3 Things You Might Not Have Planned for in Your B2B Ecommerce Business

Ecommerce is growing fast and expanding into different markets, industries, devices, and platforms. It has several segments, and the business-to-business (B2B) model is one of the most common. The B2B model’s main focus is the interests of business consumers

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There are several things you must learn about the B2B model before you can dive into it, though. There might even be something about it that you have not planned for in the first place. So, familiarize yourself with its concept, its types, and how it works. The guide below will help you.


What is Business-to-Business (B2B) ecommerce?

B2B ecommerce is the selling of products or services from one business to another via an online store. It is the model that allows you to earn more by expanding customer reach and minimizing costs.


How does B2B work?

B2B is different from the B2C model, which involves direct selling to end-users. B2B transactions happen between a wholesaler and a retailer through an online sales portal. Previously, B2B companies focused solely on time-consuming lead capture and nurture strategies and manual sales. But with ecommerce, these businesses are improving efficiency and reducing costs.


Sellers and buyers can meet on a B2B ecommerce site and create new business opportunities. They can connect with suppliers and distributors and place orders from their phones. Key benefits may include (but are not limited to):

  • High employee productivity
  • Better partner relationships
  • 24/7 branded online presence
  • Ability to reach a vast audience
  • Higher growth prospects
  • Lesser need for intermediaries
  • Fewer overhead and infrastructure costs
  • Automated transactions

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What are the kinds of B2B ecommerce models?


1. Supplier-oriented B2B

B2B sellers use this model because they can find many buyers and only a few suppliers. With this model, businesses usually join supplier directories as a way to drive traffic to their ecommerce shops. Businesses using this model control the customer experience and pricing. This helps build long-term direct relationships with buyers.


2. Buyer-oriented B2B

Buyer-oriented models are those where there are only a few sellers and a lot of buyers. Through their platforms, buyers invite manufacturers or suppliers. They can also accept bids from different sellers. These models are an excellent way to promote your business to buyers with less effort and money.


3. Intermediary-oriented B2B

Intermediary-oriented models need a third-party provider suitable to both sellers and buyers. The provider controls the product information and catalogs. As a result, you need to follow particular guidelines. The third-party provider also owns the buyers’ relationship, contact information, and orders. Key examples of this marketplace model include TradeKey, Rakuten, AliExpress, Alibaba, or Amazon Business.


How to use B2B ecommerce platforms

Many businesses think that their platform is for product lists and payments only. But, this is not the case. It is the command center where you can manage operations and sales.


Superior B2B website platforms allow you to:

  • Optimize conversions with powerful checkout promotions.
  • Offer flexible payment methods with different providers or manual invoicing.
  • Integrate information from your CRM or ERP through trusted APIs.
  • Help customers find products with customized navigation or onsite search.
  • Provide personalized marketing experiences and sales.


If you’re in wholesale, it helps increase revenue by helping you:

  • Sync customers, purchases, and inventory with third-party software.
  • Build a platform where customers can buy, reorder, or track purchases.
  • Review and automate buyer signups.
  • Create custom discounts and pricing for a particular audience.


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Three key mistakes B2B ecommerce businesses often make

When it comes to accepting orders online, B2B firms fall prey to several common misconceptions. You can overcome them by knowing what they are. Below are three of the most common.


1. Assuming custom orders aren’t doable.

Demand for custom orders is higher in B2B than B2C. But, many people still believe that custom orders are not the norm for B2B ecommerce.

To dispel this belief, you can install custom quoting tools on your B2B ecommerce site. You can also add segmented customer groupings and unique variants to the mix. Working together, these will allow customers to send you orders 24/7. You can check on these during business hours. Then, you can get back to your customer once you are confident about fulfilling the order.

The good thing about these tools is they also allow you to place a customer in a unique customer group. This is so they won’t have to use the quote engine when they reorder. They can simply click and check out the items made for them.


2. Not listing products that have personalized pricing structures.

B2B companies often hide their prices from the public. This is because of fierce business owners who work at outbidding their competition. And, with the industry’s low margins, you can understand the need to protect your supply chain.

But with today’s platforms, it’s possible to publish full product specifications for anyone to see, while revealing prices only to approved customers after the log in. Given the way that today’s buyer journeys look, offering this level of self-service is a must.

You can also offer different prices to different strata of buyers, using complex rules to determine which site visitors qualify for each group.


3. Thinking that B2B ecommerce negates human relationships.

B2B buyers don’t do business with brands – they buy from people they trust. This is why family-owned and operated businesses often fare better in the B2B world. They usually have this way of making a customer feel like one of the family. Their personal touches include visits, dinners, phone calls, and even trips.

Now, this personal touch factor is exactly why many see online stores as cold. But, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are many ways you can connect and engage with your clients. You can use emails, social media channels, and even 24/7 online chats.

Although online customer service is challenging, it’s become the norm for consumers worldwide. Increasing your customer response rate is the modern version of quality, face-to-face transactions. You will lose business if you ignore it.


So, based on the guide above, having a B2B ecommerce business may be exactly what you thought it to be. It just has some surprises up its sleeve that you can overcome with a solid B2B ecommerce site. If you do everything right the first time, the B2B model will allow you to manage everything from one place. It will also help you enjoy endless growth opportunities for your business.

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