Learn B2B eCommerce in the Guide to B2B eCommerce

Learn B2B eCommerce

Launching a B2B eCommerce site can be a daunting task. In this guide, learn B2B eCommerce.

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Basics of B2B eCommerce

If you are starting down the road to creating a B2B eCommerce site, it is important to start with answering a few basic questions.

  • What are the B2B eCommerce 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:

[…]B2B eCommerce borrows heavily from its B2C eCommerce cousin for several reasons but the one that B2B executives should take heed is that their customers are also consumers heavily trained using typical B2C eCommerce work flows (research & transacting) in their everyday lives.

Basic Customer Expectations

Let’s review some of the system functionality found in a well-presented B2C eCommerce 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 eCommerce functionality is directly applicable to B2B.  However, there are many distinct B2B eCommerce features not required for B2C that without, render an eCommerce 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 eCommerce Basics

At the most simplest level, your customers expect the following:

  1. Find what they are looking for.
  2. Act on that information simply and intuitively
  3. Remember, it is their job to be on your site
  4. Have a consistent experience across channels and devices