When B2B business models begin selling online, they increasingly adopt established B2C concepts and methods. Whether marketing or order management, retail businesses that sell directly to consumers have a lot to teach us. However, what are the procedures that B2B businesses should take when launching an e-commerce site?
Digitization is transforming how businesses offer their products and services to clients and how businesses sell to other businesses. The B2B market appears to emulate the B2C industry’s success stories. Predictive marketing, personalization, and even something seemingly basic like online ordering were typically B2C concepts and methods but are now making their way into the business-to-business sector.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the B2B e-commerce market might reach $6.7 trillion in 2020, more than doubling the size of the B2C sector.
The transformation to B2B commerce digitalization is about more than simply having access to and utilizing new technologies. It’s a completely different perspective. Many B2B businesses observe how their competitors outperform them, which is why they want to begin selling online. However, it is also because the B2B buyer has evolved. Everyone now desires an “Amazon-like experience,” whether they purchase devices for their house or business supplies.
Whichever e-commerce platform is chosen, the following tasks must be completed in advance:
1. Development of an idea, market research, and a business plan
Let us begin at the very beginning. It makes no difference what you’re selling or to whom you’re selling. You must be unambiguous about it. Reflection and study assist in mitigating risks and refining your initial concept. There are so many products, and they are all so identical that you need your unique identity because businesses also make mistakes by entering the market unaware of the risks or prospects. Keep an eye on and research the market, and if possible, predict developments.
What do you intend to offer for sale? Do businesses require this product? How and where is my competition located? What benefits does selling online provide? And how about the firms you’re attempting to reach?
Clearly describe what you wish to sell in the idea. Which products, which catalogs, and which customers.
Utilize surveys, polls, interviews, and data analysis to do research. The more data collected, the better. You can mix quantitative and qualitative data and quality values, purchasing intention, and opportunities and threats. Statistics are not deceptive.
And what about the business plan? This document should cover the following contents: objectives, target audience, competencies, business model, competitive analysis, the definition of added value, budget, and pricing policy.
2. Business-to-business or B2B marketing
If people are unaware of your presence, you do not exist. Establishing a B2B web marketing strategy will assist you in increasing traffic and, consequently, conversions. Bear in mind that an e-commerce marketing strategy will differ slightly from a typical strategy. When a client purchases his private life, he behaves differently than when he purchases on behalf of his business. That is the critical distinction.
The change in subject, the end client, must dictate the strategy type. To put it another way, the eventual consumer desires the product, but the business requires it to survive and desires cost savings.
Increase your online visibility by focusing on SEO, as over 100% of B2B enterprises use the internet to identify suppliers or products, and more than 90% of buyers prefer to do it online.
- Make a significant investment in excellent advertising
- Maintain an active postal marketing campaign
- Make use of social media
- Engage in content marketing (in blogs, newsletter, and face-to-face events)
- Utilize the appropriate metrics
- Consult a digital strategy consultant or professional
B2B marketing must be risk-averse and build consumer trust. If your plan is sound, you will gain a more loyal customer; consider that businesses are more hesitant to switch suppliers than the end or typical consumer is.
Remember to do an external and internal analysis, define your target audience, establish objectives, define strategies and lines of action, establish dates, implement activities, disseminate efforts, and track results.
3. Is it a marketplace, or is it a direct sale?
Will you sell via a third-party platform, or will you construct your virtual store?
The most apparent benefit of a marketplace is their visibility; they are typically involved in marketing and have strong brand recognition. Against it is the enormous competitiveness, which occasionally results in exorbitant price reductions.
Direct sales provide much better visibility once we attract businesses. It enables us to compete in the so-called customer service arena, with direct contact allowing us to strengthen and strengthen that relationship. Additionally, one of its significant advantages is the ability to personalize the web-based on the visitor, modifying catalogs, prices, and/or promotions.
Create a username for yourself. Additionally, your clients will seek an appealing and intuitive setting and menu. Both end-users and businesses place a premium on user experience, web navigability, and usability.
Customer satisfaction surveys and product sheets deserve special emphasis. Adapt the polls, balance the results, and keep in mind that the buyer will want to know and see everything even if he cannot touch or see the object. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality… Make it simple.
Design, hosting, and platform development are all critical components of your business’s success. And if you’re into huge brands, keep in mind that they require solutions from large vendors such as HCL Commerce.
4. Are you a local, national, or international business? Logistics
Of course, the internet is global, and your offer may be as well, but consider this before proceeding.
Establish a target market that you are certain you can serve; in doing so, establish your logistical capacity, legal constraints, and competent employees. The logistics chain must be impervious to failure.
Your clients will desire their products as soon as possible and utilize the monitoring tools to keep track of their progress. The rate of return is significantly lower in this company model than in the B2C model.
B2B e-commerce sells both products and services. Customer service and technical support are mandatory 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, especially for huge brands and worldwide businesses. Your business is entirely dependent on you.
5. Legality and accountability. Prices and special incentives
Regardless of our size, we are all required to adhere to our legal commitments.
Additional forms of payment that provide extra services to consumers are critical in the B2B sector.
Automating the negotiation process and establishing an online negotiation channel is critical. Here, individualized client management is difficult; you will need to give different prices and specific conditions to different customers, both during the purchase process and throughout transportation and delivery because B2B offers to represent a sampling of the parties’ teamwork.
Additionally, it is committed to providing real-time information about items, prices, and stock levels. Through enhanced functions, it integrates computer systems and enables the platform to handle complex relationships with clients.