Not all B2B businesses think of starting their eCommerce website. In fact, it can be an opportunity to grow your business, streamline operational processes, bring more customers, take customer experience to the next level, increase sales, and more.
Whether you’ve just started mapping out an eCommerce strategy for your B2B company or looking for fresh insights into the field, you should know about the benefits of an eCommerce website.
In this article, we will inspect 8 undeniable advantages of eCommerce in B2B and explore eCommerce fundamentals for the B2B segment.
Benefits of B2B eCommerce
Despite the heated discussion among B2B suppliers about whether face-to-face channels are better than digital business-to-business eCommerce, the benefits of B2B eCommerce are visible in the latest stats:
– More than half of B2B target customers are looking for a high-quality online buying experience
– 76% of buyers expect personalized solutions and offers to meet their specific needs
– Customers start spending more time conducting online research rather than engaging with the sales rep
– Only 35% of B2B companies don’t plan on fully transacting online in 2022; the rest 65% are almost there
Among the main advantages of B2B eCommerce are increased sales due to reaching more customers and providing them with an improved customer-centric experience.
What is a B2B Website?
This type of website focuses on selling goods or services to other businesses online. It’s aimed at improving sales, cutting costs, and increasing the overall effectiveness of a company.
Manual order processing via phone or email doesn’t allow the same customization as a B2B website. The whole idea of a B2B website model lies in creating an online place where another company can conveniently and easily purchase services, content, software, or other goods.
Such a website has a search, detailed info about a product/service, and a personal account history page. So basically, it’s an online platform with services description, pricing, and sometimes a useful blog. Also, building a B2B website doesn’t take a lot of effort due to the availability of website builders and agencies on the market.
As a customer of a B2B eCommerce website, a company will benefit from order history to make repeat purchases fast, custom and flexible pricing, and self-service functionality.
As a seller, a business will enjoy:
- cost reduction (as fewer employees are needed to receive orders manually)
- better lead tracking with website analytics, and improved brand loyalty
What is B2B in eCommerce?
Business-to-business eCommerce has its distinct differences from B2C:
- Larger orders
- More recurring orders rather than one-time-purchases
- More people are involved in the buying process
There are no spontaneous purchases, so a B2B model in eCommerce needs to learn about its potential buyers and their preferences to reach more sales.
Digital marketing may seem challenging for a business-to-business at first. Still, once a company sees the effectiveness of eCommerce B2B, it becomes clear that it’s crucial for success.
Remote and self-services have long become preferable not only for low-value purchases but also for high-value ones. Almost half of the customers are ready to spend more than $500,000 on remote and self-service orders.
And B2B eCommerce lays a solid foundation for cost-effective and convenient selling opportunities.
8 Reasons B2B Needs eCommerce
So if you’re still wondering if your B2B company needs eCommerce, let’s shed light on the apparent reasons behind the B2B digital transformation today.
1. Reaching More Buyers
One of the main benefits of B2B eCommerce is the attraction of a broader audience.
With an online presence, a business can appeal to more people, as the sky’s the limit. With manual order processing, there’s a time and energy limit, as workers cannot work 24/7 while a website can.
eCommerce has long surpassed in-person engagement as the single most effective channel. Primarily if a company builds a smart omnichannel strategy by making customer engagement a seamless journey through various channels:
- social media
- website and blog
- offline shops
2. Attracting The New Purchasing Decision-Makers
B2B eCommerce marketing needs to appeal to the new purchasing decision-makers if they want to keep up with the times.
According to Inc. Magazine, their work and real-life identities almost blend. This insight is vital for B2B eCommerce, as these buyers expect B2B experience to feel like B2C. In other words, they look for personalized marketing and purchasing.
With eCommerce, a company can create an online sales portal using:
- personalization based on previous purchases
- better lead generation
- convenient means of communication
These are just the tip of the iceberg regarding eCommerce B2B opportunities to charm Gen Z into tech-savvy decision-making.
3. Increased Efficiency With Automated Processes
Business owners can automate repetitive manual tasks of order processing and data gathering.
