A B2B platform typically manages all aspects of your business within its system, including marketing, customer service merchandise management, and financials. You also get to choose who has access to what parts of the system because you’re the boss (which means you can limit some B2B ecommerce features for specific employees if necessary).
So what are some key features to consider while looking for B2B ecommerce? Let’s find out.
Top 10 B2B Ecommerce Features
B2B customers frequently place extensive orders, and manually searching for products in your online catalog can be a severe and time-consuming process. You can offer your customers a bulk order form to streamline this task.
When creating a bulk order management form, ensure that customers can easily add products using only the Part Number or SKU. Additionally, they should specify the quantity desired for each item.
Once the bulk ordering form is filled out, it should seamlessly direct your customers to the checkout page.
Flexible Payment Options
Flexible payment options empower businesses with account-specific pricing and price plans, strengthening relationships with individual buyers and driving sales.
The platform should offer seamless management of payment terms and credit limits at the account or customer level, accommodating substantial purchase orders and payments. But how large should these purchases be?
According to a McKinsey survey of more than 3,200 B2B decision makers, when asked about their willingness to spend via digital end-to-end self-service and remote human interactions, 32% indicated a range of $50K to $500K, while 17% expressed readiness to invest between $500K and over $1M.
For these substantial transactions, a capable platform is essential, enabling sellers to handle credit limits, and overdrafts efficiently, and securely store account information, streamlining the checkout process.
Flexible User Permissions
Gartner’s research reveals that the typical B2B purchasing group comprises an average of six to ten decision-makers, each with unique roles and responsibilities within their organization.
A B2B ecommerce platform that offers flexible user permissions can streamline the purchasing process. It allows multiple customers from a single organization to log in and access shared account information.
- User logins are centrally managed through an administrative console, which assigns account hierarchies and defines roles and permissions for sub-accounts.
- This collaborative account approach empowers corporate buyers to oversee their buying accounts across various contacts.
- They can access B2B-specific pricing and purchasing options, allocate roles and permissions to different employees, share resources like requisition lists, and review order history.
Detailed Content and Product Catalog
It’s critical to have a dedicated content management system (CMS) that can effectively manage and present product information online for a successful B2B ecommerce platform.
- The CMS should provide support for product categorization with multiple hierarchy levels, detailed product descriptions, high-quality images, specifications, pricing, PDF manuals, and video content.
- Some product categories may require specialized configurators to help with parts and options selection.
- A robust search engine is of utmost importance, particularly for businesses dealing with extensive product catalogs.
Merchants should share their catalogs seamlessly across various channels, including Facebook stores, the Amazon marketplace, and Google Shopping.
In cases where the base platform lacks the necessary product information management features, it’s essential to assess the potential for extending its functionality through compatible third-party applications.
Search and Navigation
According to Gartner, nearly 80% of B2B buyers encounter difficulties when researching or making online product purchases.
Complex product catalogs often require the guidance of a knowledgeable sales representative, making navigation a challenge. However, as more buyers transition to online purchasing, it becomes imperative for sellers to simplify their ecommerce platforms, enabling buyers to complete orders independently.
- Given that a significant portion of the buying process is self-directed, it is essential to provide robust and user-friendly search and navigation features to ensure a seamless shopping experience for your clients and prospects.
- Key search capabilities should encompass full-text search, hit highlighting, faceted navigation, and biasing rules, allowing customers to refine their searches according to their specific requirements.
- Personalizing search features and results based on customer preferences and available inventory levels can promote upselling and cross-selling, ultimately boosting revenue.
Storefront with a Greater Focus on User Experience
In B2B business, providing an excellent customer experience through your online storefront is paramount. B2B customers now expect the same quality level and ease of use as they find on modern B2C ecommerce websites. Your B2B store should not just meet but exceed these expectations.
To achieve this, certain features are essential for your storefront:
- User-Friendly Design: Your ecommerce site should have intuitive and user-friendly templates that make navigation a breeze.
- Branding Flexibility: It should be customizable to align with your brand identity, giving a consistent look and feel to your customers.
- Device Responsiveness: Your site should work seamlessly on various devices, including mobiles, desktops, and tablets.
- Plugin-Friendly: Adding tools like lead capture forms, personalization options, product configurators, and rewards programs should be straightforward.
- Integration-Ready: Your system should be open to integrating with other key components, such as CRM, ERP, marketing automation, and social media.
- Warehouse and Logistics: It should also be able to sync with your warehouse automation and logistics systems for efficient operations.
Request a Quote Feature
In a B2B setting, product prices are influenced by various factors, including product configuration, quantity, specific customers or customer groups, delivery schedules, and more.
- Customers need to contact the online business to request a price quote due to these complexities. Implementing an online “Request a Quote” feature simplifies this process, reducing the need for back-and-forth communication.
