B2B eCommerce Best Practices: 7 Tips for Stronger Sales

B2B eCommerce shows no signs of slowing down. Despite a challenging 2020, B2B eCommerce sales still grew by 10% in 2020 to $1.39 billion. Despite that growth, B2B eCommerce is still a small percentage of overall B2B sales, with plenty of further room for growth, and B2B eCommerce best practices have emerged over time that can benefit anyone in the space.

The pandemic brought some turbulence into the picture, but one of the key things that came out of it was a strengthened willingness to order more electronically, both B2C and B2B eCommerce. Social distancing, restricted travel and the cancellation of trade shows and other in-person sales opportunities meant very little business was done face to face, but instead was done electronically.

2020 also meant that there were clear trends between businesses that were able to capitalize on opportunities caused by the pandemic, while other businesses were forced to pull back for the moment until things began to return to normal.

That means some businesses were able to move forward more aggressively than others, and that means opportunities for those who were waiting for more normalcy to begin investing in their businesses again. But whether you were able to move ahead successfully in 2020 or not, these B2B eCommerce best practices can aid your business.

B2B eCommerce Best Practices Your Company Can Implement

With that in mind, here are seven B2B eCommerce best practices that can help improve your sales:

  1. Embrace B2C eCommerce Techniques
  2. Enable and Encourage Self-Service Purchases
  3. Integrate Your Various Business Systems
  4. Empower Your Sales Team with Mobile Solutions
  5. Streamline Ordering for B2B Commerce
  6. Make Pattern Buying Simple
  7. Maintain a Human Connection

Let’s take a look at each in turn:

1. Embrace B2C eCommerce Techniques

Even though you may be a B2B business, your buyers are B2C purchasers when they get home at night. With more than 20 years of B2C eCommerce experience in many cases, your buyers will have certain expectations of how things should be done. This could be simple things like being able to check the status of an order, to more complicated things like managing a set of buyers on a single account.

The good news is that B2B eCommerce platforms continue to evolve and improve, and that means features that would have been out of reach even a few years ago are now available off the shelf as part of modern B2B Commerce solutions. So you can make these features available to your buyers as part of a modern implementation.

2. Enable and Encourage Self-Service Purchases

Connected to the first point, there will be a class of customers who are able and willing to make purchases on their own, as long as they’re given the right tools for the job. This means being able to see their own customer catalog and pricing, as well as be able to handle more B2B-centric possibilities such as enter purchase orders or Buy Now/Pay Later.

This generally means making available either an order portal or website to log in and place orders, vs. having to reach out to a salesperson. It also means having a way to place orders both on desktop and mobile devices, whether be it a responsive website or dedicated mobile app.

3. Integrate Your Various Business Systems

Having your business data properly flow between systems such as CRM, ERP, accounting and eCommerce systems is a helpful B2B eCommerce best practice that reduces data entry errors and ensures the most accurate information is available to all parties.

Whether it be having orders more quickly flow to another system for fulfillment, new products or product inventory being available in real time on your website, or having an invoice trigger at the right time from your accounting software, an integrated set of solutions will reduce the day-to-day overhead of managing your buyers, products and sales data.

4. Empower Your sales Team with Mobile Solutions

While trade shows and in-person sales may feel like a distant memory, they’re going to be coming back before too much longer, and in the meantime your sales team has still been hard at work with your buyers.

Mobile solutions allow them to take orders anytime, anywhere on any device, and a dedicated sales rep app with an offline mode is recommended to make it even easier to take orders when Internet access isn’t available.

By getting your sales team online with an app, it will ensure orders are entered into the system faster, reduce transcription errors and simplify the workflow for your team, allowing them to take more orders.

Even working from home, an app can be simpler than jumping between tabs on a computer. That’s exactly how Milkhouse Candle Company is leveraging Zoey to success today:

Eric Sparrow Milkhouse Candle Company headshot“We respect our customers’ time. They’re wearing a lot of hats. We want to make sure when that customer calls to order, they can get on and off that phone in a jiffy. Instead of switching between screens on their computer, we have this app ready to go.”

Eric Sparrow, President, Milkhouse Candle Company

5. Streamline Ordering for B2B eCommerce

While B2C eCommerce customers like to shop, in most cases B2B eCommerce customers like to buy. That means more often than not they know what they need, and so the ordering process should be as simple as possible, with as many steps removed as can be practical.

This means having features like Quick Order to easily enter SKU/quantity pairings, or product browsing screens that let you add multiple SKUs and quantities to your cart at one time.

6. Make Pattern Buying Simple

Taken a step further, if you’re selling products that are commonly ordered on a cycle, further tools should exist for quick reordering, review of previously ordered products for simple reorder, or even the ability to schedule orders on a standard cycle, to reduce the need to have to go through a bunch of hassle to get the same items regularly ordered.

This is another area where B2C eCommerce has gotten ahead of B2B eCommerce, but B2B eCommerce is quickly catching up.

7. Maintain a Human Connection

Just because you’re empowering buyers to purchase more easily, that doesn’t mean they won’t still need help. So the sales team still plays a critical role here, as does customer service.

This means having easy ways to contact your team for help. It could be having an easy connection to a sales rep on the site, or having more standard eCommerce tools like Live Chat or phone options to call in when your buyer hits a hurdle.

Modern eCommerce systems, whether B2B or B2C, allow for customer service or sales reps to be able to see what’s in the buyer’s cart, and either create a Sales Quote or draft order to be approved by the customer, or the ability to update the cart values for the buyer to complete the journey on their own.

Zoey Can Help You Implement B2B eCommerce Best Practices

If you’re ready to upgrade your experience for your team and your buyers, Zoey is here with a modern and robust set of B2B eCommerce features. Click the button below to request a conversation with our Success Team to learn how we can help your business:

Talk to the Zoey Success Team

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