In our last blog, we introduced B2B eCommerce and how it is different from B2C eCommerce. We also touched upon the complexity of B2B selling and why B2B eCommerce websites need to have certain features to take care of these complexities. This blog will take you through 10 must-have features a B2B site must have to sell effectively in the online space.
1. Request for Quote
Price negotiations are a common practice in B2B business transactions. Customers often buy in bulk and expect a discount based on order quantity. The request for quote functionality replicates the offline price negotiation between customers and sellers in the online space. Customers can select the products they want to buy, mention the quantities, add them to the cart, and request a quote. The seller can then respond with the best pricing that will help them convert visitors into potential buyers. While this may not fully mirror the offline buyer-seller negotiation process, this feature allows sellers to respond to quote requests easily and facilitate an efficient negotiation process.
2. Quick order option
In B2B purchases, customers often buy multiple SKUs at a time. They are clear about what they want to buy, and very often, it’s a repeat purchase. In such cases, the Quick Order functionality allows the customers to instantly add multiple products into their cart by entering the SKU numbers in one place and proceed to checkout. You don’t have to search for products, shortlist them and add them to the cart independently. It helps save time and makes the ordering process very easy.
Quick Order Form for OroCommerce, Quick Order Pad from 3dCart and Magento2 Quick Order from MagePlaza are a few examples.
3. Minimum Order Quantity and Value
In B2B business, customers have to order a minimum quantity to qualify for discounts or wholesale pricing. B2B sites should also offer this feature so that sellers can set minimum order quantity for each product on their catalog. Some businesses extend this to the order value also. They insist on a minimum total order value to fulfill a purchase. It helps sell low-cost items in bulk as it’s not feasible to sell them individually or in small quantities.
4. Customer-Specific Catalog and Pricing
Customized catalogs are a common practice in B2B businesses. The ‘One Price for all’ strategy followed by B2C players doesn’t work well in the B2B scenario. Sellers have to work out customized pricing based on customers, the products they buy, their order value and how often they purchase from you. It means that the site should have a customer login and each customer gets directed to a customized page that serves the customer-specific catalog and pricing worked out for him. B2B platforms provide the feature to form customer groups and assign different catalogs and pricing to each customer group.
5. Search Tools
B2B sites very often have product SKUs running into hundreds of thousands. Searching for the product you need from this exhaustive list can be time-consuming and tedious. So, it is essential to provide search functionality on the site that will enable customers to search for products with minimum effort. Most of the eCommerce platforms have search and filter options that enhance the search functionality. For example, assume that you are selling musical instruments on your site. In the filter options you can set the first filter based on the category, say, string instruments. You can then further narrow down the search with other filters like Type of instrument – Guitar, Cello, etc. and then Brand, Size, Model, etc. It allows the customer to zero in on the available products in a few seconds without browsing all the pages.
There are also third-party integrations that allow for infinite filters. They also come equipped with advanced search functionalities. For example, they can suggest products as soon as you start entering your query in the search bar. These search or filtering apps are available in the marketplace of each eCommerce platform.
6. Access Restriction Options
In B2B commerce sellers often have to respond to tenders floated by companies and compete with other players to get the order. In such a case, it is critical not to divulge your pricing to competitors. There are also instances where the seller uses the same site to sell to B2B and B2C customers. Here the pricing for the customer groups will be different, with the B2B customer being offered special discounts for bulk orders. In such scenarios access restriction option becomes critical. This feature allows you to display different information to different customers. You can keep the information confidential from unauthorized visitors by building functionality that requires customers to register before accessing the various product and pricing details. You can also set different pathways for your B2B and B2C customers, so that correct information is served based on customer groups.
7. Self-service account management tools
A customized page and dashboard that displays all information that may be of interest to a customer are vital for the success of a B2B site. Information regarding the products they usually purchase, the availability, change in price, lead time for delivery, new products added, previous order details, order status, delivery details, etc. all need to be available upfront to facilitate quick decisions. The Self-service account management tools address this need to a large extent. Customers can create an account, log in and have access to all the information in one place. It will ensure transparency and the visibility a customer demands in business transactions.
8. Sales Rep tools
While B2B businesses have understood the importance of online sales and are setting up shops, they still rely heavily on their sales representatives interacting with customers, closing sales, and getting orders. The Sales Rep tools are plug-ins developed especially for B2B sites for this purpose. They help the sales team to serve customers more effectively. This empowers the sales representatives to manage sales, identify and push the products customers are interested in and place orders on their behalf through the B2B eCommerce site. It also streamlines order processing, reinforces customer relationships and makes the sales force more efficient.
If you are looking to develop a B2B eCommerce site, connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +359 898 707 570 / +1 877 787 2248