- When a customer submits a quote request online, your sales representatives can efficiently generate a quote, potentially offering additional discounts on top of agreed-upon pricing.
- If the company approves the quote, the sales team can proceed to place an order on the customer’s behalf.
Your sales team must follow a consistent quote generation process, regardless of whether the request came in online, by phone, or in person.
They should have the flexibility to complete transactions, which could involve sending a quote with a checkout link or directly placing an order for the customer. This streamlines the process and enhances the overall customer experience.
Volume Purchase and Bulk Discounts
In the B2B industry, customers often purchase products in large quantities. While you may already list your products in cases, packs, or pallets, it is beneficial to provide additional discount tiers based on the total order quantity. Your ecommerce platform should handle quantity thresholds, enabling you to offer bulk discounts.
You may also need the flexibility to create different discount tiers according to the customer groups that make up your client base if you anticipate that these quantity discounts should line up with customer-specific pricing levels.
This will ensure that you can cater to the unique needs and expectations of various customer groups.
Real-time Inventory Updates
Real-time inventory updates are an essential feature for all (Business-to-Business) B2B ecommerce platforms. They ensure that you can offer your customers the most precise and up-to-date information about product availability.
- Without real-time inventory updates, there’s a risk that a customer might go through with an order only to discover that the products they need are not in stock.
- It not only ruins the trust in your brand but also results in missed opportunities for repeat sales and potential loss of the customer.
The benefits of real-time inventory updates extend beyond your online store. They provide you with a clear and accurate view of your overall inventory. This, in turn, helps optimize your online business operations, especially if you operate on a just-in-time business model.
Self-Service Access Accounts
A self-service corporate account feature is useful because it allows sellers to create and manage corporate accounts for multiple buyers within an organization.
- Buyers can then access account-specific pricing and purchasing options, as well as assign user roles to various buying team members within their organization (more on that later).
- Self-service accounts enable purchasing groups to manage their purchasing needs independently. By storing account and order management information in a single location.
It all comes down to speeding the purchasing process to enable the completion of complex orders involving multiple decision-makers more quickly.
Recommended Read: Top 21 Ecommerce Features for Online Business
Bonus: Some of the Enhanced B2B Ecommerce Solutions
In the B2B commerce industry, staying ahead requires adopting innovative tools and technologies. Ecommerce solutions are designed to cater to the needs of your business, and they play a pivotal role in achieving customer satisfaction.
Smooth Shopping on Mobile Devices
With mobile devices becoming increasingly popular for business transactions, your B2B ecommerce platform must be fully responsive. These platforms ensure that your customers can browse, shop, and make purchases seamlessly, whether they’re using desktops, tablets, or smartphones.
Exploring the Ecommerce Market
The ecommerce market is a dynamic space where businesses can thrive. It’s essential to keep an eye on market trends and changing customer behaviors. Adapting to market dynamics and understanding customer preferences are keys to success.
Flexible Price Lists
Businesses often deal with diverse clients and unique pricing structures. Price lists should be adaptable to accommodate different customers, ensuring a personalized experience.
Streamlining with Shopping Carts
Shopping carts are an integral part of B2B ecommerce. They help streamline the buying process, making it convenient for customers to add, review, and manage their orders.
Convenient Payment Methods
Credit cards are the lifeline of online transactions, and they offer convenience and security to your customers. Offering various payment methods ensures that customers can choose the option that suits them best.
Empowering Ecommerce Businesses
Ecommerce sites rely on a multitude of features to function effectively. From managing large orders to providing detailed product information, these businesses should be equipped to meet the needs of their customers.
Navigating the Customer Journey
Understanding the customer journey is fundamental for businesses looking to thrive in the B2B ecommerce landscape. It involves identifying the various stages a customer goes through, from initial interest to a completed transaction.
For businesses focused on wholesale, offering a seamless wholesale ecommerce experience is paramount. It involves accommodating bulk purchases and providing pricing tiers based on quantity.
Online sales are at the core of B2B commerce. Ensuring that your online sales process is user-friendly and efficient.
Effective B2B Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
A successful B2B ecommerce strategy includes adopting effective marketing strategies to reach and engage with your target audience.
Live Chat for Instant Support
With live chat facilities, you can offer real-time assistance to your customers. This feature enhances the online shopping experience and ensures customers receive prompt answers to their inquiries.
Delivering Exceptional Online Experiences
Creating online experiences that exceed high expectations is key to attracting and retaining customers. Innovative technologies and features make the online journey effortless for your clients.
Read Also: B2B Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
Types of B2B business
Different types of B2B businesses will have different requirements. When looking for a solution, businesses must first understand the differences between them:
- Business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C): This type of ecommerce puts companies in direct contact with customers by eliminating the middleman, which is typically present between a B2B organization and a B2C.
