B2B eCommerce solutions are becoming increasingly popular, withBig Commerce saying that41% of B2B retailers expect B2B online sales to grow more than 25% in the last part of 2018.

B2C eCommerce platforms have been popular for longer, mainly because they focus so heavily on an excellent customer buying experience which keeps their buyers coming back for more.Both industries have the same goal – to increase sales–but there are differences between the two. So what can the B2B world take from the B2C one but use in a B2B appropriate way?

B2B personalization

Anyone that uses Amazon, (all of us), will have experience of superior personalization. I sometimes feel they are selling directly to me. They automatically update their prices during the day based on supply and demand, as well as unique customer history. They offer us things we don’t even know we want, and we go ahead and buy them. And even when we’re not shopping, Amazon sends us personalized promotional emails to entice us to the next sale.

Although the expectation to become Amazon overnight is a high one, B2B brands should strive to provide a personalized buying experience. Being proactive and providing personalized communications to business customers is one element that brands and wholesalers seem to have adapted quite well. But their eCommerce platform should also provide a personalized B2B experience that is tailored to specific buyers. Offering targeted recommendations and discounts speed up the sales process, helps you “close the deal” while also up-selling and cross-selling.

The omnichannel experience

It’s impossible to talk about B2B eCommerce solutions without mentioning omnichannel. B2C customers are accustomed to a seamless buying experience, whether they're at home, on the go with their smartphone, or in the store. And modern B2B buyers, that are also consumers, expect to interact with brands across multiple touchpoints including web, mobile, social, as well as in person.

Your B2B customer expects a consistent experience across channels, delivered from a robust and trustworthy platform. Make sure your eCommerce platform can provide that.

Make it easy for them

As mentioned previously, one of the strengths of B2C eCommerce is making it easy for the customer to buy. B2B eCommerce solutions need to offer that too, accommodating the far more complex B2B buying process. In order to make it easy for B2B customers to buy, your solution will need to offer smart search and filtering capabilities, integration with ERP, PIM/PCM systems for comprehensive product information, and present critical information such as stock level, back orders or past purchases.

In addition, the average number of people involved in one B2B transaction has increased from 5.4 two years ago, to 6.8 today. As a result, your B2B e-commerce platform needs to accommodate the complexity and variety of processes involved in making each B2B purchase, by providing a seamless digitized approval workflow to facilitate the purchase.

The B2C industry has a lot to offer in how to leverage digital channels, and B2B has a lot to learn. The above is just the starting point of ideas to use in your B2B eCommerce solutions. There are many more you can use to generate demand, improve customer relationships and increase sales, always remember you’re in a B2B world.

Published by Karen Anthony