How to Find the Best B2B Ecommerce Platform
Acceleration of online marketplaces was one of the top eCommerce trends in 2020, followed by the adoption of mobile commerce and customer personalization. Though the eCommerce adoption rate has been a bit slow in the B2B market, the industry is speedily moving towards complete digital commerce.
At present, the growth of B2B eCommerce sales is at its record height, and as far as numbers are concerned, only 6% of B2B buyers tend to neglect online platforms for their purchase. Forrester reports predict that by the end of 2023, B2B eCommerce transactions in the US alone will reach up to $1.8 trillion, equivalent to almost 17% of the United States B2B economy. An early market study also shows that more than 75% of B2B procurement spending will happen through online eCommerce platforms in the next five years.
Why is an online presence so crucial for B2B commerce?
eCommerce has revolutionized B2C commerce around the world. Both the business and the customer-side have benefitted through it. However, the situation is somewhat different when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) dealings. Here, the buying and selling is directly managed by the decision-makers in any particular business. This directly impacts the frequency and volume of the transactions, making it a rather crucial domain.
Having a strong online presence becomes indispensable to succeed in the competitive market of the B2B domain. Sellers can either invest a fair share into building an online presence from scratch or sign up on a purpose-built B2B eCommerce platform to attract and retain customers. There are numerous benefits that a seller can reap from a good B2B platform. Better sales engagement, efficient process management, increased reach, and improved brand awareness being just a few perks associated with B2B eCommerce platforms.
How to choose the best B2B platform for your business?
B2B eCommerce platforms are best known for effective customer acquisition and driving revenues. However, much like the B2C sector, the B2B domain also relies significantly on customer experience. B2B sellers face a hard time driving sales when dealing with modern businesses. This is because factors like product quality and low price, though quite important, become subservient compared to a good customer experience. Buyers are eagerly looking for the best experience online, and achieving the benchmark can be quite challenging without the right eCommerce platform. Recent market reports also suggest that revenue generation through global B2B ecommerce platforms will possibly reach $6.7 trillion in sales by the end of 2020.
B2B market is known for its stiff competition, and it's even more fierce when it comes to B2B eCommerce platforms. Picking the most beneficial solution can often get tricky since there are too many factors to consider. According to the eCommerce experts at Biz4Group, a B2B ecommerce platform must deliver an excellent customer experience and improve each process's efficiency, be it pricing, payment, order management, etc. Presently, there are many B2B platforms to choose from, with each one having a definite set of benefits and drawbacks. To simplify the selection process, we have listed some of the essential factors to consider while selecting a B2B eCommerce platform for your eCommerce business site.
B2B businesses are inherently complex because of countless provisions and business-specific requirements depending on the seller and the buyer side. While choosing an eCommerce platform, B2B business-owners must look for a solution that allows easy control over buyer experience. The platform of choice must also have a system to enable or restrict various groups of people such as buyers, eCommerce managers, purchasing agents, etc., depending on their roles.
Unlike B2C commerce, B2B businesses have to deal with longer purchase cycles, budget constraints, recurring payments, and sales volumes. As a business owner, you must always choose a platform that supports and improves your unique business requirement. Apart from that, a good B2B platform should simplify the sellers' tasks and help the buyers with more straightforward navigation and quick problem-solving. Allowing your customers an easy access to shipping, order tracking, and account management enhances their purchase journey and improves their experience by several notches.
One of the most important factors to consider while scrutinizing for B2B business platform is to consider long-term growth and scalability. In today's fast-paced economy, businesses seem to evolve rapidly. They need to align their processes and services according to market trends to draw maximum profit. Being one of the leading eCommerce development firms in the US, our experts recommend cloud-based solutions to accommodate your eCommerce business's longevity and scalability. It saves a great deal on hardware investment and eliminates the possibility of resources turning obsolete.
Third-party and legacy system integration must be considered while going-through the available platforms for your eCommerce business site. The platform should offer easy integration and adaptability with your preferred systems like ERP, POS, PIM, or supplier databases. Since complex functionalities like order fulfillment, inventory synchronization, product catalog management, and others depend on external integrations, choose the best compatible platform with your system of APIs and other third-party software solutions.
Pricing and order management
Every business has a unique set of requirements and often promote their own set of directives for price structure, ordering, invoice generation, and payment functionality. Considering the high sales volume, it is always recommended to select a platform that offers a traditional shopping experience as well as a custom "request a quote" and price negotiation system. Some essential features like minimum order check, variable pricing, shipping regulations should also be configurable to make the shopping process easier.
Due to the large volume flow and recurring order placement, B2B businesses need to have disparate and flexible payment options to ensure the customers get optimum value for their business. Offering multiple payment modes and platforms is expected since the eCommerce economy has gone beyond geographical barriers. Customers from around the world should be able to complete their purchase irrespective of time or regional variance.
Easy Catalog Management
PIM or Product information management is often highlighted as one of the biggest challenges in the B2B business realm. Increased business capabilities can make things even more complex, and things can get disorganized real soon. An ideal eCommerce platform should have accessible catalog management functionalities to make product listing and management easier for the business owner.
Business automation features
When it comes to B2B businesses, automation features can help turn things significantly manageable. Modern B2B platforms offer features like custom workflows to improve their customer's shopping experience and ultimately boost their productivity. You must choose a platform that essentially eliminates redundant manual labor and allows for easier and automated management.
To sum it up
Because every business has its unique workflow and functional requirements, the possibility of a "one key fits all" platform is nearly negated. However, the step-by-step guide can help you narrow down the list of best-suited B2B eCommerce platforms for your business. At Biz4Group, a seasoned team of expert eCommerce developers and project managers help build a custom eCommerce solution for every unique business. We work on the latest and greatest technology stacks and deliver top-notch deliverables within 5-6 weeks.
Are you looking for a custom eCommerce development company? Reach out to us today and get a free consultation from our experts!!