How to Select B2B eCommerce Software for Your Business
The saying “You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation” applies to almost everything including eCommerce. Whether you are starting a new eCommerce business or thinking of switching to a new platform, a strong foundation is required to grow the business. And, a strong foundation means the best eCommerce software to build and manage the platform.
We have seen the phenomenal rise of the eCommerce industry in the last couple of decades whose share cannot be given only to the B2C domain. The B2B eCommerce domain, which has an endless universe of opportunities has also grown remarkably. As per the Globenewswire, the market will reach a projected value of $ 18.57 Trillion by 2026 with a growth rate of 18.70% from an initial value of $ 7.35 Trillion in 2020.
B2B eCommerce is actually an online transaction where both parties involved are businesses. In other words, a business selling its products/services to another business is a B2B eCommerce. Some popular B2B eCommerce websites are Amazon Business, AliExpress, TradeKey, Alibaba, and Rakuten.
B2B eCommerce Software
The software-based solution that facilitates B2B eCommerce transactions is called a B2B eCommerce platform which is also responsible for presenting the company well and providing the required information to increase B2B sales. The software chosen affects the type of experience businesses can deliver to their customers. It is crucial to analyze the software before actually using it for the business.
There are several B2B eCommerce platforms in the market that provide almost similar sets of features with minimum differences, however, examining the features intricately is quite crucial.
Key Essentials Every B2B Business Needs
Based on our diverse experience in the B2B eCommerce domain, we have compiled the key features you need to consider before choosing your B2B eCommerce software. Read the post ahead to know more about them.
Advanced & Flexible Checkout
Indeed, the checkout process is crucial to all eCommerce stores, however, it is particularly more complicated for B2B eCommerce. This means that the checkout process needs to be more streamlined and appropriate to facilitate easier checkout and reduce shopping cart abandonment rates.
An ideal checkout process should be able to accommodate factors like
- Ability to retrieve payment information from previous orders.
- Ability to pay via different payment methods like a line of credit, purchase requisition, trade credit, etc.
- Ability to repeat previously placed orders without having to search for individual products all over again.
All this can give the comfort your customer needs and will surely help you grow your business more efficiently.
Corporate Account Management
The concept of a corporate account is a critical feature of any B2B eCommerce platform. A user account can often be used by multiple users with different roles and rights, especially when dealing with subdivisions or sub-units. A B2B platform’s account management capabilities should be able to accommodate complex and hierarchical corporate account structures.
With the corporate account management feature, not only can businesses conduct purchases as a single entity, but they can also build a hierarchy simulating their respective roles in the organization. Once they have set roles, relevant permissions can be assigned to each user as per their role.
Request For Quote
Another vital functionality to have for your store is the request for quote functionality. As the price of a product in a B2B store depends on various factors like product configuration, quantity, particular customer, delivery schedule, and many others, customers often call and ask for a quote.
The online request for a quote feature allows for streamlining of the process and cuts time for back-and-forth communication. After receiving a request, sales representatives can create a quote and provide additional discounts to customers on top of pre-arranged pricing. This can reduce the risk of human errors and increase fulfillment speed.
Minimum Order Quantity
This is another feature that distinguishes the B2B eCommerce platforms from B2C. B2B businesses usually sell products in wholesale quantities and do not prefer to spend time shipping off smaller quantities. If your business also follows any such restrictions, make sure your platform complies with this and customers should be able to order a minimum specified quantity for the order to be completed.
Also, the limits should be communicated clearly on the product pages so that customers do not get disappointed at the checkout page which will eventually increase cart abandonment rates.
Bulk orders and wholesale purchases are staples of B2B sales. For such instances, searching for all the products from the product catalog is tedious and time-consuming. To simplify the process with minimum friction, customers should be provided with a bulk ordering form that allows them to add products with just the Part Number or SKU.
The form should also have columns to specify the quantity of each item. Once the form is filled, the platform should take the customer directly to the checkout page.
Complex Pricing Rules
The pricing in B2B platforms is quite different from the B2C pricing model. Business owners alter their pricing structure based on multiple customer tiers. The top-tier or regular customers get more discounts when compared to new customers. Bulk buying and the huge volume of trade being conducted is the standard practice in the B2B domain that binds business owners to give back extra discounts.
All this requires complex pricing rules which should be integrated at every level of the product hierarchy for better wholesale management.
Restricted Access Control
Many B2B businesses allow only pre-registered clients to place orders from their websites. In such a case, the website should be designed in such a way that only authorized customers have access to it. The software should also have the ability to restrict access to specific portions of the platform to unauthorized users.
This means only the home and product pages will be open to everyone, but only authorized users will be able to place orders.
Live Customer Support
In case you know how frustrating it is to buy a pair of shoes online, imagine what buying hundreds of spare parts of machinery can do to your mind. An FAQ or Contact Us page can help to deal with different queries of the customers. In addition, live customer support helps to provide real-time support to keep up with inquisitive customers and ease sales.
Personalized Catalog Management
This useful tool helps improve sales and the user experience for your brand. Personalized catalog management includes restrictions on displaying a catalog to specific corporations, divisions, or business units. An efficient catalog management tool allows you to display products that are entirely based on the preferences of your user groups.
Coupled with customized pricing, catalog management can make your operations even more granular.
Quick & Easy Reordering
As businesses often make repeat purchases, the complete process of searching and browsing for the products in the catalog can become arduous. Simplified reordering can help make the B2B experience better for your customers. Removing reorder friction ensures businesses can make similar purchases from the store with just a click of a button.
Multiple Shopping Lists
Many B2B customers juggle between multiple projects and require different products for different areas of business. Some customers even purchase on behalf of different individuals representing different businesses. Such environments create the need for multiple shopping carts for varying purchasing needs.
Making your B2B business a massive success is not an overnight task. It requires choosing the right software with basic as well as advanced features that work the way they are supposed to. The above-mentioned is not the complete list, but will definitely give an idea of the prerequisites of a B2B eCommerce platform.
So, make sure you choose a reputed B2B multi-vendor eCommerce software that fulfills all your business requirements to make your business more profit-driven and growth-centric.
Saurabh Thakur is an ecommerce analyst, he has been active in the ecommerce industry for the past 7 years. He is passionate about technology and always looking for new opportunities. He helps startups to establish their business online.