Here are 8 important dynamics for picking the right B2B platform:
1. Tight ERP Integration
In B2B, customer-specific pricing requires live pricing and inventory calls to the ERP. You are dealing with customer-specific rules, custom catalogs, requests to view order history, tier pricing, cart to quote, payment on account and more! This means more complexity from an integration standpoint. Choose an eCommerce platform that facilitates tight ERP integration.
2. Handle Lots of Data
You know this better than anyone: gathering and maintaining data on each and every one of your products is not a negligible task. This information takes up space. So while most eCommerce platforms can handle pictures, descriptions, etc. you may need a platform that can handle a significantly larger amount of data.
3. A Customer Portal
For B2B, your site needs to:
- identify your customers and associate them to a location or business entity
- accommodate the roles and privileges in the customer’s workflow
- display personalized content with customer-specific pricing, product mix, and relevant terms.
As most B2C platforms cannot support these fundamental requirements, make sure the platform you choose is optimized for B2B, preferably with a customer portal that displays transactional information like open invoices, service tickets, order history, credit information, warranty information, shipping confirmations and more …
4. Easy Navigation
Intuitive navigation has a big impact on your customers’ shopping experience. Say you are in the HVAC business and someone selects a Carrier WeatherMakerⓇ 48A, the navigation needs to then filter products by this model and continue filtering when the customer navigates to other product categories.
A make-model-year sticky can save the customer the hassle of having to input the same information over and over again. It’s a question of understanding what your customers are trying to accomplish and clearing the way for them to meet those goals.
5. Turbocharge Your Sales Reps’ Capacity
- show customers new products (maybe by using a tablet or an in-store desktop) and answer their questions thanks to rich product information
- process “requests for quote”
- intervene and assist clients with complex configurations
- access inventory and location information and provide transparency on pickup or delivery options.
More than ever, people are making purchases on their mobile devices. This is the case in B2C and increasingly in B2B. Think about your customer segments and how you can make their lives easier through mobile.
7. Fast Loading Times
The faster the site’s loading speed, the better your conversion rate. Need we say more?
8. Can’t Find? Can’t Buy.
Choose an eCommerce platform with a multi-faceted search engine that creates synonyms and finds products based on alternate product names, industry jargon and SKUs. Your site should also associate products and recommendations quickly based on previous customer selections and order history.
Your website isn’t just a channel for selling. Done properly, it enhances the entirety of your customer’s journey. But your website is not the only place where you need to be taking up space.