The potential of B2B eCommerce platform has been undoubtedly noticed by entrepreneurs, but still only one third of them decided to implement this – undoubtedly beneficial – solution for their business. Business offers are still presented mainly in the form of websites or online directories. This fact is surprising because, according to estimates data, the value of eCommerce B2B transactions in the US by 2019 is expected to reach $ 1.1T. We invite you to read the guide of good practices for eCommerce B2B, prepared by the our specialists.
Is implementing a eCommerce B2B profitable? According to a survey conducted by the Polish Chamber of Electronic Commerce, after implementation of eCommerce B2B, 33% of entrepreneurs have acquired new customers (often unattainable through traditional sales methods), and 20% of companies reported an increase in sales to current customers. Please look now at your sales statistics and get in hand the calculator. Such an increase might look good, right?
Let’s move on to the essence of the article. Implementing the B2B platform itself can have a positive impact on your business. Implementing it in a way that is consistent with the needs and expectations of your customers and industry characteristics can be a big milestone in cutting customer service costs, increasing business partners’ satisfaction, and boosting your business. Here you will learn about the “nice have” and “must have” elements of every B2B eCommerce platform. By using them, you will be closer to the success of the B2B web-based sales.
1) Potential of SEO
Say that your online B2B shop should be SEO-friendly, it’s like saying nothing but – perhaps paradoxically – in e-wholesale this aspect is even more important than in the B2C trade. Why?
According to a study cited by MarketingCharts, 73% of the traffic generated on websites and B2B stores comes from organic search results. The reason may lie in the difficulty of reaching the business customer. B2C seller does not have this problem, although from their perspective, SEO is also very important.
Optimizing e-store for SEO is an absolute necessity. We recommend in this aspect to hire an individual specialist in your company or outsource this services to Google Partners. However, there are some aspects to consider when you implement a store. Which?
a) Products should always be visible.
The fact that you do not want to show product prices and availability to all users visiting your B2B platform is not surprising. When you are preparing your eCommerce, you have to remember not to hide “behind the login” key data for search engines such as: name, product specification, description or serial number. The content of all these elements can have a measurable impact on search results.
b) Title, meta description and H’s
After preparing the keywords strategy, make sure that you adapt the TITLE and META DESCRIPTION attributes, present in your e-commerce. In the TITLE attribute and the in the address of the page, include the keywords. META DESCRIPTION should include an attractive description of the content of the page, which may increase the CTR.
The Internet abounds in the content of optimizing these two parameters. Once again, we encourage you to leave advanced SEO solutions to independent professionals or agencies.
c) XML sitemap
XML Sitemap indicates the search engine which pages should be indexed. Remember to create such a map, implement it into your e-shop and search engine tools (eg Google Search Console).
d) Blog in eCommerce
During the implementation of an online store you should think about a blog module, which brings many benefits to your e-commerce. One of them is the aspect related to SEO.
With attractive, keyword-rich content, you’re able to generate more traffic to your e-shop, and by the way, boost your search engine traffic by Google crawlers. Effect? Higher positions in organic search results.
2) Search engine, sorting and filtering in the B2B online shop.
There is no such a thing as a business-to-business sale. There is a human-to-human sales relationship. Think about who your B2B platform customer is. This is either the boss of the company, or the posted person from the purchasing or sales department. What do they have in common? They go to your e-shop for business purposes, so they do not want to spend too much time, attention and energy on them. They probably have more important things on their minds. Take into account their comfort. Make their work more enjoyable!
B2B customers, when they visit the online shop, spend about 70% of their time searching for information. This is enough evidence of the importance of your search engine, as well as the filtering and sorting of your products. What to do to meet your clients’ expectations?
a) Search engine on B2B eCommerce platform
It’s the most important aspect of your wholesale website. The search engine should be equipped with at least some functionality:
- Automatic spell check – the customer can make a typo by searching for a phrase. Does not matter. Let us show the results for a related term stating that the search results are related to the phrase without the typos.
