Date: 13 January 2017
5 steps towards efficient B2B eCommerce
Not all SME’s sell to consumers – many of them strictly sell to other businesses. Now that nearly all commerce is increasingly being shifted towards the internet, effective B2B eCommerce becomes more and more important as well. It’s still in its infancy now, but it is predicted to mature quickly.
Frost & Sullivan expect total B2B ecommerce sales worldwide to reach $6.7 trillion by 2020, accounting for 27% of all B2B sales.
In other words: it’s best to be prepared! Seeing as B2B requires a somewhat different strategy than B2C (business-to-consumer) does, we are happy to provide you with some tips on how to get the most out of B2B eCommerce.
1.Identify your customers’ persona
A major difference between B2B and B2C eCommerce is that the amount of available customers is usually much smaller and more specific. That makes it more important to identify your customers’ persona: what do they do, what do they like and what does their business structure look like? In short, a customer persona is a short, fictional biography of your target customers. It should include:
- Technological use
You can take it a step further, though. Detailed customer persona’s may also include things like motivations for using a product, business aspirations or their preferred means of communication. Plus, you should never rule out consumers. You may not sell to them, but your customers might. Take into account what effects your products and services might have on your customer’s costumers, and use that knowledge to sell.
2.Show that your business is reliable
Much like you want to know who your customers are, your customers want to know who you are. While your web shop serves as a focal point of your eCommerce, it’s equally important to showcase who you are and why customers should trust your SME. Tell them about your core business, your employees and your unique selling points in the “About Us” section on your website, and make sure the information stays updated. We also recommend adding sections for testimonials from partners and customers to create a sense of trust.
Finally, online trust can be enhanced by being active on several social media platforms.
Spotlight Communications revealed in an infographic that social media presence – mainly Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube – generates business exposure, increases traffic and provides marketplace insight. Some examples of businesses using social media well for B2B purposes are IBM and Intel.
3.Make your online shop bespoke
Much like personalised marketing, your customers and business partners enjoy a personalised, easy-to-use eCommerce environment. Many web shop tools allow rather detailed customisation, up to the point where shopping environments can be adjusted to a specific customer. Additionally, allowing customers to create accounts where they can find all their bills, invoices and full order history contributes greatly to positive user experience.
Ecwid is a great example of a bespoke web shop system. Not only is it easy to use for both its owners as well as their customers, it also offers a wide range of customisations to fit your business and your target audience, such as profile creation, a smart shipping calculator and more than 40 different payment options. All Trendzer website packages offer the possibility to open an integrated Ecwid shop for free.
4.Go into detail
Many B2B products tend to be more technical and complex than B2C products. That’s why B2B eCommerce requires more attention to detail. Make sure your web shop informs customers about your products as much as possible, and add sorting and filter options that make it easier for your customers to find what they’re looking for. Some common examples are:
- Price range
- Customer rating
Additionally, try to add images and video material that support your product description. Not only does it look more appealing, it also gives businesses you’re selling to a sense of security about their investment. By doing this, you make it easier for customers to buy products that meet their needs as specifically as possible, which is especially beneficial within the B2B market.
5.Promote your products
ECommerce doesn’t stop at creating a web shop and loading your products. Because B2B sales cycles are generally longer than B2C cycles, it’s essential to create strong leads and “calls to action” that encourage customers to buy.
Bespoke content marketing ensures that customers find your shop and, after having a positive experience with your business, become returning customers. Create engaging blog posts, newsletters, images, videos and more to improve your online findability and promote your products within the right B2B market(s). For more information on how to do this, read some of our
blog articles on content marketing!
That’s all, folks!
That’s it for this week’s blog entry. We hope these tips will help your business thrive in the B2B market. Make sure to check back on our website soon for a new blog post!