As a manufacturer or wholesale distributor, the secret to B2B e-Commerce is simple. File away for later the technical discussions about integration and backend workflows. For now forget about consumerization, mobile devices, or social.
The secret to B2B e-commerce is to acknowledge this simple premise:
”B2B customers come to you and your website because more times than not they have to. It is their job. So make it easy.
Remember it’s a job they do every day, sometimes maybe needing you available 24/7. Your typical B2B customer will seek out the supplier, the partner that gives them more than anywhere else – the path of least resistance to get that repetitive job done.
Your whole B2B customer experience simply has to be about making your customer’s job easier.
Trying to figure out what B2B features to implement? Look carefully at your customers and how they do what they do.
Get out and go visit them and work out what you could do online to make them more efficient in their job. Efficiency for your B2B customer when transacting online with you is paramount to retain them, lower your operating costs and grow sales.
What gets exciting for you as a B2B partner is when you start fleshing out and finding clear opportunities to service your B2B customers and creating tools and features that no one else has thought of specifically for them.
These custom improvements build “lock-in” type relationships with your B2B customers. It drives and incentivises them to come back to your site, and often. They will buy and spend more. It will build loyalty.
Being their favoured B2B partner will give you the platform and profile to continuously talk about new products and categories.
Why do I need to do this?
The key reasons why you need to do this in the B2B digital world are because:
- Your customers don’t need to be loyal to you anymore at any level
- You cannot shield your customers away from the supply chain like in the past
- Geographical control is gone
- Procurement teams now scour the globe for best product, servicing and even financing
- Doing business now even in B2B is increasingly real-time, 24/7
Your B2B digital commerce platform has to be able to move in tune and ahead of these realities.
Our Intershop Blueprint solution for B2B customers fast tracks the implementation of all business areas, brands, sales channels, locations, suppliers and related distributors.
The solution allows you to implement flexible approval processes linked to departments, cost centres, budgets and product groups all with easy access to product, price, and order status information.
The Intershop B2B platform also supports extensive personalisation of catalogues, pricing and purchase limits all within a 24/7 self-service driven customer service environment.
Finally, as always the customer experience end to end is just as relevant in B2B as it has always been in B2C.
Your B2B customer at home expects a great experience as a consumer of online retail so don’t think you can deliver any less to them at work as your B2B customer.
The same experience is now expected and to attract and retain your B2B customer is going to be just as testing and relentless as it is in the B2C digital landscape.