When we think of ecommerce, Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, or other B2C platforms come to our minds. That’s because B2B has not been able to catch up with the innovation provided by B2C businesses. But that doesn’t mean that B2B ecommerce is a small sector. It only means there’s a lot of potential waiting to be tapped.
Back in 2019, the global B2C ecommerce sales amounted to $3.5 trillion whereas B2B’s total merchandise value amounted to a whopping $12.2 trillion.
B2B ecommerce businesses have to buckle up as their customers are demanding better customer experience, support & service, and satisfaction. They will have to bring out their whiteboards, analyze B2C business’ approaches, and then create strategies that will improve their sales while providing excellent customer service.
B2B ecommerce comes with a set of unique challenges. For example, in B2B, the buying and procurement processes are long and complex with many decision-makers, there’s a need for a personal touch in relationships, the payment terms need to be flexible, and the shipping requirements and processes are also complicated.
You need to take all these challenges into account before finalizing strategies for your ecommerce brand.
According to a study by Gallup, only 29% of B2B customers are fully engaged with the companies they are doing business with. That means there’s a huge opportunity with the rest of 71% of customers.
To tap into that opportunity, your sales and marketing strategies need to focus on customer retention and loyalty, better customer engagement, and streamlining your buying process.
In this article, we are going to share customer-centric tips and ways to improve your B2B ecommerce sales. Let’s dive in.
Tips and Ways to Improve B2B Ecommerce Sales
- Simplify the value proposition of your products
Unlike in B2C, products, their features, and benefits are quite complicated in B2B.
In B2C, simply listing features and benefits will do the trick, but with B2B products, you need to step up your game. Instead of over-complicating already complex things, aim to simplify your value proposition and core product. While doing so, keep the following things in mind:
- Always have an about us page to tell your story and who you are as a business
- Talk about why they should care, and how will they benefit from doing business with you.
- Write about your product in simple language while also addressing the problems your solution solves.
- Don’t forget to address the onboarding process
- And lastly, any additional and important details you would like your customers to know about your business or product. It can be anything from your products supporting the UN’s SDGs or your aim to go completely green.
Pro Tip: Don’t try to impress or look professional by using industry jargon. What works for B2C is simplified layouts, product specifications, and easy-to-navigate estore. Your B2B estore needs to be simple enough to be understood by an expert and a beginner in your industry.
For example, BigCommerce caters to ecommerce businesses. It is a platform using which businesses can build their estores. Even though they carter to businesses, their language is simple and easy to understand. From the first look itself, you can get a solid understanding of their business and value proposition.
- Improve Functionality of On-site Search and Navigation
Around 94% of consumers say that the website should be easy to navigate, according to Small Biz Trends. A site that is easily navigable allows your customers to find what they are looking for in a matter of seconds. The more time they spend figuring out where to go, the lesser your chances get of converting them into paying customers.
Here are a few tips to improve the functionality of your on-site search:
- Include features like auto-complete or suggestions to help your visitors quickly find what they are looking for.
- Test minor language changes in the functionality of your search box. For example, replace “Go” with “Find”. Such changes can bring significant changes in search usage and conversion rates.
- Make sure your users don’t encounter a dead-end, which is the “No Results” page. To stop your visitors from abandoning your site, add contact us links or search suggestions, or other engaging elements on the “No Results” page.
- Contextualize your search results. Feed their previously visited web pages data, device data, etc. into your search algorithms to provide better results to your visitors.
And here’s how you can improve your B2B ecommerce website’s navigation:
- Clear division of categories
- Keep the navigation design, fonts, and other design elements consistent throughout
- Make each element of your navigation clickable
- Revisit your navigation titles to make sure they are accurate and easy to understand
- In case you have images in your navigation, make sure they are clickable and have proper ALT text
- Most importantly, make sure your search functionality is working.
As your customers can easily navigate through your website and find what they are looking for, you can expect better conversion rates and reduced site abandonment rates.
