The Why and How of Building a Robust B2B eCommerce Platform
POSTED ON 07-10-2020

Do you prefer coffee or tea, pancakes or crepes, are you a Samsung or an Apple person? Just as we have been torn between these choices throughout our lives, the World of e-commerce is often torn between B2B and B2C. 

Even though there are key similarities between the two, such as the fact that both business models revolve around user experience, significant differences exist that are fundamental for businesses to understand.

While B2C is an emotionally driven large-scale market that prioritizes brand awareness, B2B is more of a rationally driven niche market approach that prioritizes lead generation. 

The unique facets of the B2B experience can lead to major opportunities as it can provide different product catalogue functions, extensive and technical live customer support, and better integration of front- and backend systems. 

Wondering how? Let’s take a deep dive into B2B eCommerce trends and consumer expectations. 

B2B eCommerce targets a narrower, niche audience

B2B customers represent a significantly smaller pool. But don’t let this get you down. Fewer potential customers usually translate to bigger purchases in the world of eCommerce. 

In fact, when you look at the global gross merchandise volume B2B online shopping yielded an average surplus of 257.4% higher volume when compared to B2C market size. This also impacts the average price point where the average B2B order value is almost the triple of the average B2C order value. 

B2B eCommerce landscape and trends are constantly transforming with the audience

An article Google published in 2015 noted how more and more millennials were making up the buyer pool in the B2B market. That statistic has only become more significant in the past 5 years. 

This has a critical impact on the consumer expectations as millennials require more comprehensive, efficient and user-friendly online experience in their buying processes. This means that the clarity of the site search and navigation, the availability of the complete product catalogues, and the self-education aspect of the content has become even more vital. 

How can you secure your competitive edge in the B2B world? 

1. User experience: Simplicity is key. Creating a single platform solution that allows you to manage all your partner’s activity from one place could allow you to control pricing, supply your partners and oversee sales without the overcomplication. 

This platform should allow for comprehensive and live customer support to tackle potential issues. 

2. Proper integration of front and back end systems: While front end involves code and design compatibility, backend involves an interaction between actions taken by the visitors and the database. These two serve as critical components for the customization of the platform and respond to partner-specific requirements. 

Customizing price and terms per individual customer, tailoring your product and experience based on partner segments, and delivering personalized content is key. 

3. Create value by strengthening your professional relationships: Maintaining a healthy, ongoing and transparent communication with your partners can allow for more mutually optimal solutions. 

As previously discussed, this relationship can be further enhanced by self-education opportunities and training sessions provided by your platform. Further, learning tests can be implemented that allow your partners to assess their success rate. 

Succeeding in B2B eCommerce comes with significant challenges such as ongoing competition with large suppliers, obstacles in communication between partners and the difficulty of complete digitalisation. 

B2B eCommerce software solutions should focus on creating a competitive edge not only through their products but also through unique offerings and the ease of the sales process. 

By adapting to the ever-changing trends and customer expectations of our generation and integrating proper platform features and compatibility components, companies can truly make a difference in the world of B2B eCommerce. 

There are several e-commerce solutions that could help you achieve that competitive advantage and reinvent your B2B commerce. A key one you might want to consider is Alegra. The unique solution also allows you to manage all your activities including overseeing and controlling supply, sales and prices from a single platform. 

Meet Alegra Magento 2 Self-service solutions now and sign up for a free trial here