More and more companies are making use of the option of simply placing orders via the online shop for their purchases.
According to the recent study of the ibi research institute of the University of Regensburg, around 40 percent of companies already buy from their business partners’ online shops. The result also shows that there is still potential for growth in B2B shops despite the increasing relevance of online trading.
If you are considering expanding your B2B business with a corresponding online offer, you should pay attention to certain peculiarities in contrast to classic B2C online shops. We have summarized for you which functions should not be missing in your B2B shop.
5 Important Features of B2B Ecommerce
1. Mobile capability is also desired in the B2B shop.
Many B2B customers are already familiar with mobile use from their private sphere and therefore, similar convenience is also expected in the business sector. For 55 percent of the experts from the above-mentioned B2B study, mobile optimization of the B2B shop is a very important factor. Therefore, when creating your B2B shop, pay attention to a responsive design for a pleasant mobile user experience.
In this way, your customers can interact with the online shop without interference, even when they are on the go. A typical example from the B2B area is the warehouse worker who reorders inventory directly on the shelf using a tablet, while the person in charge approves the order via his PC in the office.
2. Provide role-based information for each user
Depending on their role in the purchasing process, your customers need different information. Prepare all information in your B2B shop according to the respective customer role and show your expertise. According to experts, the most relevant information for a B2B buyer is the availability of the goods (91%), the expected delivery time (75%) as well as a price overview (72%), and the product description (63%), as the above-mentioned study shows.
In the B2B area, in particular, the interests of various groups of people need to be covered as precisely as possible. Provide more detailed product descriptions and technical datasheets for the technicians who fill company shopping carts so that they can assess compatibility and usability. Make financing methods and shipping information such as delivery times easily accessible and transparent so that financial decision-makers can quickly get an overview.
If possible, availabilities, purchase recommendations, quality seals or references with reports from existing customers can also be offered as white papers, which provide further value for project managers and managing directors for approval.
3. Differentiated rights and roles for the ordering process
B2B shops should also have corresponding functionalities for customer groups in the customer account. With these, the companies can, for example, assign specific rights and roles for the ordering process to their own employees within the account.
As a rule, it makes sense here for your customer to be able to define their own budget limits, up to which an employee can freely order, and to have the option of mapping approval workflows directly in the shop.
Furthermore, it makes sense to set up an individual product range according to the industry of the corporate customer. Another feature that you should also offer is the option of storing various order lists or shopping baskets in the customer account.
4. Detailed search and filter functions are essential
How do you convey all this information in your online shop? Use intuitive navigation in the B2B shop, and also offer a detailed and complex search function, because this is of great importance to customers overall.
In the B2B area, it is even explicitly mentioned as a very important function, as 88 percent of the study, participants state. Using the search function, article numbers can be researched or entered directly. Preview images can be displayed, in real-time and brief information can be requested. A filter function is also mentioned by 57 percent of those surveyed as an essential function of a B2B online shop.
5. Personal contact for specific advice
You can also offer a wide range of services for the various requirements and communication channels of your customers and assign your business customers a personal contact. He knows your wishes and can provide technical support. It is how you create trust and expand your customer relationships. It will also help your customer if you make communication with the contact person as easy as possible. Use modern means of communication, such as live chat or WhatsApp for Business.
In the end, what counts: inspire corporate customers.
Apart from topics such as mobility, customer-oriented approach and certain services, B2B online shops are geared towards the needs of companies. The complexity of the customer is reflected in the expanded functionality of the customer account. Individual shop views and order options are based on the respective business partner with whom a long-term customer relationship is sought.
Above all, remember that your business customers value efficiency, and time pressure often plays a role. Accordingly, be cautious about excessive promotional offers or distracting information. The most important thing, however, is to convince customers of your products and services and to inspire them to work with you in the future with suitable offers.