With a CRM, salespeople can make faster decisions regarding each buyer, as they can easily access purchase history and make personalized offers. This can go even further with CRM integrations. For example, if a company uses Salesforce, the team can connect Salesforce to Google Sheets to automatically collect data on leads, contacts, statuses, and more.
Self-service available 24/7 is perfect for repeated purchases, as most buyers don’t need a sales rep if they have already bought a product service at a company.
Automated processes not only increase efficiency but also improve customer experience. With AI-driven solutions, a company can speed up response time (one of the biggest complaints among customers).
Comparison engines will help customers with the overall analysis of the product.
In addition, automation improves employee productivity. There is more time to focus on challenging tasks than automatic ones. Plus, if a company works with remote staff, automated processes help to avoid human mistakes and monitor the whole picture better.
4. B2B in eCommerce is the Key to Grow Globally
A brick-and-mortar B2B has one particular disadvantage – it’s difficult to enter the worldwide market unless there are no eCommerce investments. While among the key advantages of B2B eCommerce is the ability to attract customers to any place.
Digital marketing can help you reach new markets via new sales channels online. A website with intuitive navigation in a local language, with local currencies and payment methods is the way to appeal to new audiences without spending a fortune.
A company doesn’t need to invest in building an offline store as it can benefit from the worldwide shipping capabilities.
5. Better Customer Experience With eCommerce B2B
Most B2B companies are strengthening their online selling channels to offer their customers a better experience.
Chatbots, VoIP, and helpdesk software help a customer support team to react quickly and communicate with customers efficiently.
A fast and easy-to-navigate website with appealing design and useful content (like explainer videos, tutorials, AR tours, etc.) makes customers want to spend time on your site. Consequently, it helps to build stronger relationships that will bring more sales.
Finally, eCommerce enables flexibility and personalization – a customer can choose among different payment options, receive personalized offers, pick a preferred shipping option, etc. – anything that will boost the customer experience.
6. Strengthening Social Media Marketing Channel
Among other benefits of B2B eCommerce is paving the way to an effective marketing channel of social media. Companies aim to create an omnichannel experience, including social media.
Customers are guided through social media and become more eager to form relationships with the company. B2B eCommerce via social media isn’t about direct selling, but it helps to break the ice between the salesperson and the buyer to create a human connection.
Social media allows to reach and attract more clients, nurture new subscribers and turn them into leads. To do so, a company needs to focus on customers’ needs more than on sales messages – a potential customer needs to see how your product/service can solve their problem.
7. Managing Your Leads More Effectively
Among the vital benefits of B2B eCommerce is robust analytics.
With scrupulous analytics and data analytics software, a company can examine purchasing patterns and learn where to funnel the investments and efforts.
All the data that a company gathers, helps to understand its audience better and track key metrics.
The key metrics to examine and benefit from B2B in eCommerce include:
- average order rate
- session duration
- organic traffic
- bounce rate
- sales conversion rate
- shopping cart abandonment rate
- returning customer rate
8. Developing Relationships Based on Trust
Any buyer wants to feel safe before making a purchasing decision.
Business-to-business eCommerce facilitates the creation of an environment where a client is willing to trust a company.
‘About us’ page turns a faceless company into a team one can rely on. If supported by photos of the team members, such a page appeals even more.
Finally, social media presence ensures that a business cares about its reputation, is ready to face feedback (both positive and negative), and consequently strengthen the relationships built on trust.
The benefits we’ve discussed seem alluring. But it’s vital to implement business-to-business eCommerce smart to achieve good results.
Creating a B2B website and waiting to reap the rewards is not enough. To grow, a company needs to improve customer experience daily and personalize the customer experience.
In Ecommerce B2B, you have opportunities to provide that customer-centric experience through thorough analytics, experiments, and flexibility.
About The Author:
Dmytro Zaichenko is a Marketing Specialist at Coupler.io, a data integration tool. He has 7+ years of experience in content making. Apart from writing, he’s passionate about networking and the NBA.