B2B eCommerce is a growing business model.
For many years there have been B2C eCommerce and B2B Lead Generation for websites offering online sales.
Marketplaces such as Amazon, Google Shopping, Alibaba (China), EC21 (S Korea), IndiaMART, and ThomasNet are leading the way in successful B2B eCommerce.
B2B eCommerce is different from B2C eCommerce in many ways and this influences how it should best be implemented. Taking a successful model for a large online shop and using directly for B2B will not work.
Characteristics of B2B eCommerce
Multiple decision makers. In B2B, there are often four or more decision makers involved in the purchase process. In practice, this may require multiple user roles in the checkout /cart process with multiple stages taking many days (or weeks).
Longer decision cycle. The B2B buying cycle is much longer than for B2C – so the lead time between initial contact and receiving any payment are longer. But also, customer expectation is different - wanting to change exact details of the order through the process.
Customer specific discounts. In B2B, the variations in price lists, discounts, and even available products are generally more complex than for B2C. This is historical. Whether necessary is not the appropriate question when building a B2B eCommerce solution as this is usually a fixed requirement in all but the smallest businesses.
Conflict with direct sales channels. Many B2B businesses have an established sales team who will be unhappy with online competition that can be seen to decrease their performance bonus. Careful thought must be given to how this is introduced.
International markets. B2B eCommerce is often used as a way of reaching international markets, maybe in small numbers. Regulations, legal and cultural issues can cause more of an impact than for B2B eCommerce and this impact is exaggerated if products are small in number and high in value.
Implementing B2B eCommerce
A successful B2B eCommerce website will make use of the above characteristics to create an effective website that works for your clients.
Looking to branch out into B2B eCommerce then talk to us on +44(0)1227 68 68 98 or tell us more about your plans below.