Is Your B2B E-commerce Platform Well-equipped to Grow Your Sales?
Does this question make you think? If yes, we are here to discuss the must-have features for B2B e-commerce platform that makes it well-equipped for sales. But before that, let’s understand why this question is important.
B2B e-commerce landscape is embracing a rapid transformation in the present times. The rate of online B2B transactions is at an all-time high. And the pandemic situation has added significantly to the rise of online B2B sales channel.
As estimated by experts, B2B e-commerce will amount to 75% of B2B procurement within 5 years.
However, here are some considerations that will impact your online B2B success significantly. These include:
- The rapidly growing competition in the B2B e-commerce sector
- Akin to B2C e-commerce, B2B marketplaces are likely to establish a dominating presence.
- Most of the B2B buyers today are millennials, who are smart buyers. They would not settle down for any inefficiency in their shopping experience. Thus, your B2B e-commerce shopping experience will impact your sales significantly.
With that said, you need to plan your B2B e-commerce presence prudently. Moreover, the platform you choose must have the latest B2B e-commerce features.
So, let us check if your B2B e-commerce platform is well-equipped for sales. And, does it sports the right feature list for delivering a superior shopping experience?
Let’s scrutinize our e-commerce platforms!
Must-have Features for B2B E-commerce Platform
1. Impressive Front-end Features for the Buyers
We are witnessing an unceasing growth in online B2B sales in the present times. And many B2B businesses are trying to leverage the opportunity with makeshift solutions.
Businesses are opting for sales via email, MVP websites, and even social media e-commerce pages. However, they aren’t able to draw consistent returns or sales.
Businesses must understand that online B2B procurement is a major future trend. And it isn’t deluding anytime soon. Moreover, B2B buyers are reluctant to make a purchase from makeshift platforms.
So, here are some of the main features your B2B e-commerce platform must include for a better shopping experience:
- Secure authorization and authentication
- Dynamic product search, intuitive filters and sorting
- One-click ordering feature with secure buyer information storage
- Prompt and robust online payment feature
- Order tracking and Support feature
- ‘View previous orders’ feature and integrated repeat ordering
- Seamless order procurement with shipment instructions
- Beneficial customer loyalty program and offers
- Limited order cancellation and ‘booking returns’ features
These features will not only attract millennial B2B buyers but allow them to shop seamlessly. A feature-rich B2B e-commerce platform makes it far easier for you to onboard B2B buyers.
Further, a report from Gartner says,
B2B buyers are more inclined to buy from marketplaces. And B2B marketplaces are likely to dominate B2B sales within 5 years.
Now, the surest way to future-proof from this disruption is by establishing functional B2B platforms. These can help your B2B brand establish a distinct presence and will translate into a loyal buyer base.
So, if your e-commerce platform is not equipped with essential B2B features, consider upgrading it. It is advisable to look for an e-commerce platform that offers in-built support for these features.
2. E-commerce Features to Localize and Personalize the Shopping Experience
Today, millennials are at the top of B2B decision-making. In fact, 73% of millennials have a crucial role to play in the B2B industry decisions.
In tandem with this factor, we must understand that millennials are smart buyers. They would any day choose personalization over generic efforts. And therefore, businesses must start deploying personalized features for their B2B platforms.
If you are still not convinced here are some important stats:
According to a B2B survey, 50% of the B2B buyers preferably search for a B2B seller that offers personalization.
Another report claims that many B2B businesses have always stayed prompt at employing personalization as a part of their business strategy. And these businesses invest 55% of their marketing budget in personalizing the shopping experience for their buyers.
No wonder, personalization will have a crucial impetus on your online B2B sales.
So, how can I employ personalization features for my B2B e-commerce platform?
A smart way to employ personalization is by using personalization tools. However, you must make sure that your B2b e-commerce solution allows easy integration with these tools.
Content personalization tools help you employ AI and machine learning features. These tools can offer dynamically personalized content based on the visitors’ interests. The content personalization tools work better in the case of B2B e-commerce. This is because B2B e-commerce platforms already gain access to buyer data while onboarding them.
Businesses also employ AI-based upsell & cross-sell tools to deliver personalized offers. These tools show personalized offers to buyers based on their interests, profile, and search behaviours.
In many cases, personalized upsell & cross-sell offers deliver a significant increase in AOV (Average Order Value). It also increases conversions and the success rate for repeat sales.
So, your e-commerce platform must allow integration with such tools.
3. Functional Backend Features for Efficient Operations
One of the most common inefficiencies with some e-commerce solutions is limited backend support. These solutions only offer frontend e-commerce functionality and the staff has to support backend operations manually.
Resultantly, B2B operations are unproductive and the cost of e-commerce management is also high.
As per a survey, 57% of B2B executives consider backend features a crucial part of e-commerce integration. And it is important for improving the productivity and accuracy in the backend processes.
Some essential backend features for B2B E-commerce:
- Inventory management feature
- Buyer on-boarding and KYC management
- Payment management and automated notifications
- Order tracking and delivery management
- Personalized offers management
- Customer loyalty program
- Buyer contract management
Many B2B e-commerce solutions even offer automated operations management features. Moreover, these must-have features for B2B e-commerce platform can reduce the cost of the operations by up to 30%.
These features eliminate or minimize the use of paperwork and further improves productivity. Moreover, the management responsibilities are shared between the manager and the platform. Thus, making e-commerce management highly efficient.
