Ecommerce is a booming industry, and B2B is becoming more and more popular within the ecommerce world. Studies show that close to half of B2B buyers are millennials, nearly double the number from 2012. And while a Generation X buyer may have preferred the pen and paper experience that a sales rep can provide, millennials are expecting that same personalized experience through a digital channel, such as your ecommerce site. Millennials grew up in a world with exponential advances in technology happening every day, and live their lives in a way that values convenience and speed. If the option is there to make a purchase with the click of a button, they are going to take advantage of it. In fact, 80% of B2B brands have said that they prefer to make use of ecommerce sites along with any other channels available. So why not add B2B capabilities to your ecommerce site?
With stats reporting that the B2B online retail market will reach over a trillion dollars within the next three years, it has become increasingly important in the world of ecommerce for your online store to have B2B capabilities. Influenced by the success of Amazon Business, the B2B buyer demographic has been changed. The exponential growth of the B2B market can be attributed to many things, one being that the two industries responsible generating this growth are manufacturers and wholesalers. These are two industries which buy large quantities of products in bulk, therefore spending more money per transaction. The average order value of a B2B transaction is around $491 as opposed to B2C which is only $147.
It is clear that getting into B2B sales will result is a greater profit than restricting yourself to B2C transactions. Another reason to get into B2B is to stay ahead of the competition. If you are waiting to get into the B2B market, there is already one of your competitors ten steps ahead of you, making money off of business to business transactions. This will put their business ahead of you, growing in sales and growing their reputation. It is important to expand your business and be the company people think of when they are looking to purchase products within your industry.
What may seem like a huge and complicated task certainly doesn’t have to be. With the proper knowledge of the marker and a quality ecommerce platform to support you, the addition of business to business features on your website can be smooth and easy. It’s an investment that you will thank yourself for in the long run. Knowing which features are most important to you is important, and making these decisions the right way can only come from doing some research on the B2B market- as well as your own industry. Who are the top players in B2B for your industry? Scope out the competition and take note of the features and functionalities available to buyers on their website. Read up on trends in the B2B market and how they are helping businesses thrive. All of this will help you to create the best website possible for your brand.
Another important thing to have a good understanding of is the difference in ecommerce platforms and which one will be right for you. Now that you’re looking to implement B2B capabilities, you need to look at how that platform supports and includes B2B functionality. It is well known that the Magento platform come equipped with robust B2B capabilities. This is what makes it a top choice for many B2B merchants out there. In addition to what’s included, there are many Magento extensions specializing in B2B which were specifically built to integrate with the platform. That’s where the Magento Marketplace comes into play. The Magento Marketplace is the official Magento extension store. It is the global ecommerce resource for applications and services that expand Magento solutions with powerful new features and functionality. This is where all the bells and whistles can be found when taking your B2B functionality to the next level.
An example of these extensions can been seen in the B2B Optimization Suite by Web Solutions NYC. This suite is made of of multiple modules which work together to provide your customers with the best B2B experience.
The first of these is the Sub Accounts Module. It allows for the creation of sub accounts by your clients which will be greatly beneficial to the businesses ordering from you. These sub accounts are set with their own individualized permissions, allowing Master account users to decide what exactly their team members have access to. Users will have the ability to enable or disable access to quote requests, set purchase amount caps, and place orders from approved RFQs. Enabling business buyers to empower the internal team members cuts down on the time it takes for most senior employees to simply accept their work. The second half of this suite is the Request for Quote Module. This module ties in with the features of the sub accounts in order to make the ordering process quick and easy for all members of the buying team. Clients can request pricing quotes, and admins can approve, decline or modify the request in the customer-facing account menu.
If you are just starting out with B2B, make sure you are running on a platform which will give you the option for B2B features. Then process to get a feel for the features included in your platform. Get used to what is being most utilized by your buyers and what isn’t. Explore the extensions available to you and decide what’s most important to implement early on. As your business grows, your site will undoubtedly become more robust with features and functionalities which will only expand growth even further.