4 B2B eCommerce Mistakes to Avoid
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The art of successful B2B eCommerce strategy is much like the game of chess — it’s all about knowing how to formulate a plan that can navigate a myriad of twists and turns, and then arranging the pieces to accomplish the plan.
The online B2B market does present some unique challenges, and the best way to overcome them is to be prepared for the possible missteps that can take you off-course.
And in case you’re wondering if taking your business online is worth the effort, let’s look at some key facts:
B2B eCommerce accounted for 88% of all online sales in 2017, according to UNCTAD, while other reports state that almost 67% of wholesale businesses are accepting orders online. In addition, a report by Frost & Sullivan estimates that B2B transactions will reach $1.8 trillion by 2023 in the United States alone.
What this means is that the potential of B2B eCommerce is undeniable.
If your business is focused on numbers (as many companies are), it’s quite likely you’ve already considered taking your business online. You may have even researched what your digital-driven business strategy will be from marketing to sales to pricing.
Steer Clear of These 4 B2B eCommerce Slip Ups
To keep you on the smart side of things, let’s go over some of the biggest slip ups wholesalers and distributors make when setting up their B2B eCommerce store.
1. Forgetting about the user
User experience (commonly referred to as UX) is extremely crucial for both B2C and B2B eCommerce. In fact, the primary focus of B2C eCommerce platforms is presenting a sleek, modern and user-friendly interface so that the customer buying journey is as seamless and intuitive as possible.
While this ‘user experience’ focus may not be uppermost in mind for some B2B businesses that hop online, it does need to be a priority for wholesale online sales. Consider this:
According to a 2014 Google report, millennials comprise nearly 50% of all B2B buyers.
Millennials have grown up using technology to interact with others and purchase services and goods for themselves. As a result, they are more likely to rely on technology when it comes to making work decisions as well. They also typically expect an online buying experience to be just like their B2C shopping experience. In fact, according to a recent survey by MarkMonitor Online Barometer, 65% of B2B customers want simplified ordering experiences from B2B eCommerce portals, while 61% list ease of finding products via search as very important when buying online.
In other words, B2B buyers are looking for a site that’s easy to navigate and place orders through, while presenting them with useful features.
Bottom line: a poor UX on your B2B eCommerce site may leave to your customers opting for a competitor with more cutting-edge and user-friendly solutions.
2. Failing at your online copy
Writing copy for the online world is very different from writing for print materials. While more vague product descriptions may work well for your print catalog, the same doesn’t necessarily apply for your digital catalog.
When introducing content on your B2B eCommerce platform, you need to make sure that your product copy is clear, specific and engaging to ensure you are providing your customers with all the information on the product they may need. You also need to optimize your content for search engines (SEO) and include specific keywords and details about the product in your product description, including its use and competitive advantage.
At the same time, while a single product photo may be sufficient for your print catalog, the product images you use in your online store need to be high quality and taken from multiple angles so as to give your customers a well-rounded idea of the product’s dimensions and actual look.
3. Being mobile un-Friendly
Research shows that 42% of B2B buyers use mobile devices during the purchase process. In today’s online world (and with millennials making up almost half of all B2B buyers), it’s imperative that you ensure your eCommerce site is mobile-friendly.
People use cell phones and tablets to browse and purchase products as much if not more so than desktop computers, and your customers expect to have a similar browsing and ordering experience on your B2B portal regardless of what type of device they are using. This means having a non-mobile-friendly online store runs the risk of turning potential customers away. To maximize your profits, make sure your platform is optimized and fully functional for all mobile devices.
4. Investing less in your sales team
Remember that your online B2B store is just one of several possible sales channels. Many business owners think their eCommerce store will magically increase their sales volume just by being there so that they can invest less time and money in a traditional sales team.
This is a mistake. Your customers being very tech-savvy and technology’s propensity for automation is by no means synonymous with the extinction of sales reps, and rest assured, chat bots are not expected to take over customer relationships. Customer relationships will always be built on personal contact.
Keeping this in mind, B2B marketers and salespeople need to work together from the very beginning of your platform launch, pooling their knowledge to come up with enhanced features for your online ordering platform that will drive sales, such as automated shopping.