Ecommerce market that has been reasonably successful over the years in the B2C space is now making deep inroads in the B2B area as well. Forrester predicts that by the end of 2019 B2B ecommerce space will be worth a whopping $1trillion compared to the B2C space which hovers around $500M.

While merchants have been prosperous in B2C implementations, B2B ecommerce comes with its own set of roadblocks and challenges. The significant difference that we could see if the way people interact and purchase in a B2B segment vs a B2C Segment. In B2C most of the purchases are personal while in B2B the purchases are made with a business motive. In B2C a targeted individual is the customer while in B2B the customer is an employee from an organization. With an increase in B2C ecommerce penetration, there is a change in dynamics in the B2B segment. We will look at some of the key features that are needed in any B2B storefront.

Accounts and User Management

Most of the online B2B purchases are made by the employees belonging to different departments of a company. Hence managing different users from the same organization with varying levels of permissions is necessary.

Purchase Journey

Majority of B2B procurement include the quote process, followed by sample purchase and purchase order approvals and logistic details. A perfect B2B system should consist of every part of the purchase journey in a seamless manner.

Sample Orders

Organizations will have different kinds of requirements for a product and will expect samples before finalizing a final order. Allowing customers to order samples and managing the sample delivery is key to gaining new customers and orders.

Differentiated Pricing

Companies usually negotiate pricing based on order quantity, frequency and more. Its necessary to provide differentiated pricing for customers based on quote or agreement or purchase order.

Minimum Order Quantity

Majority of B2B purchases are in bulk quantity; hence it’s all the more necessary to ensure that users are informed about the minimum order quantity.

Quick order and Re-order

Customers should be given an option to order quickly right within the home page by just typing the SKU number or product name or product code etc. this eliminates the time to search already known products. Also, many customers purchase a similar quantity every month or six months. In that case, an option should be provided to re-order from the previous existing orders.

ERP Integration

B2B purchases involve many departments of a retailer such as finance when dealing with purchase orders, CRM when handling users, Supply Chain when working with Inventory. Hence it is crucial the data thats flowing across the systems is consistent and synchronized. An ERP integration with the B2B online storefront is a must to ensure we don’t end with different data across different departments of an organization.

Payment Options

Organizations have many processes when it comes to payments and approvals. While some modern organizations work with latest trends in money transfer, some organizations still dwell in the traditional forms of banking. It’s necessary that a B2B portal ensure that all forms of payment are supported.

Logistics

Similar to Payment options B2B customers need much flexibility when it comes to logistics. Some customers usually have preferred logistics partner who needs to be supported. The shipping part should also support a variety of options that include Less than Load (LTL), dropshipping, 3rd party Logistics (3PL) and more. B2B merchants should ensure that their shipped products are well trackable across various systems for customers.

Taxation

Tax laws vary across different states for various products in the US. Moreover, there are specific products and select companies who have tax exemptions. As a retailer, it’s crucial to understand all the tax laws and collect the taxes appropriately. Since the orders and quantity involved is enormous, a small glitch would either toss up the tax calculations both at the retailer and the customer end.

Final Word

With every passing day the gap between a B2C online business visa vis a B2B business is closing in and customers a beginning to expect a swift Amazon type of experience. However, with the complexities involved it’s all the more necessary that merchants should implement these essential features to provide a smooth buying experience.

The ecommerce at Payoda has hands-on experience in implementing enterprise-grade B2B solutions for retailers across the US. If you are looking to build a scalable and successful B2B online storefront, please drop us a line at ecom@payoda.com

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