Since the late 1990s, companies have been using the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system to transport purchase orders and similar structured data digitally, representing, if you will, a kind of B-to-B ecommerce.
Separately, some B-to-B sellers have established sites on which business customers can make purchases as though they were searching on a business-to-consumer website. Examples of the newer variant comprise Grainger, Vistaprint, Uline, Stickercutting, and Amazon Supply. This category of B-to-B ecommerce may enjoy the maximum growth and provide the most opportunity.
AmazonSupply.com allows consumers to buy directly from producers and distributors.
There are at least four major points that a company thinking of conducting a B-to-B ecommerce site may wish to think about.
1. Shopping Is Part of Your Client’s Profession
Among the most crucial differences between B-to-B and B-to-C ecommerce is that shopping is part of their B-to-B ecommerce client’s daytime job.
This means that the stakes can be greater for your B-to-B seller. If the shopper has a fantastic experience, that shopper is very likely to return and reorder repeatedly — even suggesting the vendor to co-workers or other branches. However, if something goes wrong, especially something which would create the shopper to miss deadlines at work or appear in some way to have done a bad job, that shopper will probably blame the B-to-B seller. Based upon the unhappy shopper’s influence, the B-to-B seller may lose the whole account, including many individual branches or buyers.
It follows that order handling and transactional communications have to be top notch. Some B-to-B ecommerce sellers will call customers to confirm orders or shipments once the client has ordered a large volume, very expensive things, or requested express shipping, because these orders may represent significant transactions to the client.
2. B-to-B Clients Are also B-to-C Clients
B-to-B websites often monitor consumer websites in technology, function, capabilities, and design. That’s typically not good enough.
For instance, the U.S. B-to-B website for a leading multinational manufacturer, including information for traders in the U.S., may only be viewed on Internet Explorer, and will not operate in any other browser, such as Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Safari. And do not even think about seeing this website on a mobile device. It simply won’t work.
This B-to-B website can only be viewed on Internet Explorer, and will not operate in any other browser.
This is a ridiculous business choice. It forgets a basic fact about B-to-B ecommerce clients. They’re also B-to-C ecommerce clients.
It’s very possible that the professional shopper on an ecommerce-enabled B-to-B site has had some experience shopping on customer ecommerce websites, such as Amazon, Black berry Clothing, or REI, which have compelling product photography, very good navigation, good search capabilities, and decent content.
A B-to-B ecommerce website must offer the identical visual and practical experience as the best B-to-C ecommerce websites.
3. Personalization Is Critical
B-to-B shoppers may demand a greater degree of personalization than B-to-C clients, since businesses might have contract prices, special payment terms, or negotiated shipping prices.
Business relationships may be quite deep and complicated. It’s not uncommon for B-to-B ecommerce websites to require registration before demonstrating prices or shipping prices or supplying a quote. This login requirement permits the B-to-B ecommerce website to personalize virtually every part of the transaction.
A fantastic B-to-B ecommerce website may take a bit longer to launch because the system for managing relatively intricate business relationships can take a while. But once it’s in place, this modification means that the connection could be more lasting.
4. Salespeople Are the Main Marketing Vehicle
Although it is both possible and probable that B-to-B ecommerce websites will have the ability to acquire new customers by simply making products simple to order online, salespeople who contact clients are most likely the B-to-B ecommerce vendor’s primary and greatest marketing channel.
Salespeople can bring in new clients or deepen relationships with existing shoppers. Occasionally, it can be sufficient to follow up after a B-to-B sale with a telephone to make sure that the transaction went as expected.
What Ecommerce Can Do to Help your B-to-B Business
If you sell to other companies, ecommerce ought to have three possible benefits for your organization.
It might help new customers find you. With an easy-to-find and use ecommerce website means that new customers — customers with a demand — will have the ability to locate your company no matter geography or previous relationships.
Secondly, B-to-B ecommerce can streamline sales for existing clients. Some of your present clients will appreciate the ability to purchase online, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The process might also be quicker than sending emails orworse, faxed orders.
In the end, B-to-B ecommerce can improve margins and increase profits. It could be possible to provide customers with a much better ordering experience and better client support utilizing ecommerce while spending less on labour and order processing. Any cost savings that B-to-B ecommerce brings may fall right to your company’s bottom line.