Whether you’re in the planning stages of launching a B2B eCommerce website or you’re looking to rehaul the one you have, the adage “knowledge is power” comes to mind.
You’ll want to start by gathering data on the industry you plan on entering or are already serving. What are the market leaders doing in your space doing to succeed at B2B sales? More importantly, what tactics and strategies are they deploying online to make it easy on the B2B buyer.
Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been in the business for years, you should be shopping online and buying products on your competitor’s sites to see how they perform.
Think about the experience that your customer wants and expects, not what you can afford or are willing to address. If buyers in your industry are used to purchasing experiences that are as sophisticated as a consumer’s, then technology and applications should be a strategic initiative.
So, let’s cover some key, attainable initiatives to make B2B buying a breeze, in order of most important to least important.
Enable self-service ordering. In other words, make it possible for buyers to purchase everything they need, even in large quantities and a wide range of SKUs, without the need to contact customer service. Find a B2B eCommerce vendor that enables grid ordering for large, bulk orders. Think about this way, the last thing you want to do is make it difficult for your customers to place large orders on their own.
Offer your customer the ability to sign in to view account orders with shipping status, credit limits and more. In the event you offer volume or customer-specific pricing; ideally your customer will see only their price when they log in to their profile. Make reordering of their frequently ordered product as simple as clicking a button.
Enable technology that not only allows you to view inventory in real time but allows your customer to do so as well. Ideally, when customers are logged in and visit a product page or bulk ordering page, they can see inventory levels as well. Your customer might require a product by a specific date and may need to order elsewhere if you don’t have it in stock. Don’t withhold that information and allow your customer to pay for an item that won’t arrive by the time it’s needed. The more transparent you are with information, the more appreciative your customer will be.
Product content is key to better conversions. If your customers don’t have to look hard to find this information, they’re less likely to leave your site to find the information elsewhere. Detailed product pages should include a product description, measurements, materials, a high-res image and any supporting attachments (like a spec or data sheet).
Give your customer or B2B buyer several options on how they want to receive updates on their order. Without a doubt, email your customer an order summary with an itemized listing of their order, order number and a tracking number. Do give your customers the option to track their order via SMS text message or email update.