As more and more information shows the growth of B2B ecommerce and as it proves itself as a viable option for B2B companies, it is important to understand how to build a B2B ecommerce practice that current customers will want to migrate to, and an online site that prospects will be drawn to and encouraged by. Even Forrester research sees that this is become increasingly important as more companies adopt B2B ecommerce into their strategies. Forrester recently published a “playbook” that examines the B2B ecommerce landscape and how companies can see success in the future. Some of the topics touched on in the playbook include:
- Business case
- Strategic planning
- Customer experience
- Continuous improvement
- And more
Purchase the Forrester playbook here
In addition to the items touched on in the Forrester playbook, there are a number of other things your B2B ecommerce site needs for success, such as:
-Attractive design: All B2B customers are also B2C customers who have spent years making their personal purchases online. Those B2C experiences we have become accustomed to have given us a very specific idea of what all ecommerce should look like, whether it is for personal use or for business.
-Quick information: Be sure to have full product descriptions that tell your customers exactly what they are looking at. Make sure your information is always up to date.
-Ease of navigation: there are so many things that can turn your customers off to business to business ecommerce and poor site navigation is one of the biggest ways to guarantee they will not use your ecommerce site for their purchasing. A simple search and/or filter options can greatly improve the navigation of your site.
A simple checkout process: Have you ever abandoned a cart because you could not figure out how to check out? Or because you were required to fill out never-ending forms and required fields? I know I have…quite a few times actually. Make your checkout process as simple and straightforward as possible. Get your customers through the site, from beginning to end, in as few clicks as possible with as few screen changes as possible.
Obvious contact information: Part of your reasoning for online business was probably to cut down on time and resources spent on the phone with customers, but if they have questions make it easy for them to contact you so they don’t go to your competition instead.
-Customer specific pricing: Many B2B ecommerce solutions do not have the ability to handle this extremely important function. B2B companies have different pricing levels for different customers and regions.
-Purchase orders and invoices: It is important that your B2B ecommerce storefront can do more than accept credit cards as many of your customers will make purchases that will be paid later of in stages. Additionally, using a storefront that does not have the ability to handle POs and invoices created more work for your team.
- Security: Keeping customer and company information safe should be at the top of your list. This is just as important to your customers as it is to you- be sure your store has messaging, badges, etc. So your customers feel safe when they purchase on your site.
- Integration with ERP, CRM, and other back-end systems: having all of the information automatically filter into one place not only saves you time, money, and headaches, it will help your support team if a customer calls in with an issue after making an online purchase. This blog is dedicated to discussing this critical factor in more detail.
For more information and tips for selecting a best-fit ecommerce solution, check out this white paper