Beyond B2C: The Must-Have E-commerce Features for B2B
Once you understand the motivations and buying habits that separate B2B buyers from B2C shoppers, the next step is structuring your e-commerce site to address the more specific demands of B2B buying.
Common E-commerce Features with a B2B Twist
You’ll need to use common B2C features but boost functionality to address more complicated B2B buyer needs.
Quick order –“Quick order” for B2B means more than entering a product number to make a purchase. Make it easy to order multiple items at a time, place a reorder, and export data from the buyer’s account.
On-site search – Smart auto-complete is important in both worlds to make a buyer’s experience easier and faster. B2B buyers also need to search by product number and manufacturer part number.
Guided navigation and Faceted search – Make your product menus comprehensive, with options to narrow and filter categories of products so buyers can quickly find what they’re looking for. Include the ability to narrow search results on multiple product attributes such as manufacturer, make and model, and application.
Product detail page – Every buyer needs product details; for a B2B buyer include the item #, manufacturer part #, UPC code, and any relevant cross-reference #’s to help meet the buyer’s exact specifications.
Split shipping/Multiple “Ship To” addresses – It’s common for a B2B buyer to have responsibility for purchasing goods across multiple locations. So make sure they can ship the contents of a single cart to multiple shipping addresses.
Personalization – Since most B2B transactions require a login, a seller has a wealth of buyer information to work with. Use information about the buyer’s company, industry, and transaction history to personalize content and product offers.
B2B Specific Features
B2B buyers have custom concerns that need additional custom features.
Quotes and RFQ – Encourage new B2B buyers by allowing them to “Request for Quote” without having to create an account and log in. Make it easy for them to turn a finalized quote into an order by making sure your system is set up to honor any special contract pricing.
Competitor cross reference – Including competitor cross-reference numbers in the search experience may sound like advertising against yourself, but actually allowing a customer to compare your product, and find corresponding parts, by using competitor part numbers can make you a valuable resource for alternatives and comparisons.
Custom catalog and contract pricing – Contract pricing and special product offerings can be complex to execute in e-commerce but are also one of the most important features in B2B sales. After login, a customer should see only products they are allowed to purchase, and only their contract prices should be displayed (including volume discounts).
Don’t just rely on B2C features to create a customer-focused B2B e-commerce experience. Optimize those features for more sophisticated buying habits and add additional features to promote long-term relationships with your B2B buyers.