For a long time, eCommerce was primarily the domain of Business to Consumer (B2C) sales. However, Business to Business (B2B) transactions are starting to see an increase in the number of sales that come via eCommerce. In fact, it’s projected that the total share of eCommerce sales in B2B transactions will grow to 17% by 2023, up from 13% in 2019.
What this means is that if you’re interested in running a B2B eCommerce store, now is the perfect time to start. To run a successful B2B business, though, you need to find ways to stay ahead of your competition and reach as many customers as possible. Below are some tips you can use to run your B2B eCommerce store and hopefully turn it into a long-term success.
Choose the Right eCommerce Platform
To start, you need the right eCommerce platform. eCommerce platforms provide you with all the tools you need to make sales online. However, some of them are better suited for B2B transactions than others. You’ll want to explore different options to find the one that best suits your needs and budget.
Some common options for eCommerce platforms include WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and Magento. These can be a good place to start your search, however, there are other options available. When exploring each option, some of the features you’ll want to look for include:
- Warehouse integration
- Customer registration
- Custom pricing
- Product search
- Order management (status updates, tracking information, etc)
Typically, the more features you get, the more you’ll need to pay. Therefore, it’s a matter of finding the right balance between the features you need and your budget. You can also look for an eCommerce platform that allows you to easily upgrade to a better plan in the future after your business has some success.
Make it Easy to Complete a Purchase
A key thing to focus on is making it as easy as possible for your customers to complete checkout. The longer it takes for a customer to buy something, the more likely it is that they’ll give up and look elsewhere. Start by focusing on the checkout process provided by your eCommerce platform. Look to remove as many steps as possible so that customers can finish fast.
You may also need to provide a way for customers to complete different types of purchases. For example, you may sell both individual items and wholesale. You’ll need a website where customers can both add individual items to a cart and review line sheets filled with product images, descriptions, various sizes and colors, as well as wholesale prices so that you don’t miss out on any sales.
The third thing you can do is look to add multiple payment options. Other business owners may have different ways that they want to pay. If you can accept credit cards, digital cash transfers, and electronic checks, you open yourself up to more possible sales.
Focus on Customer Support
Customer support is a big part of B2B sales. You need to make sure that every customer gets the attention they need, otherwise, they could turn to another business. Look for ways to provide customer service as quickly as possible.
One way to do this is to hire more people to monitor your email messages and social media mentions. If this is where you receive the majority of your customer service requests, this is a good place to start. Another option you could consider is adding a live chat feature to your website. Live chat allows your customer service team to quickly chat with customers, which can reduce the load on other service channels. You can even add a chatbot to your live chat feature to reduce the workload of your customer service team even further.
Regardless of how you handle customer support, you should also make it a priority to gather information from these sessions. Learn what customers ask about or complain about. This is the best way to make improvements to your operation and prevent future customer service requests, while also making your customers happier.
Market Your B2B eCommerce Store the Right Way
Finally, it’s important to market your B2B eCommerce store correctly. You should start by ensuring that all your marketing messages are tailored specifically to your audience of other business owners. Use language that they would use and cover topics that are important to them.
If you’re looking for a way to market your business, consider trying content marketing. With content marketing, you generate high-quality content that attracts people to your website. You can then use this content to promote your products. For example, a company that sells business uniforms may create a blog post about improving team morale.
Finally, a great option for B2B eCommerce sites is adding in a loyalty program. Often, B2B businesses rely on return customers more than new ones. A loyalty program encourages your past customers to stick with you for future purchases. This not only makes the customer happy but can help your business grow. For example, after someone spends a certain amount on your products, you could provide them with a discount on their next purchase. It’s a small gesture that rewards loyalty and encourages repeat customers.
Improving Your B2B eCommerce Business Going Forward
With the tips above, you should be able to have a strong start to your B2B eCommerce store. If you want it to continue to grow though, you’ll need to always be on the lookout for new ideas. Look for new technologies that can help you manage your customers, tools that can speed up your checkout process, or new marketing strategies to try.
As more businesses get into eCommerce, the landscape will continue to change. By providing your business with a strong foundation online, and combining that with the willingness to find and try new ideas, you give yourself the best chance at long-term success. Hopefully, the ideas above are able to help you get started and you’ll be one of the many B2B businesses benefiting from eCommerce sales.