So, how to set up a B2B online store? We wish there was an easy answer to this question, but there isn’t. It’s all just a matter of what works the best for your business.
Business to Business ecommerce, despite a late start, holds a much bigger portion of the ecommerce pie (over 6 times) compared to the B2C slice, contributing a whopping $12.2 trillion to the global economy ( Statista).
No wonder businesses that want to buy in bulk are turning more and more towards B2B ecommerce solutions. Why? Because it not only offers low cost but also a steady communication along with thorough trackability.
This alone makes it a great time to invest in and set up a wholesale online store, especially when the resources on the internet keep getting more powerful and comprehensive. All things said we believe you have everything you need to make your website a success, and all that’s left is just about how smart you are when it comes to growth.
So to help you get moving in the right direction, here is a self-explanatory guide to show you exactly how to set up a B2B online store.
Let’s dive in:
1. Make sure you have the option to customize your own theme
When the appearance of your online store looks perfect, your prospective customers will surely love to explore your products. Customized themes can make your task a lot easier.
Go for the readymade customizable themes that are the norm of today’s ecommerce industry. Many ecommerce platforms offer in-built as well as third party templates which can easily be customized to give your ecommerce site the appearance and feel you want.
But what customizable theme features to look for while setting up B2B ecommerce solutions?
Easy. look for one that offers an intuitive interface on all pages to help create an excellent experience for your customers. Plus, drag and drop features for further customizations and responsiveness to make your online store look good across all devices. Also, make sure the template loads fast enough to make Google easily fall in love with it.
Some templates might be free but if not, do not hesitate to spend a little extra money for a unique theme. And if needed, even ask your ecommerce provider regarding how to set up a B2B online store for further tweaking.
2. Make sure it allows you to set up location-based/product based store
After you have chosen a perfect theme for your business store, it’s time to move on to the next essential item, the multi-store feature.
Yes, multi-stores. These are becoming increasingly popular among the wholesale industry and that too for good reasons. Besides offering your customers convenience (the likes of which they haven’t seen before), it comes with tons of other features. These include unique branding options, dedicated manufacturer catalogues, store within store applications, easy to find product information and much more.
With its help, you can easily use your B2B ecommerce solution to create niche Business to Business shops based on specific products or locations to help provide greater focus and visibility on these key areas.
For example, a product-based business store will greatly enhance the ability to close deals without confusing your customers with too many products and services. Similarly, creating location-based business stores will help forge stronger connections with regional customers offering region-specific holiday specials, colloquialisms and content that recognizes local customs and sensitivities.
So, when you are working on how to set up a B2B online store, look for a versatile platform that allows you to streamline a multitiered architecture to run many stores from a single source.
3. Make sure your chosen platform has the potential to take your business international
If you are dedicating your time and resources on how to set up an online store, why not plan ahead and look for a strategy that can help you expand its market beyond your original borders in the near future. After all, sooner or later, your business will take off.
To begin with, implement a multi-currency feature in your B2B ecommerce solution which will allow different international currencies, thus leading to an easier and less confusing online transaction process.
Next feature you can choose is multi-lingual integration. This will help translate your web content into various languages, making it easily read and trusted across the globe by potential customers.
Another feature you can look for is international shipping. You know the one that performs currency conversions, tracking shipments, integrating insurance costs, accessing and forwarding taxes and customs, and much more.
Lastly, make sure that you partner with a B2B ecommerce solutions provider that can help you support these international sales. Not only should your website be able to allow for currency, location and language changes, but it must also be able to adjust payments and taxes as per the country's compliances. Also, it must work effectively with banks and warehouses for order fulfilment.
4. Make sure it offers multi-vendor features as well
So, why do we need a Business to Business multi-vendor feature?
Well, apart from its usual benefit of connecting wholesale suppliers with bulk buyers, it offers several other advantages on your journey on how to set up a B2B online store.
For one, it offers a separate dashboard to each seller from where they can navigate to manage product, order history, shipping, transaction history etc. and many such features.
It also offers partners a profile which buyers can easily approach based on their preferences. Plus, your customers get flexible payment options at checkout time, so no worries there.
We know wholesalers deal in larger orders. Hence, the multi-vendor feature allows you bulk ordering so as to manage a product catalogue besides helping your business clients place orders online as well as track those orders in real-time.
Likewise, the multi-vendor of your B2B ecommerce solutions should allow you as an admin to manage and set a percentage-based commission that will be charged from other vendors as per the products in orders. Plus, you can also edit the category commission.
Moreover, it will allow your vendors to offer bulk discounts based on the total quantity to be ordered along with the ability to reorder with ease any previously purchased order.
5. And last but not the least, pricing overrides
Pricing override is another crucial factor to look out for while setting up a B2B online store. As we know, the majority of wholesale businesses have specific relationships with existing customers that require variable pricing for specific products.
Not only this, but many of you will also have additional specific scenarios that might impact prices for various reasons. This alone should stand enough a reason to implement pricing overrides i.e. to ensure that you get the most out of your ecommerce venture.
You can start by setting up default pricing to be displayed to any regular visitor who has registered to your site. Later on, you can add variations to the prices as the relationship progresses.
So, make sure that your chosen B2B ecommerce solution offers you this flexibility. One that helps you manage customer-specific pricing by assigning account classifications.
A word of advice:
Business to Business ecommerce, with its rapid and continuous growth, is definitely a market worth pursuing. However, it is also possible (especially with newbies) to easily get caught up in the numbers of business when the large orders start pouring in. this might lead to the most important component of the B2B ecommerce i.e. the customer.
So, make sure to always keep your business customers at the forefront and always put them first. The thing is, when you work on how to set up a B2B online store with customer needs in mind and provide them value at each step of the sales besides offering them top-notch service, you will ensure a fast-growing wholesale business for your online store.
With that said, all that’s left is to choose a reliable ecommerce solution to work on. And what better option than StoreHippo, it comes with an intuitive dashboard, thousands of available themes and everything else you might need to launch a stunning business website in no time at all.
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