The trading of goods has always been an essential part of society. As the market and customer needs change, so must the way we do business. Ensuring global reach, fast information handling and adaptability, the digital world of B2B eCommerce has proven to be a safe bet for big and small businesses alike, even during a global pandemic.
A B2B business’s website is its face, the thing that greets the world at large and communicates with the customers. For this communication to be fruitful for all parties, a solid foundation of useful features will make the process simple, fast and elegant. Below, you will find a list of 6 features to give you a competitive advantage.
1) Cross-platform compatibility
A 2017 study conducted by the University of Warsaw predicts the increase in the importance of mobile devices in eCommerce. Recently, due to movement restrictions, mobile traffic has become an integral part of business. Unfortunately, many companies underestimate the importance of mobile-friendly design and cross-platform compatibility. Regardless of whether it’s accessed from an iPad, an Android phone or a Chromebook, your website should be streamlined to always provide the same experience to all users.
2) Detailed product information
When conducting business online, one key aspect of sales is missing: the buyer cannot inspect the product for themselves. This is the gap which providing detailed product information will fill. This is your storefront. Measurements, photographs, 360° turnarounds and pricing provide a complete image of the product.
Outlining product specifics needs to be clear and concise. Linesheets are the perfect tool for the task. They are there to refresh the buyers’ knowledge of your products with a brief overview of information, images and order options. This organizing wholesale tool lends itself beautifully to B2B eCommerce, as it runs 24/7, ensuring you receive orders no matter where (or when) you are. Linesheets can also be customized to fully suit customer needs, then be exported and automatically emailed with a few simple steps.
3) Sophisticated search function
The previous feature works in concert with advanced search. The larger your catalog, the more useful a search bar becomes. The simplest requirement, but possibly also the most important one, is its positioning. Nobody wants to search for the search bar.
After placement, it is a question of how much you want to automate the buyer’s experience. Search functions can have auto-complete and suggestion options (think Google), show categories and even cover fuzzy searches, which will try to decipher any potential typos.
Adding filters by product category, item quality, measurements or any number of specifics will help customers locate exactly what they’re looking for even if they are not yet familiar with your catalog. Filtered results can then be sorted by price or alphabetically. Offering buyers several sorting options will ensure that the relevant results catch their eye first.
Finally, a search function isn’t only useful to the customer. Search logs will show what buyers looked for on your site. This provides invaluable insight into customer preference and buying trends, while at the same time, revealing previously overlooked gaps in your offer, that you can then easily remedy.
4) Quick order placement
For returning buyers, those already familiar with your product range, grabbing their attention is not a priority. They know your business - they want your business. Helping them place orders is the next step.
Bulk order forms where customers can simply enter SKUs can additionally expedite the ordering process. This process can be further streamlined by giving customers the option to repeat any orders placed with your company.
5) Access permissions
If you have opted for keeping your prices and specific product details out of the public eye, then access permission is the best way to share information with a more select audience. Access can be granted based on the company with which you are doing business, as well as specific people or groups of people within said company.
This division would subsequently lead to highly customized content accessibility and purchasing power. Tying into the previous point, creating custom profiles would also mean saved orders, overview of purchasing history and frequency, preferred payment methods and deadlines. While the customer would, of course, be able to review their own information, this resource would simultaneously be indispensable to your business, helping to build customer relationships.
6) Flexible payment
Compared to B2C transactions, B2B transactions do not hinge on immediate payment. While it is always preferable, offering your customers many and varied payment options ensures that you can find a mutually satisfactory solution. This, too, can be customized, offering only a specific range of payment methods to a particular business and their representative. Here are some payment possibilities:
- Wire transfer
- Approved credit
- BACS (UK specific)
- ACH (US specific)
- Corporate account
- Net D
The provided checklist of features is by no means final, but meant to highlight those that are essential to the successful operation of a B2B eCommerce website. A website that can be accessed anywhere, at any time, where buyers can find what they want, review information at a glance and place orders just as quickly will smooth out many of the challenges a business faces. Creating a business website is daunting at the best of times, but a good set of tools and knowing your customers will see you through.