8 Effective B2B E-commerce Strategies That You can Leverage for Your Brand
It is expected that worldwide sales for retail e-commerce will reach $4.9 trillion in 2021. But to be successful in B2B e-commerce, you need to keep in mind that potential clients expect a lot from you. This includes the following:
- Personalized content
- Easy-to-use ROI calculator
- Video chat
- Augmented reality options
After all, the customer journey is not a straight line. Your leads can be warm one moment and cold the next. That’s why you should implement growth tactics to attract the right leads and convert them into paying clients.
Defining B2B E-commerce
Business-to-business to B2B e-commerce refers to online order transactions between businesses. But there are different business models:
Business-to-business-to-customer e-commerce eliminates the middleman between businesses and consumers. Hence, the businesses are directly in contact with their consumers.
Wholesale is when businesses buy goods in bulk from manufacturers and suppliers for a lower price. That way, they can sell their goods at retail value.
3. Wholesale to Customer
The reason B2B e-commerce is growing is that customers are making the switch. B2B transactions are all about large purchases and long-standing relationships despite the steep learning curve for customers.
Manufacturers are companies that produce items on a large scale. This is made possible by using parts, raw materials, machines, and manual labor.
If manufacturers make the goods, distributors are the ones who promote them. Of course, the rationale behind it is to generate sales from retailers.
Making Your B2B E-commerce Business Grow
Now that you know the different kinds of B2B e-commerce businesses, you might be wondering how to make your venture grow.
Here are eight tips you can follow:
Educate Your Customers
There is a reason content marketing is integral in making an online business grow. You can use content to educate your clients about your products and services and what they can do for them.
Mind you; if a client is not presented with all the information they need, they will look elsewhere.
The question is: What kind of valuable content should you be producing?
Here are some quick ideas:
- Blog posts. It is an excellent way to make your e-commerce website rank for your target keywords.
- Case studies. You can leverage use cases to showcase how your services can help clients.
- Demo video. This is best used to show how potential clients can use your services effectively.
When clients know that products can serve their needs and that using them is as easy as a breeze, they will likely become your leads.
Migrate Your Clients from Offline to Online
As millennials grow their purchasing power, you will see fewer clients wanting to talk to a sales representative in person. Instead, they would prefer the online route like an FAQ page, live chat, and social media customer support.
You should also be smart about using online forms. Make it simple and give potential clients the option to contact your sales or support team.
Of course, an online form is best used to generate leads in exchange for a free quote or a demo.
Use Technology to Solve Challenges
E-commerce, in general, is bringing your retail store online. What’s cool about this is that you can run your business and generate sales 24/7. How you operate your business is no longer limited by your location, either.
That said, you should use the technologies you have to solve challenges in your business.
One idea is leveraging social media as your customer support channel. Another is having a reliable third-party logistics partner to serve your clients better.
Say you are a distributor that caters to businesses in California. It would make sense to partner with a California fulfillment services center.
Roll Out Loyalty Programs
If you want to move the needle in your B2B e-commerce business, consider rolling out loyalty programs. After all, you are likely to supply consumable products that need to be maintained or replaced regularly.
As such, you can set-up functionalities like recurring payment. That way, your clients will not have to worry too much about filling in their payment details.
Another example is making it easy for your clients to repurchase items they buy regularly. The remarkable thing about this is that you also get to anticipate your inventory.
Align Your Business Processes
Do you know the secret to a successful business? The key is in ensuring that everything and everyone is on the same page.
This is where alignment and streamlining your processes come in handy. And here are four quick tips on how you can do it:
- Review and update your current organizational structure
- Re-align roles and hire people as needed
- Develop a charter about budgeting and decision-making
- Automate and outsource other parts of the process
The key here is developing a cohesive organizational structure that is capable of cross-channel growth.
Reduce Back Office Cost
One of the many benefits of streamlining your business processes is that you can reduce costs where possible.
Alignment allows you to develop a B2B e-commerce platform with robust functionalities. So much so that it can now go beyond a shopping cart and integrate with your other system.
It is like receiving orders from your clients and forwarding them to your logistics partner. They will be responsible for picking, packing, and shipping the goods to your clients. The entire process is automated and hassle-free.
Complement Other Sales Channels
In relation to the previous point, the typical pain point of B2B e-commerce businesses is internal channel conflict. This refers to the lack of a multi-channel strategy. As such, manufacturers often end up selling straight to the clients.
Sure, this sounds good for the business. But having a single sales channel limits the market that you can target.
Remember, different clients prefer various types of distribution channels. Some would look for a supplier, while some can come across a distributor. That’s because it is not all the time that clients have the resources to strike a deal with a manufacturer.
Plus, your client’s location and business size may hinder them from partnering with you. Instead, their next best option would be your distributors.
That said, you should develop a robust system that will enable you to make all your distribution channels work together.
Don’t Forget the Human Side of Transaction
Sure, technological advancements have allowed us to organize our sales process. But that does not mean we should ignore the human experience.
Our clients are breathing and living beings, after all. As such, ensure that your B2B e-commerce business has the following:
- E-commerce platform with a robust search feature
- Efficient purchasing funnel
- Accurate and complete product detail
- Simplified checkout process
Whether you are serving a consumer or a retail business owner, always think of how you can make it easy for them to complete a transaction with you. Doing so can help you develop a platform that considers UX.
Conclusion: It’s All About Understanding your Clients
To make your B2B e-commerce business grow and compete against known enterprises, you need to understand your clients better. This includes knowing the kind of customer journey they go through.
You should also consider the kind of content that would resonate with them. That way, you can rank for the right keywords, catch their attention, and engage with them.
From there, you can strike a meaningful relationship with your potential clients. This is imperative if you want to run a successful B2B e-commerce business.