B2B eCommerce sales in the US reached $889 billion in 2017. According to Forrester research, figures will increase to more than $1.2 trillion by 2021. There is no question that the B2B eCommerce industry is growing exponentially.
This rapid growth is the reason why plenty of B2B companies are attracted and starting to shift to eCommerce. Unfortunately, many of these businesses plunge straight into moving online without much planning and research, which results in a haphazard transition to eCommerce that ends up costing the business more in the long run.
Don’t end up like these businesses. Here are some common mistakes you should avoid.
Choosing the wrong platform
For any B2B company, moving to eCommerce means making a huge investment. There is a lot of manpower, time, and money at stake, so having a plan in mind that considers the features and functions is crucial to the successful implementation of a B2B eCommerce platform.
There are many important features to look out for in a B2B eCommerce platform, which include:
- User interface (ease of navigation)
- Platform architecture (cloud or non-cloud)
- Ease of integrations with business processes (accounting, inventory management, shipping, etc.)
- Scalability (long-term usability of the platform)
- Customer support (assistance offered by the platform provider)
- Features (customer segmentation, catalogs, wholesale bulk order forms, etc.)
And the list goes on.
Although many platforms offer these features, businesses should also be mindful that B2B eCommerce platforms are not “one-size-fits-all” solutions. Each platform serves a different purpose. Platforms such as 3dcart and Wix Stores are more catered to eCommerce beginners and start-ups. On the other hand, Shopify and Volusion are tools that are designed for bigger businesses who are looking for a straightforward yet effective platform.
With all the different eCommerce platforms available today, it’s important for businesses to determine which one is the right fit them.
Implementing design-heavy B2C eCommerce features that undermine B2B user experience
B2B customers and B2C customers have different needs when interacting with an eCommerce platform.
According to a report by Adobe, 38% of B2C customers stated that they will stop viewing a website if its interface is poorly designed. For B2C businesses, the design is important because it improves a business’s perceived credibility, which in turn helps to increase sales.
However, this is not the case for B2B businesses. B2B customers don’t care much about design. They are also business owners, who are busy people, so they are just looking to make a purchase and complete the transaction in the shortest time possible. B2B customers aren’t looking for flashy eCommerce platforms with over-the-top designs. They just want an eCommerce platform that is fast, responsive, and convenient to use.
Lack of payment options
Another way B2B companies disregard user experience is by not providing users with multiple payment options. More often than not, they only accept online credit card payments and no other modes of payment such as checks and extended payment (credit terms). This may be a significant limiting factor as payment terms are extremely common for B2B transactions.
As previously stated, most B2B customers are also business owners who most likely have hectic schedules. The last thing they want is to go through complicated checkout procedures. In some instances, they may not be able to pay by credit card for one reason or another and may wish to pay by other means. Hence, providing them with different options to pay will not only create a more flexible and convenient eCommerce platform but also help to improve UX greatly.
Lack of mobile optimization
Some B2B companies fail to see the need to optimize their websites for mobile.
Mobile is the future of eCommerce. Most people prefer to read product reviews, look for recommendations, and make their final purchases using a smartphone or tablet on the go. According to a report by datorama, 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last six months. Hence, it is extremely important to make sure that your website is primed for mobile viewing, as a business without a mobile-friendly eCommerce website may be losing out on a significant number of customers.
B2B businesses should not forget that their customers are the lifeblood of their entire enterprise. Even with the shift to eCommerce, keeping them satisfied and happy is still extremely important. Customers who don’t enjoy browsing a website the first time are definitely unlikely to come back to it to make purchases.
Lack of integration with current business processes
App integrations are important for every B2B eCommerce platform as they allow businesses to seamlessly synchronize their activities. For B2B businesses, the most important integrations to look out for would be accounting and shipping integrations.
For accounting integrations, QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Desktop are some common accounting applications that should be supported by an eCommerce platform. These allow businesses to seamlessly synchronize their accounting activities.
Shipping integrations are also important to B2B businesses. Applications such as ShipStation and ShippingEasy are common shipping applications that should ideally be supported by the eCommerce platform.
Such integrations help businesses save time and money while reducing error and eliminating data duplicates.
Sweet Technology’s B2B eCommerce Portal is a simple yet effective platform that is easy to set up and quick to launch. It has functionalities that provide your customers with personalized product catalogs and price lists and enable them to pay using various methods such as credit card, cash, and check.
By using the eCommerce Portal together with Sweet Technology’s inventory management software, you can streamline a multitude of your business processes including order fulfillment, shipping, inventory management, and sales with no compatibility issues.
Looking for the perfect solution for your B2B wholesale business? Look no further than Sweet Technology’s B2B eCommerce portal, which allows you to launch a wholesale ordering portal in minutes and deliver a personalized ordering experience for each one of your wholesale customers.