The cut-throat competition in the B2B landscape rivals that of the biggest sporting tournaments. Because there is no room for error, an organization must continuously adapt in order to stay relevant. At the heart of the competition lies the success of your e-commerce portal, perhaps the most crucial weapon in your business armory.
As more business buyers turn to the internet to make purchases, the e-commerce portal takes center stage in the customer journey. The right e-commerce portal will allow a wide range of operations such as sales, marketing, and customer relationship management on a single platform, paving the way for personalized customer experiences and strong customer relations.
To ensure the success of your B2B portal, here are some key areas to keep in mind.
Personalizing Customer Experience
Information is the most important resource for organizations in the 21st century. Your B2B e-commerce portal should allow for aggregating large amounts of customer data, that you can then leverage to personalize the customer experience.
For example, your portal should have the functionality to allow customers to view and repeat their past orders and get recommendations based on order history.
B2B customers today expect fast and responsive portals with easy ordering functionality, smooth search and navigation, detailed product information, images, and simple checkout. Because business buyers frequently reorder items, they also expect to access order history, catalog, inventory availability, and freight options on your portal instead of having to call a sales representative to make or change a large purchase.
The customer experience, therefore, depends on a robust technological platform that offers a truly personalized shopping experience. Choose a portal that can organize customers based on their profile, personally tailoring their shopping cart experience. Once a customer logs in, personalized recommendations and product offers should be presented based on their profile and order history.
B2B portals require integration with several other platforms to ensure smooth operation and maximum value to customers. Some common platforms that need integration have to do with Enterprise Resource Platforms (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), tax, payment, and delivery.
Now, new tools for merchandising, behavioral analytics, marketing, and advertising are also making their way to B2B e-commerce portals. Your portal should easily integrate such systems to ensure a smooth purchasing experience.
The base of all marketing planning is market research. Salesforce add-ons like DocGen convert available data into documents which can be readily used for analysis and evaluation. In terms of marketing strategy, this data can help you identify the strong and weak areas of your organization and make decisions accordingly. The developed strategy should advocate the usage of online platforms and encourage customers to shift from traditional to modern systems.
Online platforms enable differential pricing by dividing customers into groups based on geographical location, order volume, etc., therefore offering distinct rates to maximize both customer satisfaction and company profit. Choose a portal that features tools such as bulk discounts and/or starter value offers that bring in short-term sales and build long-term relations.
Creating quality content on your e-commerce portal is critical to your success. The content should include all product details and specifications that customers need to make an informed purchase decision. The content developed should be creative, not being limited to written material.
Content should include short and long descriptions, user manuals, safety data sheets, etc. Photos, videos, and infographics should also be added to help the customer. The content should also be localized for international buyers.
Ease of Use
Your e-commerce portal should be easily navigable. The key advantage of e-commerce is the convenience offered and any operation that a customer needs, like ordering a product, lodging a complaint, and accessing past data, should be simple. The search and navigation features of your website are critical to ensuring that the customer is able to access the information they need. A user-friendly website is necessary to ensure an effortless and comfortable customer experience.
Not all e-commerce platforms are created equal, and they are not all equipped to handle complex B2B transactions. This means choosing the right e-commerce solution is the precursor to ensuring success in the B2B world. Platforms like Salesforce have simplified B2B e-commerce greatly and are now crucial for the success of modern organizations.
But just as with every asset of your company, you need to take steps that will reap the maximum returns from your e-commerce platform. Focusing on the right aspects will ensure that your e-commerce portal is a success.