B2B sales and marketing have traditionally taken place offline. However, as buyers’ attitudes change, more B2B companies are discovering the power of eCommerce to spread the word about their products and increase revenues. As a consequence, B2B-focused eCommerce platforms are in high demand.
An eCommerce platform’s features can dictate your business’s fortunes. Customers increasingly spend most of their days online, and the right platform will help you create memorable user experiences that keep them coming back for more.
Here are five eCommerce platform features to look for.
B2B buyer journeys are very different from their B2C counterparts. Buyers are subject to several restrictions regarding who they buy from. In turn, sellers are typically subject to industry non-compete clauses that prevent them from disclosing certain information.
These business conditions must be replicated on your website. For instance, you might need to hide bulk pricing from B2C customers, display alternative workflows to certain users, and gate access behind a member’s area to certain customers.
A flexible eCommerce platform allows you to build this functionality intuitively and does the heavy technical lifting in the background. Ideally, you should pick a platform that incorporates this functionality from the ground up, instead of appending it as an add-on. This will prevent scalability issues.
Payment and Delivery Customization
Customizing delivery and payment options is essential due to the complex buying workflows at B2B companies. Typically, B2B purchases require multiple approvals, and sellers need to process several documents before issuing an invoice.
Complicating the matter is that many B2B sellers offer B2C order channels as well. Order fulfillment thus becomes complex, and B2C customers might suffer due to their relatively smaller order volumes. Pick a platform that allows you to integrate your multiple order management tools or offers them as standard.
Before choosing a B2B eCommerce platform, define the features your business needs and pick one accordingly.
UX is one of the most essential B2B eCommerce platform features. It defines the experience your customer receives and defines your brand in their mind. UX is a complex subject, with many elements contributing to a memorable buying experience.
For instance, videos are a great way of engaging your audience. However, creating them takes time, and production values matter a lot. If your catalog contains several products, you could potentially spend too much time creating videos and not enough time selling. A good eCommerce platform allows you to easily integrate with a video production tool and automate video creation.
In the same vein, a great eCommerce platform has highly customizable templates that allow you to easily add and remove elements. For instance, adding lead generation forms, contact forms, and popups should be simple. The simpler it is to add these features, the more you can test what works and improve UX immeasurably.
Lastly, responsive design is essential for great UX these days. Users can potentially access your website from as many as seven types of devices. A good B2B eCommerce platform offers libraries of templates that incorporate responsive design under the hood so that you don’t have to worry about making changes all the time.
Ease of Use
B2B firms have many options when developing an eCommerce portal. There are on-premise options along with SaaS and hybrid models. On-premise platforms are typically built in-house and require vast resources to maintain. You are likely to need a full-time IT staff, web designers, and content creators to ensure your website functions smoothly.
Generally speaking, SaaS options offer the best choice, since you can outsource expertise and focus on what you’re best at. These platforms allow you to effectively buy an eCommerce department for a cost-effective price every month.
Hybrid options suit businesses in non-traditional business lines. If your product requires heavy customization before sales, a hybrid model that allows you to integrate online and offline sales is the best choice. The bottom line here is there are many options for you to choose from, but opt for the one that is the easiest to use.
SaaS suits the majority of businesses, but make sure you try all of your options before committing to one.
The wrong eCommerce platform can turn into a roadblock to growth. Most businesses expand their product lines or begin to sell more units. If your eCommerce platform cannot help you scale, you’ll face the troublesome task of having to shift from one provider to another. This is a tedious task when you’ve reached a certain size.
Thus, it’s best to evaluate the scalability options your eCommerce platform offers you right from the start. Do they allow you to expand your cloud storage easily? Do they allow you to add multiple product lines without having to significantly change your website?
Good eCommerce platforms anticipate growth and offer features that aid it. For instance, a highly scalable platform will offer more sophisticated marketing and CRM features depending on the rate at which your sales are growing.
Make sure you check these out before committing to a platform.
Great Features Equal Great Business
eCommerce is essential to modern B2B company success. Customers prefer highly customized experiences, and a good platform can help you deliver these seamlessly. Remember to list your needs before exploring the various options out there.
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