eCommerce is not the unknown sales channel it once was for B2B businesses, but there are still a lot of companies that either don’t appreciate the revenue potential a digital sales channel can provide, or don’t know how to get started.
Let’s cover the benefits of eCommerce for B2B, general marketing practices, explore a variety of strategies that could benefit your B2B business right now, and finally cover several overlooked advantages of using eCommerce for your B2B.
Benefits of eCommerce for B2B
Increased Revenue Potential + Valuable Data
B2B eCommerce enables businesses to reach a wider audience and sell products 24/7, resulting in increased sales, while also providing opportunity for upselling and cross-selling.
Opening a wider sales channel provides more data to understand customer behavior and tailor offerings to their needs and preferences.
Improved Customer Experience
A user-friendly website, mobile compatibility, and a streamlined checkout process greatly enhances the customer experience. Further improvements should offer personalized experiences, such as customized pricing and catalogs, to build customer loyalty. The digital word of mouth experience travels further and faster than ever, so put it to work for your business.
B2B eCommerce can reduce and offset costs associated with traditional sales channels, such as sales personnel, brick-and-mortar locations, and marketing materials, and with the right cart integrations, a B2B company can manage all shopping platforms into a central hub, and still keep accurate inventory counts.
A digital presence for any business expands your reach beyond the local market and out to customers worldwide. This can be particularly beneficial for small businesses or businesses in niche industries that may have a limited local customer base.
Marketing Practices for B2B eCommerce:
A clear value proposition is how businesses differentiate themselves from competitors and attract customers, often focusing on unique products or services, exceptional customer service, or providing hard to ignore pricing. Include this in your eCommerce efforts.
Content Marketing Strategy
Developing a clear marketing strategy is not an overnight endeavor, but will serve to establish your business as thought leaders in their industry and build brand awareness. These efforts typically include creating blog posts, whitepapers, or videos that provide valuable information to customers, while also driving prospects to your site.
Social Media Engagement
Don’t let social media be “just for kids”, these platforms allow businesses to find their customers where they already “live”. Social media helps businesses engage with customers and build relationships, while providing additional spaces to promote products or services and drive traffic to the website.
Optimizing for SEO can improve search engine rankings and drive more traffic to the website. This can include keyword research, optimizing website content, and building backlinks. Again, the goal with most efforts is to bring attention to your business and offerings.
We’ve touched on customers as it relates to their experience, but implementing customer feedback identifies areas for business improvement and enhances the customer experience. This can be as simple as collecting feedback through surveys or reviews and using that feedback to make changes to the website or products.
Integration with Other Systems
Integration with other systems such as ERP and CRM can enable seamless operations and improve efficiency. This can include automating processes such as inventory management, order fulfillment, and customer service.
Strategies for Success in B2B eCommerce:
Make it User-Friendly
A customer’s ease-of-use for our business sites has shown to have multiple benefits, like enhanced customer experience, increased sales, and even better organic search rankings. The less friction for a customer in their journey to a purchase, the more often those purchases will occur.
Everyone is on their phones, and the majority of web traffic now finds their needs through their device. B2B Businesses should ensure that their website is optimized for mobile devices and that the checkout or quoting process is easy to complete on a mobile device.
Effective inventory management is crucial for ensuring products are in stock and reducing fulfillment errors. Businesses should use inventory management software to track inventory levels and automate reordering processes.
Pricing and Discount Structures
Implementing customer-specific pricing and discount structures can enhance the customer experience and build loyalty. This can include offering volume discounts or pricing based on customer order history.
Speaking of discounts… bulk ordering capabilities can streamline the purchasing process for customers and reduce costs for your business. This method includes offering bulk ordering discounts or providing tools for customers to easily reorder frequently purchased items.
Your data is vital in understanding customer behavior and optimizing business operations. Your businesses should collect and analyze to generate reports on customer preferences, purchase history, and website traffic to identify trends and make data-driven decisions. This can also help businesses tailor their marketing efforts and improve the effectiveness of their campaigns.
Overlooked Benefits of B2B eCommerce
This item is so important that it bears repeating: Data analysis is crucial for understanding customer behavior and optimizing business operations. Businesses should collect and analyze data on customer preferences, purchase history, and website traffic to identify trends and make data-driven decisions. Let your data guide your marketing efforts and improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Multiple channels means multiple forms of revenue that live at the edge of typical eCommerce considerations, such as partner programs, vendor portals, online marketplaces, even hunting route sales with a goal to convert them to online sales.
Integration with Shipping Carriers
When you team up with shipping providers, you can streamline the fulfillment process and reduce shipping costs. This can include automatically generating shipping labels and tracking information, as well as providing customers with real-time shipping updates.
Effective order management is crucial for ensuring orders are fulfilled accurately and on time. B2B Businesses need order management software to track orders and manage inventory levels, as well as automate fulfillment and shipping processes to ensure they remain competitive.
Faster Strategy Turnaround
When a B2B Business establishes their eCommerce presence and process, marketing changes and trends are easier to meet and adopt, from adding landing pages to adjusting brand positioning.
Partnerships and Collaborations
By building out your network you can enable your business to expand offerings and reach new customers. This often includes partnering with complementary businesses or industry associations to offer bundled products or solutions.
B2B eCommerce is constantly evolving, and businesses must stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies to remain competitive. This can include adopting new technologies, improving the customer experience, and continuously refining business operations.
B2B eCommerce can provide so many benefits that finding the right solutions for your specific industry and business can feel almost overwhelming, but the nearly endless benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks.
Review how ECommerce solutions can benefit your B2B business, and when you’re ready to find a solution that fits your business, get started here!