For many years, eCommerce was predominantly a B2C experience, with businesses selling various products such as homeware, clothing, electronic gadgets, and furniture to individuals. However, times have changed and how.
Even B2B companies are now fast moving away from having to deal with account managers and pro formas to trade and carry out transactions online.
Statista indicates that the entire eCommerce market will be worth $1.8 trillion by 2023. That is not far away! Given the rise in the popularity of buying online during the pandemic, this is actually not surprising.
Despite its prominence in the B2C domain, B2B brands are quickly recognizing the value of an eCommerce platform to sell to buyers, including on-demand customer support, faster purchases and delivery, room for continuous improvement, and mutual accountability.
What your specific B2B eCommerce model will look like depends on your business goals, the industry you are working in, and the needs of your target audience.
There are, however, certain key features that the top B2B eCommerce platforms have in common. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of them:
1. Advanced Checkout Functionality
The checkout process can be arduous for anyone, and multiple steps and requests to fill in details can be highly off-putting. According to a Splitit study, 87% of customers abandon their carts because the checkout process is too complicated.
You do not want that to happen as it gives you a bad rep in the market, and you also end up losing many customers in the long run. Here is how to make purchasing easier for your B2B clientele and avoid cart abandonment:
a. Guest Checkout
Particularly for first-time B2B buyers, having to spend time on sign-up can be an annoyance. Allow them to check-in as guests quickly, and then ask for login details later.
b. VAT Price Toggle
It is almost expected on B2B eCommerce sites that the prices displayed will be exclusive of VAT. To retain a larger share of your buyers, have a simple price toggle option by which they can see the bill amount either inclusive or exclusive of VAT.
c. 1-Click Option
To help brands who know precisely what they want, have an option that allows them to select a product SKU and do a quick checkout directly. This is called one-click buying, where the customer’s information is pre-populated after being stored previously.
However, payment, delivery, and subscription options are all available for edit. This reduces the cart abandonment rates.
d. Express Checkout Options
B2B brands are likely to keep placing orders for the same supplies, making it easy for them to have a prefilled cart whenever they log in and an express checkout option with address details retrieved automatically.
e. Single-Page Checkout
It comprises all the elements of a typical checkout process but on a single page. You can find essential details such as payment options, cart contents, billing, shipping addressing, and shipping methods. This reduces the page numbers and clicks to complete the purchase.
f. Ajax-Based Cart Updation
This functionality is built to update your customer’s order quantity smoothly. You can see the total price adjustments on the shopping cart page instantly. One can avail the buttons on the page to increase or decrease the number of items on your cart.
2. Multi Payment, Pickup, and COD Options
The best eCommerce platform for wholesale also leaves room for more flexibility with their purchases, which is why you should offer multiple payment options like cheque, bank transfer, or net banking. For large orders, offer a credit system and increase the benefits for your older customers (like a loyalty system).
You should also offer a cash-on-delivery option, as many buyers like to inspect their purchases before putting down money for them. And if your customers are in a hurry and want to pick up their order themselves, they should have that option too.
3. Intuitive and User-Friendly Search
Scrolling through pages and pages to get to the desired product can be a drag when you have a large inventory. Ensure that your search functionality is equipped to respond to long-tail searches quickly, and allow buyers to filter out results based on the model number, color, size, warranty, and other essential specifics.
4. Bulk Ordering Capabilities
If you cater to B2B businesses, chances are most of your orders are in bulk. Tailor your B2B eCommerce website development around that by including quick checkout options for both bulk purchases (such as 100 units, 500 units, and so on) and offering special discounts or credit facilities for bulk buyers.
This is also an excellent opportunity to set up a minimum order feature on your eCommerce portal — as someone catering to wholesale buyers, you probably do not need to waste shipping and delivery on small orders, which helps to make sure you remain profitable.
Plus, if you have customers repeatedly coming back to you, do not hesitate to give them a member discount over and above the bulk discount.
5. Enhanced Mobile Experience
This is a critical part of B2B eCommerce website development, particularly now that Google prioritizes mobile-friendliness in its search ranking. Many buyers prefer to shop via their mobile, B2B buyers included, and the best B2B eCommerce platform will facilitate that.
Key features your mobile site must have include:
Adding fuzzy search functionality to your product search box lets it auto-complete search queries and pick up on frequently made typos.
This helps speed up product search, especially if you have an extensive product catalog, allowing B2B buyers to access exactly what they want quickly.
b. Product Images With Videos
Shoppers should be able to call up high-quality product photos with a single tap. Including explanatory videos that zoom in on critical features will further help.
Also, remember that B2B customers are likely looking beyond the visual components, so include detailed guides, spec sheets, and MPNs as necessary. An inventory management system can help you keep track of all this.
c. Direct Whatsapp Chat For Help
B2B buyers browsing from their mobiles should have an option to reach out quickly to your team for help. With WhatsApp being the preferred instant messaging channel for nearly two billion users, it makes sense to have a direct WhatsApp support button rather than making the buyer log out of the page and pull up a separate FAQ or support window.
6. Clear and Multiple Call-to-Action (CTA) Buttons
Your B2B eCommerce website development should focus on making the purchase process as easy and as intuitive as possible. Important actions, such as ‘add to cart, ‘order on WhatsApp,’ or ‘buy now’ should be embedded in clear CTA buttons displayed prominently on the page.
Please make sure the buttons work equally well on both the desktop and the mobile versions. At the same time, check that the buttons do not intrude on other vital parts of the webpage, like search results.
Over to You
Regardless of what your B2B eCommerce store deals in, these are all critical features that will set you apart as a B2B-focused seller.
With pressing business needs of their own to work with, your wholesale buyers need their purchase experience to be as quick, hassle-free, and error-free as possible. Make sure your B2B eCommerce website development provides exactly that.