The majority of business customers, these days, prefer to purchase online directly from B2B ecommerce solutions. In fact, Google claims that 93% of them look for similar ecommerce experiences they get from B2C sites.
Forrester also believes that, seeing the current growth rates of Business to Business sales, one can expect its global contribution to reach $1.8 Trillion by 2023. No wonder, we will continue to see the rise of business ecommerce sites in the coming years.
Thinking of giving it a try but not sure how to tackle the complexities of business to business ecommerce? Don’t worry, we are here to help.
To begin with, bear in mind that the purpose of how to set up a B2B online store is to simplify the entire purchasing process. Plus, help form new business relationships with your buyers. With that in mind, let’s begin our step by step approach towards setting up the business store of your dreams.
1. Personalized deals
In this data-driven, algorithmically obsessed world, customers have come to expect highly personalized experiences that are specifically tailored to their needs. And companies like Netflix and Uber are bent on redefining the ‘have it your way’ experiences. Wholesale organizations aren’t far behind, responding with new strategies that allow them to deliver personalized experiences.
Instead of offering the same price to all your customers, B2B ecommerce solutions can offer them customer-specific pricing. And this should be done in such a way that whenever your clients log in to your webstore, they automatically see the right price without needing to call your sales team with their own personal discount.
In addition to that, you can also offer customer-specific catalogues. This you can do by using data on a client’s previous purchases to build up an individual order history.
Armed with this insight into the customer’s interests and preferences, you will be one step closer on how to set up a B2B online store. You can offer them personalized deals such as allowing them permission to order certain materials or the maximum order size they can approve.
Plus, you can also offer them even more efficiency such as quick ordering by leveraging historical order information. Now, won’t your business customers love this? Ours would.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing is another effective approach where you can use blogs, case studies, videos, ebooks, market research etc. to attract, engage and convert your B2B ecommerce solution visitors. It is also one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies as it helps support a business’ long-term objectives such as revenue, lead generation and most importantly, brand awareness. How?
First of all, it positions your company as an industry expert that people can count on. Secondly, it helps your target audience figure out solutions to complex niche focused problems. Having said this, let’s move on to how we too can implement this strategy.
- Keep your content simple enough to understand. by avoiding to fill it with unnecessary jargon that your readers might find confusing. This is a crucial step on how to set up a B2B online store, while creating the content, try to be user-friendly and professional at the same time.
- Blogging, but not the regular type. Take a different approach and apply content marketing in a way your competitors aren’t doing. For e.g. adding creative and attractive infographics, video content, engaging webinars etc.
- Lastly, the personalization of your content i.e. creating content that not only reads good but also solves problems by touching pain points in different groups. One example is customizing different copy elements of the landing page of your B2B ecommerce solution based on audience data.
3. Mobile Optimization
Studies upon studies reveal that business customers are no less addicted to smartphone experiences than their B2C counterparts. We are sure you don’t need any convincing on this part, right? So, without wasting any time, let’s jump straight to the tactics you can use to power up a solid mobile marketing strategy for your wholesale business.
- A responsive web design that will take the shape of any screen size it is browsed from, thus eliminating the need to constantly zoom, pinch and swipe.
- While working on how to set up a B2B online store, make sure your email campaigns too are mobile-friendly. You can do this by optimizing your email marketing strategy. Include mobile preview, for example.
- Next comes mobile video. For this, you need to make your videos compelling and engaging. Try engaging them in the first 3 seconds and your chances will improve. Also, keep the overall length of the video short (2 minutes or less).
- Then, there are mobile apps. We know you have a responsive site but apps offer added advantages such as enhanced personalization and offline availability besides being cost-effective and easily accessible.
- Lastly, you need to ensure that all the information stored on your B2B ecommerce solution that is accessible via mobile along with the information customers share is private, protected and secure.
4. Streamlined buyer-seller interaction
It doesn’t matter how advanced an ecommerce site you create, there is no way Business to Business ecommerce can offer a complete substitute for a salesperson, especially when it comes to a negotiation process between the buyer and the seller.
However, there are certain features you can implement to your wholesale ecommerce that can significantly streamline the kind of interaction one can expect between a business buyer and seller.
One such way you can improve the buyer-seller interaction on your journey to how to set up a B2B online store is by providing buyers with an easy way to create and submit inquiries, RFQs (or Request of Quotes) and purchase orders electronically.
Sellers too, on the other hand, will find it easy enough to respond to quote requests and orders on the same platform and through the same mediums, in turn, facilitating an efficient negotiation process between the buyer and the seller.
Another way you can ensure a stress-free buyer process for your customers (especially first-time or inexperienced online buyers) is to enable your sales representatives to make a purchase on behalf of the customers. When you own B2B ecommerce solution, you simply can’t risk losing the customer either way, right?
5. Customized user experience
So, why do we need to offer a customized user experience? Because visitors prefer it. And we all know happy visitors spend more money. Customization not only allows you to anticipate your buyer’s needs but also broaden their awareness of what you have to offer, thus directing them to products that match their immediate needs.
How? Let’s see.
Begin by identifying your buyer personas. Do include some more ‘hows’ beside how to set up a B2B online store such as how often they buy from you, what they normally order, how much they are willing to invest and finally, how you can anticipate their needs.
Next, you can move on to the areas that you can improve on your site. For example, product recommendation. Just because they are business buyers doesn’t necessarily mean that they always know what they want.
Often times, they would see a product that they didn’t know you stocked, that encourages them to increase their regular purchase with you. Choose product recommendation strategies based on buyer personas on your B2B ecommerce solution and you will never go wrong.
Another area to focus on is to consider what offers will be most relevant to different segments. Customize your offers accordingly determining what your buyers expect to see upon visiting your website.
While doing so, you can also consider customizing key home pages and landing pages so as to ensure they are highly specific in addressing the needs of your visitors.
Reading all this, working on how to set up a B2B online store might seem like a daunting task, but rest assured, it is also a solid way not only to gain new business but also to better serve existing customers.
So, gear up. Your online store must be functional before launch. And even though it may not seem like the final product, you can always work on improving the site. For instance, you can evaluate results against your KPIs, monitor market trends, A/B test your site’s functionality to maximize its performance etc.