1. B2B is a $559B market, twice the size of B2C – but typically only 4% of IT/Marketing budgets are spent on B2B commerce annually.
2. If new to B2B – you should approach it with a plan:Understand channel conflict and incent your inside sales/outside sales staff to utilize the website for allroutine/small orders. That frees up their time to focus on the larger and more complex orders that require human contact.
- Sell like a B2C
- Ability to fulfill via new channels
- Expertise in-house to manage platform
- Disrupt sales structure/channel competition
- Create an amazing customer experience
3. Understand channel conflict and incent your inside sales/outside sales staff to utilize the website for all routine/small orders. That frees up their time to focus on the larger and more complex orders that require human contact.
4. Understand what the B2B site/presence should be to the customer – Sometimes ecommerce doesn’t make sense. B2B companies should try and research whether the site goals should be brand affinity and product/service information or if the site should truly sell online where the goal is to provide easy product search and quick checkout.
5. Merchandising is much different when comparing B2B and B2C. B2B customers are not whimsical shoppers – they are usually in a hurry and need efficiency. B2C sites rely on trying to keep the shoppers on the site longer for more discretionary spending (enhance basket size), whereas, with B2B customers/procurement offices – they typically know exactly what product they need and require the ability to quickly find it, order it, re-order it and check status.
6. Self-Service is one of the main driving forces for B2B sites. Self-service promotes efficiency while helping save costs on inbound phone calls (CSR’s), product search questions, order status, etc. When creating a B2B online store the experience needs to mimic that of a CSR, i.e., the customer should be able to find and do everything online. If some of the required functionality/process necessitates a customer to call in – then they’ll just save everything for that call, including the order.
7. B2B companies should try and incorporate product reviews, if possible. Reviews offer a great source of information for the product/brand and typically allow for a 5x conversion when products have a timely review.
8. B2B sites should incorporate 360 degree views of the product, clear images and should try and use video when appropriate.
9. Price transparency with B2B is often a very critical component. Many B2B companies show MSRP price to the general public and then offer customer specific discount price upon log-in. There are also many one-off orders within B2B that make it hard to maintain steady pricing. It’s imperative to know your customers and to try and segment them as best as possible to maintain and offer consistent pricing.
10. Typically the most important areas when launching a B2B Site include:
- User Interface
- Data Integration
- Real-time inventory