September 2014 Events Make your physical stores beacons of your brand

B2B is different – Strategies to use these differences to your benefit

We had recently written about how B2B is on a path for fast track growth . While most of the B2C eCommerce strategies are valid for B2B, there are fundamental differences that one should be aware for – for example, the sales cycle and the decision making process are different. Gifting, loyalty rewards and other such popular B2C tactics are not entirely suitable for B2B eCommerce. But, things like personalised content, easy search and navigation and so on are still valid for B2B segment as well. In this context, how do you navigate through the B2B maze and monetize opportunities?

In our view, convenience is the key – make it simpler for the B2B buyer to find and buy products across your site. You can do this by:

  • Adding better search and navigation mechanism to your site.
  • Streamlining the ordering process by making it easy to issue repeat orders, having master agreement in place, and shipping to multiple locations and so on.

The key here is to study the sales processes that most of your buyers follow, and make it an integral part of your online business.

Use of analytics – As you sell through your site, you should also be collecting data. This will be useful to deliver the right content like product bundles and personalization features. It can also help you shape your pricing strategy and you can even offer varying pricing levels to your key customers.

PO and invoice handling – this is another major area where B2B is different from B2C. B2C customers usually use credit cards or net banking features whereas your B2B customers may take advantage of credit periods and pay you at a later date against multiple invoices collected over an agreed upon time period. Keep your payment models flexible to handle these differences.
Multichannel commerce – this is something we’ve been emphasizing for a long time. There are several examples of B2B eCommerce businesses raking in revenues just by being available on multiple channels. Small things like your site being responsive across various devices go a long way in influencing your customers to use your services rather than others.
While some of the ideas presented here may make your systems integration complex, we’re sure that it will provide immense benefits to the business in the long term and keep your customers loyal. Both are key elements in an increasingly fickle digitized business world.

Do you have any more ways to keep your B2B business unique? Do share your experiences.

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