As per recent reports, US business revenues in terms of online B2B ventures are growing by $1 billion every year. There are two primary reasons for this. Firstly, investment in own channels is what distributors and manufacturers prefer. They believe in increased profits, lower costs, and overall revenue increase with the help of ecommerce, which is by the way true. Secondly, majority buyers prefer to buy online over traditional approaches due to high convenience at same cost, sometimes even lower. Most people want to research products before making a purchase decision and meeting up with the salesperson. This acts as both challenge and opportunity to the sales channels currently existing. Therefore, online B2B ecommerce platforms should primarily focus on four key areas for providing an amazing smooth experience to the online buyers – Integration, Personalization, Content, and UI/UX. Make no mistake about it. All these four areas strongly interconnected with each other. Failure in any one area can result in an ultimate downfall of other three. Let us explore each one of them individually.
For an ultimate success of an ecommerce shop, it is critical that inventory, pricing, products, and customer details integrated in a systematic fashion. Hence, it is necessary that following systems assimilated together: Payment gateways, Freight systems, Tax systems, Customer relationship management (CRM), and Enterprise resource planning (ERP). Nowadays even more systems have come into play likewise third party marketing databases, recommendation engines, merchandising solutions, and tools for behavioral analytics. Even these systems integrated as well.
Customization is rapidly becoming the hot favorite framework for defining the online behavior and personality of what buyers prefer to buy and compare. Henceforth, many distributors and manufacturers invest in pricing and catalogs tailor-made to specific buyers. This lets respective merchandising offers based on the persona of the user logged in differentiated in terms of seasonal offers, geographic location, and purchase history. Then comes the next step: personalization of behavior. Third party tools such as Certona & Monetate used to recommend buyers with products that match their buying pattern and behavior. The linking should be done to data warehouses and accounting systems directly from history of product purchases. There should be an in-depth incorporation into third party tools, BI systems, financial systems to present recommendations based on interest.
Content is undoubtedly the most important factor, crucial for any ecommerce store success. Creating relevant and rich content could be difficult as well as complex. However, when proper content written with all the product related information such as price, unit of measure, dependencies, specifications, geographic location, manufacturer name, and product facts, it enables the buyer to take a decision instantly leading to more sales and revenue. The content should accompany information related to hazardous material, data sheets related to safety, manuals for installation, user manuals, and descriptions. Videos and images are must to make the process as intuitive as possible. The content should be simple and in a generalized format. This helps to reach a worldwide audience.
Just as human beings communicate and response back in a rapid manner. People expect the same in case of ecommerce platforms. They expect fast responsive websites full of enticing merchandise, reviews, ratings, and organized content. Moreover, they also prefer a simple one page checkout, ease of internal navigation, robust search, and round the clock online chat. Business buyers expect even more than personal buyers do. They want freight options, availability of inventory, history of orders, and flexible re-ordering of same items. They want the site to have request the quote feature where they can lay down their expectations, instead of calling the representative of the online store. Product catalog, history of pricing, and budget estimate, are some more functionalities that business buyers would like to access. To sum up, for enhancing the overall experience and interaction, it is very important to integrate data, videos, images, and in-depth product information within the ecommerce store.
No elements discussed above are easy to build. They demand lifelong maintenance as well considerable investments on an initial basis. Adding to it you also need, front-end experts who comprehend system integration and digital marketing well. Not all elements required during the first phase. Ecommerce is a continuous growing process. Every element gradually introduced. However, at the end of the day, all four elements are necessary for success.