Business to Business (B2B) E-commerce is a very powerful tool, often overlooked or underutilised. It can help your business provide better experience to your business customers and streamline your own operations, saving you time and money and reducing errors. If your business is both B2B and B2C, both can be easily implemented on the same website and managed together through a single management platform.
Typical Features for a B2B Website
Account / Reseller Application Forms
If you are a supplier and you require that your business customers or resellers apply for an account before disclosing wholesale prices to them or allow buying on account, then the account application process, including providing any company information and uploading any documents, such as proof of bank account or company registration certificate, can be done through well designed online forms with sufficient instructions and information provided online to guide the applicant through the process and reduce or completely eliminate involvement of your staff in the application process. No more lost forms or documents, you have a complete record of all applications in a searchable database. Further communication with the customer can be done on the application transaction keeping related communication in a single place for easy reference. Application status can be managed in the system as well. Automated emails can be generated and sent at different points in the application process, typically at the time of receiving there can be an Application Received confirmation email and once the application is approved, there can be an Account Open confirmation email. The experience can be fully cusotmised.
Tiered Pricing & Quantity Discounts
If you have different pricing for different business customers, perhaps based on the overall volumes a customer is buying or other factors, tiered pricing enables you to set this up for online ordering. Tiers are configurable, you can have Silver, Gold and Platinum tier, for example. It is technically possible to have account-specific tiers, having bespoke pricing for an account. When your customer signs into their account on your website, the pricing shown to them will change from the regular pricing to the pricing applicable to their tier. If your website is B2B only, you can also elect to not show pricing to the general public, visitors not signed in / not having accounts with you will simply not see any pricing on your website.
Efficient Online Ordering
For B2B websites, there is typically less focus on the product presentation and more focus on efficiency of ordering. Depending on your product range, different product search methods can be employed. Instead of having the typical large pictures and the standard 12-20 products per page on collection (category) pages, collection pages can be done more like Excel forms, with short description of each product, price, field to enter required quantity and per product Add to Cart button or one Add to Cart at the button for the entire page. Possibilities are limitless and can be tailored to your specific business, typical order patterns, product range size and more.
Order on Account
If your business customers are allowed to order on account and pay later, such option can be added to your website checkout. Also, account balance can be displayed along with credit limit, if there is one. This can work for both postpaid and prepaid accounts, the difference is that the later have to put money in their account first and then order, the former can order and get the products and later pay for them.
If you allow ordering on account and if online payment methods are available, such as credit / debit card payments, then account payment feature can be added to your website enabling your customers to pay into their account. Online payments are typically confirmed instantly, which can speed up order processing.
You can offer your business customers access to their account statement, showing all orders and payments related to their account in chronological order with running balance and current account balance.
Quotations with Optional Discounts
Advanced quotation functionality offers an efficient method of putting together conventional or complex quotations with discounts / custom pricing, different product alternatives, optional items and more. The quotation is typically sent to the customer via email, the customer can then view it online and then checkout and pay through the standard checkout and payment process.
Order Online, Collect In Store
This option is quickly gaining popularity as it improves efficiency, eliminates queues, long waits and more. Customers can place their orders at their convenience and then collect the order from a store or a collection point.
Cart / Product Enquiry
Convenient function enabling your customers to ask questions about a product or a group of products.
These are examples, not an exhaustive list, of typical B2B features that can benefit your business. Book an obligation-free consultation to discuss your specific business and business needs.
Having a functional B2B website tailored to your business needs is a powerful tool that helps you create an image of a strong and reputable company.
Shifting certain functions from email and telephonic conversations or even worse, paper forms, to their online equivalent, increases your business capacity, makes your processes more efficient and reduces the risk of errors.