B2B Ecommerce: Why Manufacturers Must Cater to Buyers’ Needs

Is your business missing valuable revenue methods and opportunities to cut down on your bottom-line expenses because you haven’t maximized on B2B e-commerce opportunities?

If your B2B business isn’t on the Internet yet, you’ve run out of excuses not to be by now. It’s no longer a novelty for businesses, including B2B businesses, to have an e-commerce presence.

Those that don’t are missing out on some noteworthy opportunities. More than half of all Internet users have reported making a purchase online in 2018, including B2B customers.

With the industry evolving so quickly, businesses need to develop new strategies to keep up.

To grow B2B online sales while competing against Amazon Business and other online leaders, companies need to better understand the customer journey and engage their customers in helpful ways.

For manufacturers to secure a substantial piece of that very large pie, they need to learn from business practices that mirror B2C e-commerce experiences in order to improve customer loyalty and increase revenue.

Here are a few tips to help grow B2B e-commerce business:

Learn from B2C best practices

B2B companies need to develop strategies and deploy technology that quickly and easily gathers customer information, and incorporate that information into the sales and negotiating process.

Savvy manufacturers know how to use that data to create a better customer experience based on each customer’s unique needs and interests.

Create AI-driven personalized experiences

Providing customers with the information they need at the right time on the right device can go a long way to increase revenue.

Leveraging AI-powered recommendations based on similar purchases made by other customers, or terms like “high performance” or “best quality”, allows customers to make smarter purchasing decisions.

The chatbot walks customers through a series of questions and, based on the answers, provides recommendations for purchasing products.

Offer flexible ordering and pricing options

Giving buyers a more personalized purchasing experience can go a long way toward securing sales.

To ensure buyers feel accommodated instead of boxed in, there’s a need to give them options.

It’s also a good idea to offer a variety of payment options from credit cards and digital wallets to purchase orders and payment terms so buyers can pay in whatever way works for their business.

Giving buyers flexible terms, like a larger payment window or the ability to pay in installments, is also helpful.

Mobilize your platform

Improving the website’s functionality on mobile platforms can lead to more sales. Like most consumers, B2B buyers enjoy the convenience of shopping and conducting research on their phones.

The B2B e-commerce platform for manufacturers and distributors must have a mobile app that lets sales reps access digital catalogs, write orders, and check inventory when they’re on the go.

Improve customer service

Stellar customer service can help build brand loyalty. Brainstorm ways to give buyers an easier, enjoyable shopping experience. Start by extending customer service hours, for example, or install a live chat function on your site.

Developing a reputation for being approachable and accommodating can help increase customer satisfaction and win referrals.

For manufacturers to stay ahead of the competition, they need to create strategies that put the customer at the center of the sales process and incorporate technology that supports the strategy.

There are many lessons to be learned from B2C companies as to how to engage with customers, deliver recommendations based on their needs, and provide systems that are more user-friendly.

Tapping into the network with suppliers and wholesalers can also help you secure customer loyalty.

The key to growing any e-commerce business is catering to buyers’ needs.