Today, more & more businesses are choosing feature-rich e-commerce software. They are more invested in growing the sales, instead of exhausting their efforts in manual backend operations.
4. In-built Analytics Feature for Precious Data
A crucial part of your B2B business management is creating strategies. And your business data is important for informing these strategies.
Now, when you choose your B2B e-commerce platform, you must lookout for the analytics feature. This feature allows you to sort data to inform your B2B e-commerce strategies.
Many traditional e-commerce platforms do not have an in-built analytics feature. In that case, businesses integrate 3rd party analytics tools to analyse the business data.
However, 3rd party tools may produce a security loophole in your e-commerce platform. Moreover, 3rd party tools can be inefficient, and they do not allow data analysis in real-time.
So, the surest way to get the most out of your data insights is through an in-built analytics feature.
Some crucial data metrics that will help you inform your B2B e-commerce business, include:
- Monthly or annual sales and profits
- Product categories with highest conversions
- Demographics that offer the best conversion
- The months that draw the highest sales
- The most important B2B buyers
- The average conversion rate on your e-commerce app
- The most common exit pages on your e-commerce app
- Inventory turns
- Product categories that do not perform
- Cart abandonment rate on the platform
- Order fulfilment rate
- Demand to supply ratio for performing product categories
- Maximum delays in shipment
- Most performing offers
- Upsells & cross-sell offers that increase the average order value
- Customer loyalty and repeat ordering rate
- Profit to sales ratio
These data metrics can help you plan your strategies for maximum returns. It will also help you remove the loopholes and inefficiencies in B2B e-commerce management.
This business data will also help you inform personalization tools. So, these tools can produce personalized content and offer based on these data insights.
As with the increasing competition in B2B e-commerce, you must use data to your advantage. So, analytics is a must-have feature for the B2B e-commerce platform.
5. Supply Chain Management Features
The supply chain management process is one of the most important parts of e-commerce operations. And the efficiency of this process plays a crucial role in cost reduction.
Today, B2B buyers prefer faster order fulfilment rate with minimal back & forth. And so, manual supply chain management processes tend to off-put B2B buyers.
Your B2B e-commerce solution must be able to support all major supply chain management tasks. These tasks include order processing, order fulfilment tasks, and shipment tracking.
As per a survey, 43% of supply chain management executives believe that the traditional order fulfilment process increases the shipping cost.
So, your B2B e-commerce platform should be well-equipped with order fulfilment features.
An array of supply chain management features important for your B2B e-commerce app:
- The real-time order tracking feature
- Automated task allocation feature to the supply chain staff
- Automated shipment tracking notifications
- Shipping records management
- Shipping invoice management
The above features will allow you to increase the efficiency and accuracy of supply chain management. And this will translate into reduced operations cost, better customer loyalty, more sales, and repeat orders.
Moreover, the elimination of manual management activities will eliminate the need for a large operations team. This further adds to your cost savings.
6. Integration Support and Seamless E-commerce Operations
Except for must-have B2B e-commerce features, your platform must be compatible with several e-commerce functionalities.
Your B2B e-commerce platform must seamlessly integrate with:
- Popular & robust payment gateways
- Essential analytics tools
- Several online marketing and email marketing tools
- Personalization and localization tools (content and deals personalization)
- External automation or business process management tools
These are just some basic categories for smooth e-commerce operations. However, there are several other types of integrations critical to e-commerce management.
And so, it is advisable to choose an advanced B2B e-commerce solution that offers seamless integration for smooth business management.
7. Mobile Platform Compatibility
Today, 73% of the leaders who are at the forefront of decision-making in the B2B industry are millennials. And these smart buyers keep smartphone handy to access B2B e-commerce as well.
60% of the B2B businesses report mobile platform to play a significant role in the online B2B sales in 2020.
Let’s keep data at our disposal:
- Google’s data claims that 42% of B2B buyers use smartphones to research B2B-related deals online.
- Established B2B businesses draw 40% of their sales via mobile devices.
All things considered, the mobile platform holds crucial importance for B2B e-commerce.
However, some e-commerce platforms offer limited support for mobile platforms. This generally translates into unresponsive websites that look cluttered on mobile devices. And an unresponsive e-commerce site is significantly off-putting for a majority of online shoppers.
There are also issues like limited support for creating mobile app versions of a site. And therefore it might increase the integration and development cost.
Mobile platform compatibility is a must-have feature for a B2B e-commerce platform. If you fail to serve the user traffic via mobile devices, you are most likely to lose a significant amount of sales.
Except for mobile platform, advanced B2B e-commerce platforms generally offer omnichannel support. These allow marketers to employ consistent omnichannel experience.
Moreover, marketers gear up for omnichannel marketing and sales.
Today, B2B businesses are enjoying a rapid increase in online buyer traffic. And many B2B businesses have already resorted to B2B e-commerce solutions.
However, still, a huge amount of B2B businesses are only offering makeshift e-commerce solution. And these arrangements are more likely to slow down their pace in the long run. Some businesses might also lose their recurring business if they are reluctant to adopt this rapid digitization.
So, above are some of the must-have features for B2B e-commerce. These features are crucial for future-proofing your business against the rapid transformation in the industry and the growing competition. Moreover, these features help you grow your e-commerce sales.
So, look out for the front-end, backend, and e-commerce management features listed above. And find the loopholes in your e-commerce platform.