- Flexible Pricing Options
In B2B space, your pricing needs to be affordable but competitive based on your target audience. Moreover, for better conversions, you will need to provide flexible pricing options to your customers. In B2B, it’s a common practice to place test orders before finalizing vendors for which you will need to provide flexibility in pricing and product quantity.
Further, here are a few expert B2B pricing strategies to boost your B2B ecommerce sales:
- Customize pricing based on your customers (for wholesales and retail)
- To capture a bigger market share, under-sell your products. This pricing technique is called predatory pricing. Before following this strategy, do your due diligence.
- Different pricing based on regions – vendors or businesses in metropolitan cities can afford to pay more, whereas businesses in lesser developed regions might not have big budgets. This strategy is a win-win-win.
- Bundle complementary products to cross-sell. The overall price of the package is usually lower than the actual total cost of each product and hence, such packages become lucrative options for your buyers.
- To better your profit margins, practice dynamic pricing – a pricing strategy where the price of products changes based on the real-time supply and demand.
The more pricing options you provide to your customers, the better the chances of them buying from you and thereby boosting your sales.
Bonus: Read this definitive guide for a detailed understanding of B2B ecommerce, pricing strategies, best practices, and common mistakes to avoid.
- Simplify your check out process
Cart abandonment rates are usually high in the ecommerce sector. They directly affect your business’s bottom line, and hence it’s crucial to keep them in check.
To put things in perspective, ecommerce brands lose $18 billion every year due to card abandonment, and the general cart abandonment rate in the ecommerce sector is around 69.5%.
To avoid losing your customers to cart abandonment, the quick and easy fix is to simplify your checkout process. This means your customers should be able to search products, add them to the cart, and check out within the fewest possible clicks.
Other proven ways to simplify your check out process:
- Add a short order form with multiple payment options like PayPal, eWallets, Debit and Credit Cards, etc. For payments, deploy an algorithm that detects the type of card instead of your customers having to choose from a dropdown.
- Remove all the unnecessary fields from the order form
- If possible, have one-page checkout process instead of the usual 3-4 pages check out
- Allow guest checkout
- Display testimonials, certifications, awards, return policies, etc. on your check out page to build trust
- Have a live chat feature on your check out page to enable your customers to start conversations in case they get stuck anywhere in the process
A simplified checkout process will lead to better conversion rates and increased sales. Once your customers place an order with you, make sure your supply chain manager is overseeing the order fulfillment process for maximizing customer satisfaction.
- Create content to educate
Having a repository of value-adding content is not a luxury anymore for a B2B ecommerce brand. It’s a must-have.
Your blog section is a testimonial to your expertise.
In B2B, most of the buyers start their journeys with a simple Google search of the problems they are facing or the solution they want to explore. As a B2B business, you’ll need to ensure your presence on SERPs. The easiest way to appear on SERPs for your targeted keywords is to publish SEO-optimized content, frequently.
To help you get started, here are the top 5 content marketing ideas for B2B ecommerce business:
- Email marketing – send personalized emails to your leads. Email marketing has better ROI than any other communication channel, and it works wonders especially for B2B businesses.
- Blogging – use keyword research tools like Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Ahrefs, etc. to look for content ideas relevant to your audience and then start creating.
- Downloadable content upgrades to capture more leads. A few examples for your reference:
- Sign up for our free webinar on how to streamline supply chain operations
- Free email course to convert better
- Free industry expert interview to sell better
The opportunity is big in the B2B ecommerce sector. All you need to do is find the right ways that work for your business and customers, and you’ll be gold.
Before we part our ways, here are a few quick extra tips for boosting B2B ecommerce sales in 2021.
- Ensure your site is optimized for mobile commerce
- Invest in software that’ll help you manage and track your inventory in real-time
- If your product requires a demo or sample, make sure the process to opt for the demo is simple
- Add customer reviews on your product pages
- Get in touch with complimentary brands to form long-lasting partnerships to leverage their audience
Chris Mcdonald has been the lead news writer at complete connection. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides. Chris is also an author of tech blog Area19delegate. He likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.