B2B E-COMMERCE: WHY AND HOW TO GET STARTED?
B2B E-commerce is a trend that is asserting itself year after year and represents a real engine of growth for SMEs. Between 2017 and 2019, online sales between professionals increased by almost 50%. Why and how to get into B2B E-commerce? We tell you everything!
The advantages of opening your B2B e-commerce
First of all, you should know that B2B customers are more and more likely to favor online purchases.
Used to placing orders on e-commerce sites all day long, they want to find this same simplicity in their daily professional life.
In addition, providing information about your products online can allow you to trigger purchases: 95% of professional customers inquire about the Internet upstream, and 57% of purchasing decisions are made before you even think of getting in touch with one of the sales representatives.
Neglecting your digital presence is therefore risking losing potential customers.
Whatever your sector of activity, the creation of an e-commerce site is a necessary step to give new impetus to your growth. It will allow your buyers to better inform themselves about your products, and to order anywhere and anytime.
Our advice to get started in B2B E-commerce
1. Choose a suitable CMS
First, you need to choose the e-commerce platform that will host your site. This is a decisive aspect, so you should ask yourself the right questions when comparing existing solutions:
Does it take into account the specificities of each client? In B2B, the contractual and commercial conditions vary from one buyer to another. You must be able to personalize the shopping experience, by offering different product catalogs, prices or delivery methods depending on the type of customer identified.
Does it offer specific B2B functionalities? For example, check that it allows you to manage requests for quotes or recurring orders, as these are services that your buyers expect to find on your site.
Can it connect to your current tools? If you already have an ERP and / or a CRM tool, check that your CMS will be able to communicate with these software. This is an essential aspect for centralizing all the information on your orders, invoices, deliveries… and thus being able to set up an omnichannel customer journey .
Many CMS are designed to adapt to the needs of B2B companies, you just have to find the one that suits you best!
2. Take care of your product catalog
In B2C as in B2B, e-merchants must strive to offer a fluid and consistent journey on their site.
However, this is often what goes wrong in the B2B field: many buyers say they are frustrated by the lack of available and easily accessible information.
Your customer wants to be able to quickly find what he is looking for: to meet this expectation, we advise you to categorize your products clearly, by thinking about the keywords that can guide him in his research.
To facilitate navigation, we invite you to set up product filters : your visitors will find their happiness more quickly!
Finally, be sure to write complete and structured product sheets.
B2B buyers need to collect as much information as possible about items before ordering them: size, composition, country of manufacture, technical characteristics… the more information you give them, the more you maximize the chances that they will convert!
You can also display the delivery methods offered, the associated costs and times, or the duration of the warranty.
3. Digitize your payments
Digitize your entire customer journey, in particular the payment stage.
On this aspect, B2C has a head start: many payment methods exist and allow the consumer to pay for his purchase in a few clicks, and the seller to receive the amount almost instantly.
But in B2B, the purchases are more important, and your customer cannot always afford to pay the full amount immediately. This is why we invite you to give him the choice between different payment methods : bank card but also bank transfer, electronic wallet and check for example.
A final feature particularly suited to B2B: the payment request .
It allows you to generate a payment link and send it by e-mail or SMS to your customer. All they have to do is click and enter their bank details on a secure payment page!
All these tools will help you digitize and speed up your purchasing process. This means a smoother experience for your customers, and for you, the guarantee of receiving your payments faster!
4. Build and maintain your digital reputation
You already have a customer base who know and trust you, but how do you reach internet users who have never heard of your business?
In B2B, it is recommended to focus on inbound marketing.
With advertising, whether in display, search or on social networks, you will have little chance of reaching your target and generating qualified leads.
Conversely, by producing informative content related to your industry, and publishing it on a blog, you will be able to make yourself known and more easily convince visitors who have never ordered from you.
The ideal is to succeed in indexing your articles on the 1st page of Google results, on the keywords that directly interest your target customers.
You can also capitalize on the social networks that are best suited to B2B :
LinkedIn, for example, is an essential platform that will help you not only to monitor your sector but also to establish your reputation online.
However, do not neglect other social networks, such as Twitter, which will allow you to promote your expertise and quickly detect trends in your field.
We hope this article has given you some useful tips to get started in B2B e-commerce! What to remember: e-commerce represents a real growth lever for SMEs, so you need to carry out your digital transformation today.