To ace the B2B e-commerce game, a business needs much more than an attractive website. It must have a platform that engages customers, personalizes their experience, and saves time. Apart from being an online store, a B2B e-commerce platform must deliver more than a smooth checkout experience.
B2B platforms must offer more than purchasing capabilities
Unlike B2C, B2B buyers purchase in bulk and repeatedly order the same items. A good B2B e-commerce platform should offer the following functionalities:
- Pricing and Credit Limits: The platform must offer the same pricing, terms and credit limits online as offline. Different pricing levels can also be set for the same item to different customers with volume discounts.
- Quick Ordering: Customers must be able to easily reorder items or add products to the cart by SKU.
- Product Lists: Customers should be able to quickly create custom lists of frequently purchased items to expedite recurring buys. They should also be able to purchase individual items from their lists or add an entire list to the cart with just one click for bulk ordering.
- Quoting: The platform must streamline the quoting process, allowing customers to submit a Request for Quote.
Additionally, the platform should also make it easy for customers to get help with returns, self-service, case management, order history, and order status.
Going beyond the cart with Salesforce
According to Forrester Research, the B2B commerce industry is expected to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2021.
Needless to say, businesses are scrambling to capture this opportunity. With Salesforce’s addition of B2B Commerce to its Commerce Cloud, its customers can take advantage of this shift to digital commerce.
This means B2B buyers get B2C’s convenience but with B2B-specific functionalities for complex business purchases.
After its acquisition of CloudCraze last year, Salesforce has put itself on the path of B2B e-commerce success.
Designed for businesses looking to deliver exceptional e-commerce experiences to business customers, its B2B features include:
- Authenticated websites with logins for each visitor
- Negotiated/contract pricing by account and/or by customer segment
- 2-click reorders to make large, frequent orders fast and easy
- Custom storefront themes for a unique account branding
- Customer account hierarchies for buyers and sellers to manage authorized purchasing activity by individual buyers
- Custom product catalogs for exclusive items or selected products
- Shopping carts that can accommodate hundreds or thousands of SKUs per order
- Complex shipping functionalities for multiple delivery dates and locations
- Multiple payment options
- Complex pricing and product configurations
- Combining B2B commerce transaction data with CRM data, offering a single view of customer activity across e-commerce, sales reps, and contact center communications
Salesforce now offers an integrated suite of cloud applications for helping companies better understand and sell to other businesses.
With Salesforce B2B Commerce operating as a part of the Commerce Cloud, Salesforce’s customers can offer branded e-commerce experiences for B2B buyers.
It means that B2B players can deploy platforms with retail-like features – site search, rich product images, easy checkout, and exceptional service.
Salesforce is also planning to integrate customer data from Commerce Cloud with data in its Marketing, Sales, and Service suites to offer companies a coordinated view of customer activity across self-service e-commerce, customer service, marketing campaigns, and interactions with sales reps.
In the future, Salesforce will build out order management capabilities for B2B players to efficiently route customer orders to the right fulfillment center while managing shipments.
B2B players must thus move beyond first and second-gen technology. They must innovate the buying experience and go beyond the cart.
Many enterprises have placed their trust in Salesforce, a unified e-commerce platform that offers the agility and flexibility B2B players need to step up their game.