A regular eCommerce store sells products to customers (B2C, or business-to-consumer). A B2B (business-to-business) eCommerce differs from regular eCommerce, since the business model of B2B eCommerce for one business to sell products to another company online.
You might think to yourself: how is selling only to other businesses more profitable than selling to customers?
Here’s the deal.
In 2019, the global B2B eCommerce market was worth $12.2 trillion, and it’s predicted to reach double digit growth in sales by 2024.
In this article, we’ll look at how B2B eCommerce strategy works, what are the industry trends, and so on.
How Does B2B eCommerce Work?
One of the main differences between B2B and B2C eCommerce is that the former tends to utilize longer sales cycles. This is because of larger order sizes, higher costs, and various other factors.
Let’s say company A is a car electronics manufacturer, and company B is a car brand. Company B purchases parts from company A in bulk – large quantities at a lower price. Both organizations are satisfied with the deal, since they both get what they need.
That’s how B2B eCommerce works, put in the simplest of terms.
Now, let’s define all the differences between traditional and B2B eCommerce.
B2B eCommerce vs. B2C eCommerce
There are some key differences between selling to customers and doing business with companies.
When talking about your usual eCommerce store, the process is almost always the same. Namely, a person is looking for something they want to buy, they find it, make the decision, and purchase it. Plus, there’s often the factor of impulse buying.
In B2B eCommerce, however, the decision-making process is often one that involves multiple people. Since it’s a company, typically a group of people from various departments involved in the decision, that makes the purchase. It’s, therefore, always logical and planned, meaning there’s no room for impulse buying.
2. Sales Cycles
Since multiple people and departments are involved, sales cycles in B2B eCommerce tend to be longer and more complicated. Additionally, quite often companies form long-term partnerships with each other, and continue doing business together for extended periods of time.
A B2C sales process is usually quite fast and straightforward, while in B2B relationships, buyers focus on due diligence and want to be certain about the quality of products. This, logically, turns the sales process into a much slower, and complex procedure.
3. Pricing and Orders
One of the popular B2B eCommerce marketing strategies is to allow buyers to have a lot of options, depending on their purchase intent. While B2C products are intended to move quickly, and therefore often have a lot of discounts, B2B sales utilizes more complex discounting that depends on the length of the partnership and the size of the orders.
The orders in B2B eCommerce are also dependent on the shipping zones, where the warehouse is situated, how much customization is necessary for the order, and so on.
This is all easy to explain, since, as mentioned, B2B orders are usually made in bulk.
B2B eCommerce Marketing Strategies to Help Grow Your Business
- Use social media marketing.
- Add detailed information.
- Optimize your search bar.
- Flexible pricing and ordering.
- Good customer service.
- Smooth mobile experience.
- Capitalize on social proof.
1. Use Social Media Marketing
Social media platforms are extremely effective for B2B marketing. In fact, 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers are influenced by social media. LinkedIn is an especially effective social media for B2B marketing, with 80% of leads coming from there, according to B2B marketers.
What’s more, though, other social media could also help you with your marketing efforts – Facebook, TikTok, and even Pinterest all have the potential to generate B2B leads.
2. Add Detailed Information
As we’ve mentioned, B2B sales cycles tend to be longer and more complicated, since a lot of people are involved in the final decision-making process. That’s why it’s crucial to provide clear, detailed information about your products and services.
Product information is considered to be one of the most, if not the most important, aspect of a business website. After all, the potential buyers are most interested in the parameters of the products, how they look, etc. This means that you should always include images, videos, descriptions, and even a pros section, whenever possible.
3. Optimize Your Search Bar
A nice, clean user interface, and a properly working search bar are mandatory for your eCommerce website. This should come to no surprise, since eCommerce stores usually have thousands of products, and pages respectively. No one has the time to waste browsing through all those pages.
Instead, when someone is looking for a specific product, they use the search bar on your website. The proof behind this fact comes from a 2018 BigCommerce B2B survey, where 71% of respondents state that a website that’s easy to navigate is among the most important selling points.
After all, there are tricks that make searching a website easier. One can use the site: nameofwebsite.com + topic (site: devrix.com + eCommerce) in a Google search to find all related pages and articles. Still, a lot of people are either not aware of this technique or wouldn’t be interested in making use of it.
Ultimately, make sure that the search bar on your website is working properly, as this will stimulate potential customers.
4. Flexible Pricing and Ordering
What can you do to make a buyer feel happy, free, and willing to shop from your website? For starters, one of the good B2B eCommerce solutions is to give them options to choose from. So, it’s a good idea to review your packages and pricing models, as to offer more freedom of choice, and variety.
For example, you can set up the option for month-to-month deals, or implement discounts for products above a certain amount.
On top of that, if it makes sense to your business, and to your buyers, you could also implement a method of payment via cryptocurrency.
5. Good Customer Service
Having excellent customer service can really help you with new, and existing customers, and to, ultimately, establish a top-notch brand experience. Basically, what you can to do, is to think of ways to improve your customer service and deliver a nice and easy shopping experience to your buyers.
For example, you can extend customer service working hours, implement a chatbot, or use a live chat function on your website. In some cases, a very effective B2B eCommerce strategy is to have a dedicated account manager or sales representative to help.
Actually, 85% of respondents to a survey from Demand Gen, stated that their experience with an appointed sales rep convinced them to commit a purchase.
6. Smooth Mobile Experience
Whatever type of online endeavor you start nowadays, setting up a smooth mobile experience is mandatory.
Just like the average consumer, B2B buyers and decision-makers prefer doing their research and shopping on mobile devices. Some B2B eCommerce trends may come and go, but mobile-friendliness is here to stay.
A good mobile platform can increase use engagement, and even stimulate sales. In fact, 37% of executives admit that they made business purchases between $5,000 and $100,000 on their phones.
7. Capitalize on Social Proof
In regular (B2C) eCommerce, customers are usually influenced by positive user reviews, testimonials, and other ways of real people saying your business is trustworthy and of quality, in terms of both products and services.
It’s not difficult in B2B eCommerce. Everyone wants to do business with an organization that is legit, professional, and reliable. So, use this knowledge to your advantage. Ask your existing customers to leave a review about your business. An extra step you can take to motivate them to do so, is to have an extra incentive. You can offer discounts or vouchers in return for reviews.
You can use these reviews and turn them into testimonials, case studies, and add them to your social media accounts. It may sound simple, and it is, and it’s also proven to work.
Developing a good B2B eCommerce strategy requires a lot of research, and a thorough understanding of what your target audience needs.
Be mindful that B2B purchasing decisions are made by multiple departments and people, so you’ll need to be prepared to answer all kinds of questions, and provide detailed information.