Before you launch your new B2B site, there are some things you should do to make sure that your business takes off on the right foot. The first few months are crucial in determining the success of your brand in the B2B market, so starting off fully prepared is very important. Before launch, you want to make sure you understand the B2B market. Do your research on how it differs from B2C and read up on some of the trends in the market to stay ahead of your competition. Some of the main features which separate B2B ecommerce from B2C include:
- Quick order possibility
- Requisition lists
- Quotation tools
- Customer structure and user roles
- User identification
- Customer service
- Personalized offerings and content
- Different payment methods
- Credit limits
- Different order processes
- Punch out
- Drop ship
- Back orders
- Internal tools
- Customer service
- Tools for resellers
These different aspects of ecommerce exist because B2B buyer’s needs and processes differ from your typical B2C client. Starting off with B2B ecommerce may seem like an extremely difficult and complex task, but with the right knowledge base, quality products, and a well equipped ecommerce platform, nothing can keep you from succeeding. Making the move to B2B must be done in the proper way in order to achieve success. In order to avoid disorganization and ultimately failure, another sort of research that you should have prior to launch is understanding your own business challenges. This goes for the general challenges of the B2B market as well as challenges specific to your business. Do your research- ask questions and see what aspects of your business need improvement. Go through your current workflow plan and try to rid yourself of overly complicated or unnecessary processes which could waste time and efforts. You want to have everything laid out as simply and efficiently as you can when preparing for a big change in the way business is done.
Aside from going through aspects of your business which need improvement, go through the key factors which are most important to keep or implement. There are likely many features and functionalities you’d love to be part of your B2B ecommerce site, but time and budget can be limiting. Organize a plan of action which includes the features you need to have included for launch, the features you’d like to have included by launch, and the features you hope to implement some day down the road. This road map will help you to keep a structured plan towards growth without things getting messy. As your business continues to thrive, you can then go back to the additional features you’d like added and implement them.
Start off slow and steady by kicking off your launch with with a smaller number of quality products, and then study the results. This will help you to see patterns and take note of where you are succeeding and where you are failing. It will also help you to learn the differences between B2B and B2C so that you can continue to grow in products number- and hopefully in sales. This process may consist as some trial and error. Paying close attention to trends based on what’s causing buyers to convert sales. There is so much that goes into your consumer’s online experience, and taking note of what works and what does is sure to bring you consistent success. From the marketing, to the website features, website design, and the way your products are displayed- everything counts and will reflect in your sales. This type of preparation and organization will set you on the road to success for all future strategies in how you’d like your business to thrive.
Organization is key when making any kind of big transition, and making the move to B2B is no different. In order to prevent unnecessary stress or confusion, you must keep your data structured and organized. With the technology available today, your buyers are leaving an enormous digital footprint full of data. This data may show how long they stayed on a page, what they clicked on, what they returned to, and what caused them to exit your site. To not utilize this data to the fullest extent would be failing to tap into one of your greatest resources. In order to use this data effectively, you must keep it organized.
In addition to customer data, this goes for any data you have about products, orders, shipments, or anything else. Having all data in a place where it can be easily accessed and utilized will prevent confusion and disappointed customers. This type of organization includes having a system where you can keep a real time view of orders and inventory at all times. Keeping close track of orders coming in and out as well as how much physical inventory is available will ensure that when a customer’s order is confirmed, the products they need will be shipped to them in the appropriate amount of time.
Keeping a loyal customer is about the relationship between your business and the buyer. They want to know that they can depend on your for their business needs and that they will not be let down. Their relationship with you in some ways will affect their business, and they don’t want to be disappointed by inconsistencies. If they place an order and that order is confirmed, they expect to receive the product they were sold in the amount of time that they were promised. Being unorganized can lead to errors which disrupt this process and leave your consumer disappointed. In the end, the most important thing to remember for your B2B launch (as well as throughout the following days) is to remain organized and structured in every way so that your clients can receive the service they are hoping for.