If you use the B2B business model without a website or don't have a best-in-class B2B eCommerce platform, you're missing out on a lot of sales.
B2B eCommerce continues to grow every year and now accounts for more than $8 trillion worth of trade. This means that your site needs to be more robust and accessible than ever to keep your customers satisfied and acquire new B2B sales leads ( see what is B2B sales).
We can help with both!
Read on to learn about B2B ecommerce platforms, the features you should look for, and how they'll help your business grow.
B2B eCommerce Examples
B2B eCommerce is conducted across many industries and by businesses of all sizes.
Here are a few examples of the businesses that use B2B eCommerce:
- Conglomerates with multiple brands. Some of the largest and most well-known international companies have many brands under their belts, each with their own websites. To do this, they use high-end headless eCommerce platforms that can handle massive traffic and multiple sites.
- Small businesses. Many small B2B businesses use all-in-one online platforms that let them list, market, and sell their products or services with ease. These platforms are more streamlined than the ones used by large businesses and have on-call customer service staff to help with any issues.
- Entrepreneurs with no storage. Many new B2B businesses don't have the ability to store or ship the goods they sell. They need an eCommerce platform that automatically forwards orders to a 3rd party dropshipping company that will fulfill the orders. These business are changing the idea of what is B2B.
What Is B2B eCommerce Platform?
A B2B eCommerce platform is an online service that allows B2B businesses to conduct business more easily. It is a tool that allows you to build a digital storefront, add and remove product listings, make sales, and take payments. Unlike other eCommerce platforms, A B2B eCommerce platform will usually have sections of the site locked away that can only be accessed by customers with login credentials. These credentials are usually granted only to those that pay recurring payments and they are given access to unique products and pricing. There are quite a few other unique features for a B2B eCommerce platform.
Features of B2B eCommerce Platform
With so many options on the market, it's important to get the best platform for your business. Here are eight features to look for in a B2B eCommerce platform:
- Volume discounts. Unlike direct to consumer brands, a B2B company's sales often involve large order volumes and discounts serve as a valuable marketing tool (see what is B2B marketing). Look for a platform that lets you make discount tiers based on order quantity to automate the process, like BlueCart. B2B businesses need to use different tools for marketing than traditional D2C marketing.
- Customer segmentation. B2B customers and their orders are not equal. Segmenting your B2B customers into groups will allow you to better understand each group and tailor your offerings to meet their needs.
- Personalized offerings. This goes hand-in-hand with customer segmentation and allows you to set different prices and feature different products for your customers. This may be by order level, geographic location, or any other qualifier. Many in the food industry use BlueCart specifically for this including those involved in coffee eCommerce.
- Access restriction. Most B2B businesses will want to require customers to log in to their site to gain access to their offerings. Look for a platform with the ability to set up a password-protected site so you can let only registered businesses access your content. BlueCart offers this ability among many other security tools.
- Minimum order quantities. You don't want to have to ship a single product in your wholesale marketplace. Use an online marketplace platform like BlueCart that lets you set a minimum order quantity, or MOQ, so you can keep your shipping costs low and your profits high.
- Easy reordering. B2B customers tend to order the same products multiple times, and recurring order management is also part of hospitality software platforms. Making it easier to reorder these products will make your customers more satisfied and can lead to more purchases. BlueCart is great at this and even has “standing orders”, which are essentially automated recurring orders. You can even sell DTC food along with your B2B sales, so you can grow your market easily.
- Flexible payment options. The more options for B2B payments available, the more likely your customers are to convert. Look for a platform that can accommodate a variety of payment options including checks, credit cards, electronic transfers, and net 30 invoicing. BlueCart offers all these options and more.
- Easy to use UX. If your site is hard to navigate, you'll lose more customers than you convert. Make sure your platform offers a seamless frontend that your customers can understand. Categories should look like a polished line sheet.
Open Source B2B eCommerce Platform
One of the newest types of eCommerce (see what is e commerce) platforms being used by B2B businesses is open source. This means these are entirely free platforms that anyone can use and modify to fit their needs. The benefits of B2B ecommerce is that you don’t need to pay a fee or go through a company to build and edit your site. This saves both time and money. However, if you don’t have the technical knowledge or the infrastructure to build and maintain a site, you’ll be lost. These platforms should only be used by people with a strong technical background who can make the most out of them.
B2B eCommerce Website Tips
Once you’ve settled on the B2B eCommerce platform you’re going to use, you’ll have to start building your website. There are many ways you can do this, but there are a few best practices to follow to get the most out of your eCommerce platform.
Follow these tips when building your B2B eCommerce website:
- Show retail and wholesale pricing on product pages. One of the best ways to show the benefits of being a wholesale customer is to highlight the savings involved. You can still lock the wholesale price behind a subscription, but if the product pages show wholesale vs retail price, you’re more likely to convince people to pay for access and increase sales.
- Use personalization if possible. Personalized landing pages, product offerings, and marketing can increase your conversion rate dramatically. Check with your platform provider to see how you can use the platform in this way. Likely, there are widgets you can use to add cross selling opportunities and highlight products that you think that customer would like.
- Make all policies clear and customer service easy. All B2B eCommerce platforms will easily let you create pages that explain different processes and policies you have. You’ll want to create a page using our shipping policy template to outline shipping methods, times, restrictions, and more. Then add contact information or a live chat feature so you can answer any questions that may arise and help avoid losing out on sales.
B2B eCommerce Solutions
There are many solutions for B2B eCommerce companies to choose from. Finding one that is tailored to your type of business and that will let you focus on customer satisfaction is key.
For food manufacturers, broadline distributors, and wholesalers (see what is wholesale), and more the best choice is BlueCart. This all-in-one platform is designed to streamline processes and make selling easy. It lets business owners monitor their product catalogs and sales, manage and fulfill incoming orders, and communicate with customers on the fly.
Frequently Asked Questions About B2B eCommerce Platform
What is B2B eCommerce?
B2B eCommerce is the sale of products, goods, and services between businesses through online transactions.
What is an open-source B2B marketplace platform?
An open-source B2B marketplace platform is a kind of software that allows users to have full access to the source code so they can modify and also customize the platform to suit their needs.
What is an example of B2B eCommerce?
An example of B2B eCommerce is Alibaba, AliExpress, Amazon Business, and TradeKey.
Did You Platform an Opinion?
B2B eCommerce platforms are vital tools in growing your B2B business. Now that you know what to look for, you can find a platform that is robust, but cost-effective to help grow your business.
Remember to look for a platform that specifically supports your B2B needs. There are many differences between the tools used by B2B vs. B2C businesses and you don't want to have to shoehorn your business into a B2C platform. Stick with the eCommerce software that works for you and set eCommerce KPIs so you can gauge success and increase eCommerce sales.