- Automatic display of the type of products that customers may be looking for. The search engine will display the suggested results without specifying the product / category name. By typing eg “serv”, we get the suggested results for “tower server” and “cassette server”
- Displaying previously searched products just by clicking in the search box.
- Extensive search results. Expanding search results can not only present specific products – their names and pictures, but may also include “best results”, “best sellers”, and the entire categories to which the product belongs.
Search results (such as hovering over a product) are equally important and should include:
- High quality product images (displayed from different perspectives)
- Product name and manufacturer
- Price (automatically adjusted to customer – discounts, terms of cooperation, etc.)
- Cost and delivery options (tailored, for example, to the customer’s business address)
The search results or selection of a particular category in a B2B e-shop must be accompanied by customized filtering options. Make sure that your customer can narrow search results to the products that really matter to him. Pay attention to which product details may be important to him.
Filters will, of course, vary with industry, but the basic options include:
The last element that measurably facilitates finding products is sorting. This procedure involves choosing the order in which the products are displayed based on the criterion. Sorting will also vary by industry. Among the basic sorting options include:
- The name of the manufacturer
- Increasing / decreasing price
- The evaluation of the product by users
3) Product card
The structure and display of the product card can be a key element for the final conversion in the B2B e-commerce platform. This place is not only the last point of contact between the product list and check-out, but it can also serve as an on-site marketing.
In addition to obvious issues such as the “add to cart” button, high quality photos (best in 360 ° exposure), original product descriptions, name and price placement, for B2B sales the product card should also include:
- model (serial number of the product)
- Costs of delivery options and refund explenation
- Extended technical specification of the product in PDF format
In addition, good practice is to place incentives for further purchases (without distracting from the CTA):
- Alternative products (up-selling)
- Related products (cross-selling)
- Accessories that can be used with the base product.
4) Customer – DIY! Wizards, calculators, visualizers.
Suitable, dedicated modules, diversify and facilitate shopping in any e-commerce. By offering very specific, multi-variable products (which often takes place on B2B ecommerce platforms), wizards, calculators and visualizers become absolute must have.
Using the wizard, allows the customer to “create” the expected product and place an order. In the case of a standard purchasing process, the customer would have to report to the sales department of the manufacturer / wholesaler and provide a specification. Then the service department would sit over the extensive tables preparing the valuation. Delivery time is getting longer, customers and salespeople are overwhelmed by phone calls and emails, and the final effect is the same.
One-time investment in the form of a dedicated module to your e-shop, allows you to make concrete profits over the years.
5) Fast shopping
An interesting option that you can use in your ecommerce, is to make shopping easier by implementing custom “fast shopping” modules. These solutions are extremely valuable for wholesalers / manufacturers who has regular customers or business partners (eg. Clothing manufacturers whose collections are available in cooperating multibrand boutiques). What specific functionality do we mean?
- Module for shopping by uploading a CSV file with the product code and quantity. In the cart, you can display a complete order and the customer does not have to search the entire platform again.
- A module that allows you to add products to your shopping cart by entering your SKU
- The “recently purchased” tab in an individual client account. This option allows to quickly select previously ordered products.
- Add multiple delivery addresses for orders (bulk or individual) in the account.
6) Integrations with external systems.
This is the last point of our brief guide of best practices for e-commerce platforms B2B.
The integration of B2B e-store with external accounting, warehouse, supplier, ERP, payment and CRM systems allows for almost complete automation of the sales process – from order to receipt. Integration of external systems is an extremely functional and economical solution – especially for large e-shops – allowing you to reduce labor costs, control your orders and save money.
By using the above solutions and combining them with the right marketing strategy, your e-commerce B2B platform will surely come closer to the ideal and win a strong position on the market. We hope that our guide will motivate you and help you improve your e-business!
Do you have any questions? Would you like to talk about your B2B platform? Want to start selling online? Contact us and let’s talk about your project.