Today’s B2B customers are very familiar with the online buying experience. They expect your eCommerce platform to work similarly to the B2C websites they use and they are likely to compare you to such big marketplaces as Amazon Business or Alibaba. The problem is that B2B eCommerce is complex since it involves large catalogs, many payment options, and a high degree of customization. However, there are some relatively simple tips which can help to ensure you remain competitive.
Know Your Target Audience
B2B customers are usually short on time and they are highly unlikely to pay attention to irrelevant marketing communications. If you analyze your customer data, you’ll get a better understanding of what your customers need. This allows you to market your products or services in a way that they will respond to. When you send the right content to the right people, your sales are more likely to increase. Things like personalized emails can boost both efficiency and your return on investment.
Build Strong Relationships
It is important to ensure that you have positive interactions with potential customers throughout the entire buying journey. Use follow-up emails, webinars, white papers, and even mainstream media appearances to share ideas with your target audience. No matter which platforms you use, the aim is to find a level of synergy with potential customers which allows you to convert them. When you understand the customer better, you increase your ability to meet their needs.
Tell Customers How You Will Solve Their Problems
B2B eCommerce is usually very specialized so you need to have a very clear understanding of your customers’ pain points. Don’t waste time telling them about the features of your product or how it uses the latest technology. Instead, tell them exactly how the product will solve their biggest challenges. You need to convince potential customers that you can make their operations more efficient in some way. To set yourself apart from others in the market, be sure to highlight your customer support and after-sales care.
Keep Your Website As Simple As Possible
If your eCommerce site is too complex, you’ll quickly lose potential customers. You need to make navigation simple and UX-driven since B2B buyers want relevant content that’s easily accessible. Provide them with captivating images and informative text alongside responsive design and clear calls to action. Since your website will the first point of the contact for some customers, you need to focus on usability and performance.
If you want to do business with large institutions like universities and corporations, you may have to be punchout-enabled. A punchout catalog is a type of eCommerce website which allows these buyers to make purchases directly from their e-procurement systems. Many eCommerce sites which use punchout catalogs find they help them to get paid faster and have better control over their inventory. They are also more likely to retain customers given the ease and flexibility of the platform. Punchout catalogs remove the need for you to update hosted catalogs for multiple buyers since they get their pricing information when they connect to your catalog.
Provide Seamless Payment Integration
It is likely that your buyers have individual payment terms but they may still want the added convenience of digital invoicing and payments. Consider giving them the ability to better track their payments but offering different invoicing and payment options. As far as possible, design your eCommerce platform to integrate with all the leading accounting systems and payment gateways. Be sure to put the necessary security measures in place to protect customers’ financial data.
Offer a Mobile First Experience
B2B buyers and researchers are using mobile devices more and more for search queries and purchases. You need to have a mobile-focused strategy if you want to meet their expectations and not leave money on the table. To succeed in the current marketplace, you need engaging mobile-first content which includes features like augmented reality and near field communication. Companies which don’t keep up with changes in the industry will lose out to those who do. There is a lot of competition for customer loyalty so you can’t afford to be left behind.
Big eCommerce companies may seem like they are large and in charge but smaller, independent companies can make a name for themselves and achieve high levels of success. You’re more likely to meet the needs of niche markets and because of this specialization, you can offer greater expertise and better customer service. To make the most of these advantages, you must be consistently innovating and investing in your product. Customers are becoming increasingly demanding and they will expect you to offer the same experience they get elsewhere. Meet their needs and expectations and you’ll be well on your way to achieving success.
Samantha Wallace is a veteran tech writer and editor who has worked in several eCommerce companies. She has been covering technology online for over five years. She is the Content Advocate for Greenwingtechnology.com.