Getting off the ground with a B2B site means there are a few essential questions to navigate up front:
- Do you understand the B2B business process essentials to resolve/have in place?
- Working out what experience customers will have on your site?
- How do we create and get right that customer experience?
Customers are increasingly digital savvy especially in terms of B2C user experience so when they come to your site there are going to be expectations. So do not kid yourself that you can get away with much less than what they are used to in their daily B2C transacting. So everyone involved in your B2B commerce project needs to put themselves in the shoes of the digital-savvy customer and make sure there is not a huge departure (if at all) from a quality every day B2C experience on your B2B site.
The B2B Business Process Essentials
Consider some of the process areas and the end impact of what this converts to on your B2B site:
- Layered product presentation of categories/catalogues with sorting/filters attributes to make finding things easy.
- Very high-quality imagery with multiple views and being able to zoom and maybe see related imagery of bundled parts at same time.
- Making sure you have resolved product relationships in terms of prompting the customer toward product bundling, accessories, upsell to better more expensive/profitable models, related intellectual property about use, warranties, education etc.
- Shipping process and options is critical. It’s imperative to get this right you do not want abandoned shopping carts on account of killer freight and logistics hurdles that disrupt the order completion.
- Search and automating suggestions and getting filters right and search synonyms all have to be researched and embedded into the platform
- SEO issues worked through across every aspect of the site.
- Ensuring you can calibrate to your customers needs various forms of promotions, auctions, bundled offers, promotion codes, competitions etc to keep driving traffic and orders
- Of course your site must be visible and consistent in presentation and the ability to carry out key functions across all devices.
- Have your customer able to save their Shopping cart for another session, make it easy for them with stored customer information so there is never a need to start again or forage for information you should have at their fingertips for them to get the order done.
B2B Site Experience Musts
Customer B2C e-commerce functionality expectations are going to be needed to port directly to your B2B experience for them. In addition, there are B2B features that go beyond regular B2C that you will need to think about and implement. If you don’t, doing business with you online will become too hard and an online competitor somewhere locally or around the globe will take your place. Here are some key experience musts for you to consider. The importance and relevance will depend on your industry and business model:
- Multiple Catalogue views and even specific customer catalogues for key customers or markets.
- Multiple Pricing lists to accommodate market segments, critical customers, geographical, regulatory and cultural constraints. Incorporate tiered pricing breaks, dynamic pricing algorithms all be customer segment to ensure you get the optimal sales outcome from the relationship, dynamic pricing.
- Financial establishment of the customer/s with multiple views in terms of the parent entity who pays the bills and the connections to the operating layers with whom you do business.
- Automation wherever possible of order management incorporating buying limits/authorisations so processing is expedited.
- Being able to manage quickly Requests for quote and automate responses and counter offers to ensure you get the order with minimum physical sales effort.
- Specific customer order templates for fast and efficient ongoing ordering.
- Multiple choice of payment methods/gateways commensurate with location, custom and culture.
- Catalogue syndication and integration to eProcurement systems.
- Ready access to customer account information and especially status of orders and easy access to history via multiple enquiry filters.
- Consider Multiple sites & hosting micro sites on behalf of brand manufacturer partners (B2B & B2B2C).
B2B Essentials Summary
In summary keep top of mind the following when doing the establishment and deployment effort for your B2B site:
- Ensure Customers can find what they are looking for fast
- Customers can then act on that information with ease and no second guessing
- You have to make coming to your site hence doing their job easy if you are to retain them and value grow together
- And you cannot have the experience being inconsistent or not available on all the channels your customers expect to be able to do business with you. This means either sitting on the couch at home or in their office and everywhere in between.