- Business-to-business (B2B): Wholesale ecommerce is a business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce model in which you sell your products in bulk and at a discount to other businesses rather than selling them individually to consumers.
- Manufacturers: On a large scale, manufacturers produce finished goods by combining parts and raw materials with manual labor and machines. The finished goods are sold to other manufacturers, suppliers, or wholesalers in a B2B model.
- Distributors: Distributors collaborate closely with manufacturers to increase sales, draw attention to the products they produce, and move those products through the distribution chain.
It is not possible to launch a successful B2B ecommerce store overnight. You must select the appropriate platform and provide your clients with advanced features and added functionalities to ensure that it works as intended.
While this list of (Business-to-Business) B2B ecommerce features is essential for differentiating your company from the competition, some of them may not apply to your industry.
So, choose a reputable B2B ecommerce website development company that understands your ecommerce business and offers the best solution.
What are some essential features of a B2B ecommerce platform?
Key features for a B2B ecommerce platform include easy-to-use templates, mobile responsiveness, and tools like lead capture forms, personalization plug-ins, and product configurators. Access control, tax exemptions, and flexible payment options are also important.
Why are real-time inventory updates crucial for B2B ecommerce?
Real-time inventory updates are essential because they provide customers with accurate product availability information. It prevents disappointment and builds trust. It also helps streamline business operations, especially in a just-in-time business model.
How can B2B customers request a quote online?
B2B customers can use the online request for a quote feature, streamlining the process and reducing back-and-forth communication. Sales representatives can create quotes, offer discounts, and place orders on a customer’s behalf.
What should a B2B storefront focus on to match B2C online stores?
To match the quality of B2C online stores, a B2B storefront should provide an excellent customer experience. It includes easy-to-use templates, mobile responsiveness, and tools for lead capture, personalization, and product configuration.
How can B2B ecommerce accommodate bulk orders and discounts?
B2B ecommerce platforms should allow for quantity thresholds, offering bulk discounts for large orders. These discounts can be customized based on customer groups, making them flexible for different clients.
What is the significance of search and navigation features in B2B ecommerce?
Search and navigation features are crucial in B2B eCommerce to enable customers to find products easily. Full-text search, faceted navigation, and personalized results based on customer preferences can enhance the shopping experience.
Why is a better user experience important in B2B ecommerce?
A better user experience is vital in B2B eCommerce as it helps match or exceed customer expectations, just like in B2C. This leads to increased customer satisfaction and improved sales, making it a must-have feature.
What are the benefits of offering different prices in a B2B ecommerce environment?
Offering different prices in B2B eCommerce allows you to cater to the diverse needs of your customers. It provides flexibility in pricing to accommodate varying customer groups, enabling you to offer personalized and competitive rates.
Is it a good idea to implement price lists in a B2B ecommerce platform?
Yes, implementing price lists is a good idea for B2B ecommerce. Price lists help in organizing and presenting product pricing structures efficiently, making it easier for customers to understand and choose the right products.
How can B2B ecommerce sites enhance the customer experience?
B2B ecommerce sites can enhance the customer experience by offering easy navigation, personalized pricing, and efficient transaction processes. They provide a convenient platform for B2B customers to find products and complete orders.
How can B2B business owners benefit from adapting mobile users in their ecommerce platform?
B2B business owners can benefit from accommodating mobile users by reaching a wider audience and providing a convenient shopping experience. Mobile-friendly platforms ensure accessibility for users on various devices.
What makes customer service a critical component of B2B ecommerce capabilities?
Customer service is critical in B2B ecommerce because it ensures customer satisfaction, resolves issues promptly, and fosters strong business relationships. Exceptional customer service can lead to repeat business and referrals.
Why is it important for businesses to have an online marketplace as one of their B2B ecommerce features?
Having an online marketplace as part of B2B eCommerce features expands a business’s visibility and reach. It provides a platform where buyers and sellers can interact, offering a centralized hub for transactions and product discovery.
What role do flexible payments play in global B2B organizations?
Flexible payments are essential for global B2B organizations to accommodate various payment preferences of customers across different regions. They ensure that customers can complete transactions with ease, regardless of their location.
How can B2B website owners enhance the front-end experience for their customers?
B2B website owners can enhance the front-end experience by providing user-friendly navigation, responsive design, and easy access to essential information. A well-designed front end ensures a smooth and efficient customer journey.
What is the important step in implementing an online shopping cart feature in B2B ecommerce?
The important step in implementing an online shopping cart feature in B2B ecommerce is to ensure it is user-friendly, offers customization options, and supports bulk ordering. An efficient shopping cart simplifies the buying process for customers.
What are the key advantages of implementing live chat facilities for B2B companies?
Implementing live chat facilities for B2B companies allows for real-time customer support, quick issue resolution, and efficient communication. It enhances the overall customer experience and fosters stronger client relationships.