – this allows your clicks to fill out forms using information already stored on their device. This way, they don’t have to enter repetitive keys to get common information such as name, address, email address, phone numbers, etc.
- • Clear call to action button – with this button, customers can contact your customer support team with just one click.
Make sure your site has fast loading times and offers an optimized experience on al screens.
8. Intuitive and user-friendly searches
One of the best ways to increase the conversion rate on the website is to improve the search functionality of your e-commerce portal. Customers should be able to locate the items they are looking for without having to go through your entire list of products.
This means that you need more than just a search bar on your website. Here are some improved search features to provide to your site:
- • Search filters – customers should be able to locate a product or refine default search results by varying attributes such as product size, color, availability, etc.
- • Long-haul searches – your e-commerce portal must be able to manage and interpret long-trailed semantic searches. Studies show that the dropout rate decreases significantly (40% to 2%) with a semantic approach than research.
- • Auto-entry – while this may seem like a simple feature, it does indeed have huge impacts. This not only saves consumers time, but also makes them buy other products that they haven’t thought of buying before.
9. Flexible payments
In the B2C world, getting paid immediately before processing order is very important. B2B companies, on the other hand, do not operate that way. There is a stable relationship between the company and the customer and very often companies give their customers a line of credit. This leads to the need for flexible payment options.
Flexible payments add to the overall user experience. While different payment methods are very convenient for B2C online stores, they are extremely critical for B2B stores. While offering several payment methods, be sure to provide options for offline modes as well as the usual ones such as credit cards, transfers, etc.
An example of an offline payment method is to complete the order and then allow the customer to pay for it using the order number within 30 days of the end of the transaction.
10. Available customer support
To make sure you increase conversion rates, you need to provide more than a “Contact Us” page on your e-commerce portal. You can add the “Ask for a free quote” form or add a live chat service to provide your customer with real-time customer support.
11. Real-time inventory updates
This is an indispensable feature of all B2B e-commerce portals. Only with real-time inventory updates, you can provide your customers with the most accurate information.
If a consumer completes an order, only to find that you don’t have the required products, they not only lose confidence in your brand, but you also end up losing potential repeated sales and even the customer.
Real-time inventory updates have far-reaching implications beyond your online box. You get a clear picture of your overall inventory and this helps streamline your operations, especially if you run a business model just in time.
12. Advanced personalization
Very often, B2B electronic stores fail because they are rigid and designed on the basis of a standard model. Your e-commerce store should be tailored to the specific needs of your business and not the other way around if you want to take advantage of your e-commerce business.
This starts with choosing the right e-commerce platform that meets your specific needs.
The launch of a successful B2B e-commerce store is not possible overnight. You need to choose the right solution and provide your customers with advanced and additional features to make sure that it works the way you want it to work.
While this list of B2B e-commerce themes is essential for your business to stand out from your competitors, some of them may not apply to your industry. Make sure you choose a reputable B2B platform solution that understands your business and offers you the best solution.