Launching a B2B e-commerce site can be a daunting task. In this guide, learn b2b e-commerce. To get started, I have outlined some content as a guide to b2b e-commerce that may be helpful to you and your team. I have it organized in a collection of posts in Chapter form, and continue to add to it. Please feel free use the contact page to suggest other helpful content.
Chapter 1: Basics of B2B E-Commerce
If you are starting down the road to creating a B2B e-commerce site, it is important to start with answering a few basic questions.
- What are the B2B e-commerce basics?
- What do customers expect when they come to my site?
- How do we meet those expectations?
Customers come to your site with certain expectations. Brian Carpizo writes about those basic customer expectations like this:
Basic Customer Expectations
Let’s review some of the system functionality found in a well-presented B2C e-commerce site:
- Multiple-level category catalogs with filtering by multiple attributes.
- High quality images with multiple view settings, 360 degree views, zoom.
- Product relationships – cross sell, up sell, replacements, parts, accessories, warranty, etc.
- Bundling, product sets, kits, and assortments.
- Product availability information, shipping options.
- Search – search synonyms, auto-suggest, relevance ranking,
- SEO – rich snippets, static URLs, on-page SEO.
- Promotions – buy/get 1 free, X% over $Y amount, promotion codes, etc.
- Display support for multiple formats: 1920px wide desktop, smartphone, tablet.
- Shopping cart – save for later, email cart, stored credit cards.
B2B Specific Expectations
Most B2C e-commerce functionality is directly applicable to B2B. However, there are many distinct B2B e-commerce features not required for B2C that without, render an e-commerce system to be ineffective or useless for B2B. Some of these include:
- Catalog – multiple catalog views depending on the customer segment.
- Pricing – multiple price lists per customer segment, qty price breaks, dynamic pricing.
- Business account support – business entity as an account with multiple users per account.
- Order approval workflows with buyer authorization limits.
- Quoting (RFQ) – submit for quote, reject, counter offer.
- User defined order templates for easy reordering.
- Expanded payments – on account, EFT, Level 2 and Level 3 processing.
- Catalog syndication and integration to eProcurement systems, support for punchout.
- Quick order and support for CSV order uploads.
- Account information – invoices, payments, order history, shipping status.
- Guided navigation
- Product configuration.
- Multiple sites & hosting storefronts on behalf of distribution partners (B2B & B2B2C).
[… Concludes excerpt from Brian Carpizo]
B2B E-Commerce Basics
At the most simplest level, your customers expect the following:
- Find what they are looking for.
- Act on that information simply and intuitively
- Remember, it is their job to be on your site
- Have a consistent experience across channels and devices