Let us present you with the facts: B2B ecommerce accounted for 88% of all online sales in 2017, according to the latest numbers released by UNCTAD, while other reports state that almost 67% of wholesale businesses are accepting orders online. And, finally, a recent report by Frost & Sullivan estimates that B2B transactions will reach $1.8 trillion by 2023 in the US alone.
In other words, the potential of B2B ecommerce is undeniable. Since in numbers any business owner trusts, you may have already considered switching to B2B ecommerce. And we are sure that before you are ready to flip the “Open” sign on your online B2B store, you most probably have already gone over your digital-driven business strategy: from marketing to sales and pricing.
Yet, as the online B2B market presents unique challenges, you need to be prepared for the possible missteps that may take you off-course when taking your business online. To keep you on the smart side of things, we present you with the 4 most common mistakes wholesalers and distributors make when taking their B2B business online.
User experience is extremely crucial for both B2C and B2B ecommerce. In fact, B2C ecommerce platforms focus on being sleek, modern, and user-friendly so as to make their customers buying journey as seamless and intuitive as possible.
And while this may not be prerequisite for many B2B businesses that hop online, user experience is even more in wholesale online sales – especially if you take into consideration that according to a 2014 Google report, millennials comprise nearly 50% of all B2B buyers.
Simply consider this: millennials have grown up using technology to interact with others and purchase services and goods for themselves. As such, they are more likely to rely on technology when it comes to using it for work decisions too. Typically, they also expect an online experience similar to B2C shopping. In fact, according to 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 is easy to navigate and place their order, while presenting them with useful features.
Bottom line: a poor UX on your B2B ecommerce site may lead to your customers opting for other competitors with more cutting-edge and user-friendly solutions.
Print and digital content are vastly different. Need an example? While more vague product descriptions may work for your print catalog, the same does not 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 so as to provide your customers with all the information on the product they may need. As your content should also be optimized for SEO, you also need to keep in mind that your product descriptions need to include specific keywords and details about the product, its use and its competitive advantage.
At the same time, while a single photo my make the cut for a print catalog, the product images you use on your online store need to be of high quality and taken from multiple angles so as to give your customers a good idea of the product’s dimensions and actual look.
You may think that setting up your site will lead your B2B business smoothly into the realm of ecommerce. Yet, with almost half of B2B buyers being millennials and you need to think mobile.
Nowadays, people use mobile and tablets to browse and purchase products. Consumer market habits touch upon wholesale. Even more, research shows that 42% of B2B buyers use mobile devices during the purchase process.
At the same time, customers are more likely to expect to have a similar browsing and ordering experience on a B2B portal. This merely means that an archaic site may turn potential customers away. In other words, your platform needs to be optimized and fully functional for mobile devices so as to maximize your profits.
Your online B2B store is just one of many sales channels. Many business owners tend to think that their store will increase effortlessly their sales volume just by being airborne. In this respect, and build on the fact that their customers are tech-savvy and that according to a Gartner prediction that, by 2020, 85% of all B2B buyer-seller relationships will be managed without human interaction, many wholesalers tend to invest less and less on further capacitating their sales teams.
As such, most sales representatives tend to view B2B ecommerce portals as a threat to them rather than a tool to increase the volume of their sales and enhance their role in a B2B business.
Yet, eliminating human interaction is not by any means synonymous to the extinction of sales reps. Chat bots are not expected to take over your customer relationships – these will always be built on personal contact. In this respect, B2B marketers and salespeople need to put their knowledge together to come up with enhanced ordering features for your online platform, like, i.e. automated shopping, that will lead to increased sales.
Eventually, for your ecommerce efforts to be fruitful, you need to work closely with your sales team from the very beginning of your platform launch.
Sign up for a free trial account on B2B Wave to get accustomed with the ecommerce universe and explore all the benefits our cutting edge user-friendly B2B ordering software can offer to you and your buyers.