While the B2B market is market is projected at $855b, more than double the $372b of B2C market, selling to businesses online is much more challenging than to consumers.
"Manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors sell raw materials, refined products component parts and complex machinery and buyers typically have requirements that are highly specific. Add in extensive distribution networks, negotiated prices approval workflows and the need to funnel orders and shipments into complex accounting and planning software" - Internet Retailer, B2B E-Commerce 300. Based on this statement, we've dug a little deeper to uncover the top 3 challenges face by B2B ecommerce businesses and the solutions to overcome them.
1. Personalization with Pricing
B2B relationships, much like personal relationships, are unique and require careful cultivation and attention. A surefire way to damage those relationships is to treat each client and customer, creating no distinction from your VIP recurring customers and first-time buyers. The solution to implement personalization? Implementing pricing contracts and contracts can automatically manage your B2B relationships based on specified contract rules and prices.
2. 'Product Placement'
B2B companies have the ability to branch into the B2C, all while avoiding multi-channel sales conflicts. By selling on eCommerce marketplaces, such as Jet, eBay and Amazon, you can get your company and products to a much larger audience. While a few of your channel partners may be upset to see your products in a wider market, you can use B2C marketplaces to push your products that are not selling as fast. You can offer your high-selling items as exclusive to your valuable partners to foster stronger relationships.
For larger B2B companies that are a parent company to several brands, delivering microsites for each individual brand you can maximize the return on overhead costs from having an eCommerce site. A microsite is as it sounds, a smaller part of a bigger system. As many enterprise-level eCommerce platforms can accommodate these smaller subset sites, business owners can manage several microsites.
3. Niche Products
As previously mentioned, B2B transactions are complex, whether raw materials, finished machinery, services or parts. Implementing a robust site search function, such as parametric search, allows site visitors to search for an item based on specific parameters or particular attributes. There is also a need for companies to customize their products. Today, we have the technology to enable clients to not only configure but also view their customized products in real-time. While this technology is no stranger in the B2C market, with consumers having the ability to customize everything from cars to sneakers to candy, introducing this to the B2B market is still relatively untapped an can enable your business to stand apart from the competition.
There is a realm of opportunity to draw from B2C technology to improve your B2B site and overcome the top challenges of your website. By implementing personalization and customized contracts, improving your product positioning in the market and enabling robust search features you can take your business to the next level.