Business-to-business e-commerce grows quickly – and consumerizes just as fast.
For webshops that target businesses, this means delightful news and challenging news:
On one hand, online platforms bring more potential buyers.
On the other, these buyers are used to a quick and effortless buying experience that consumer market giants like Amazon and Alibaba offer – and they want the same experience when they are shopping for their companies.
How can B2B e-commerce tap into this growth potential, all while ensuring profitability and continuously managing credit risks?
Online shoppers used to the Amazon experience expect two things from any other online buying experience: they want it to be quick and easy. They want to find what they are looking for with as few clicks as possible, quickly and also on mobile devices.
B2C platforms have answered this demand by creating open webshops where anyone can browse and compare the selection without signing up.
For B2B sites, however, openness presents a few challenges.
Many B2B online sellers are reluctant to open their selection and pricing for everyone to see and they wish to be able to target their selection and pricing to different customer groups.
In addition to more flexible targeting and pricing, many sellers want to screen prospective clients in order to evaluate their paying potential and behavior and this way minimize future problems with payments. A closed shop offers much better options for this.
However, when opting for a closed set-up, it’s important to keep the sign-up process as quick and easy as possible. A daunting pdf file to fill in, followed by days of waiting time before completing the process turn away even the most motivated of clients.
Asking only the relevant questions and using a partner to quickly screen the prospective clients can be a nice way to combine a seamless experience with well-managed credit risks.
When it comes to offering discounts and targeted pricing, the vendors’ worry might be a little bit exaggerated: According to a survey conducted by Enterpay, product selection and experience are much more important than pricing for B2B shoppers.
The convenience and variety of products are also important factors in customer retention. That is why focusing on the experience and making it as seamless as possible are probably better strategies than competing with prices and targeted discounts.
One way to uplevel the buying process is to offer flexible payment options.
In Enterpay’s survey, two out of three online B2B buyers mention invoice as their preferred method of payment.
Many companies appreciate invoicing options because invoices include all the information that accounting systems require. That makes internal processing much easier and quicker, and longer payment times are also often valued.
However, many B2B e-commerce companies drag their feet instead of confronting the consumer market champions and finding ways to raise their standards to the same level.
Do you want to join the forerunners and answer the B2B online shoppers needs and wishes? Contact us and let’s talk about how you can create a first-class online buying experience for your clients.