4 January 2023
Top tips for setting your B2B eCommerce strategy
eCommerce had been a growing trend for some years. Then the pandemic hit in 2020 and suddenly it grew exponentially, both in B2C and B2B markets. It is estimated that Covid-19 accelerated digital transformation by between three and five years, with 58% of B2B buyers using eCommerce more for their purchases than pre-2020.
For the personalisation market, this growth has led to an increase in market value in the UK. The industry is now worth over £1 billion per annum, not including schoolwear. While this growth has released a great deal of potential, many eCommerce businesses are failing to take real advantage of it, mainly because they lack a cohesive B2B eCommerce strategy.
Here, we look at how the online market has changed, some of the challenges in B2B eCommerce, and how you can ensure that your personalisation business is making the most of this continually growing trend.
Changes in the online market
Research by an organisation called Sapio Research on behalf of Sana, has revealed a dramatic shift in behavioural patterns of B2B buyers. Many businesses now regard eCommerce as their primary buying channel. Two-thirds of B2B buyers are spending 45% more online than pre-pandemic. And the percentage of products bought online has increased from 51% to 67%.
Today, 87% of buyers will go online to identify new suppliers – an increase of 9% – while 74% will use a webstore to evaluate the business – an increase of 14%. Following this, 79% will order online – another increase of 9% – and 77% will reorder online, up from 72%.
Half of all businesses use a B2B eCommerce platform most frequently for placing orders, followed by email at 45%. It’s worth remembering, though, that that 45% will have checked out your eCommerce webstore before placing their order, and will be basing their purchasing decision on their findings.
Despite more and more businesses choosing to purchase online, it’s not without its frustrations for buyers. Further research by this group reveals that 50% of B2B eCommerce sites are failing to meet customer expectations, with 94% of buyers reporting that they still encounter some form of customer convenience challenge.
What are these challenges? The most common ones reported are:
- Delivery and tracking
- Lack of visibility of product features
- Issues around checkout and payment
- Difficulties when reordering
In addition, there are offline challenges being presented, which include:
- The availability of offline assistance
- Prevalence of order errors
- Difficulties in the returns process
Luckily, none of these problems are insurmountable, and can be overcome with some research and process improvements. Here, we’ll concentrate on the B2B eCommerce strategy aspects.
So, what can you do to ensure the best possible B2B eCommerce experience that will keep your customers returning time and time again?
Data, data, data
One of the great things about B2B eCommerce is that you have literally tons of data at your fingertips.
The right B2B eCommerce website will allow you to track every individual visit, interaction and transaction. This allows you to analyse customer behaviour, optimise their journey through the buying process, and personalise their online experience. You can also assess the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, allowing you to make informed decisions for future plans.
However, add in an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, and a whole new world of data opens up. Suddenly, you can see your exact stock situation at any given moment, track order progress, and understand buying patterns. Never under- or over-sell again.
Delivery and tracking
Offer clients a range of shipping options and use tracking wherever possible. This provides reassurance to your customers that their goods are on their way.
Also, an ERP system will allow staff to see where in the process an order is, enabling them to answer customer queries in realtime, every time customers get in contact.
Use multiple high-resolution images that clearly show your products in all their glory. And add descriptions of the products features and benefits. This will not only reduce queries but will enhance the professional appearance of both your website and your business, making customers more likely to purchase.
Ease of checkout
Checking out an order should be simple and straightforward. Checkout optimisation is proven to increase conversion rates by more than 35%. That’s many more completed orders.
However, B2B buyer needs aren’t quite so simple as those of the B2C world. Payment terms are one of the top reasons for purchasing from a supplier according to 41% of all B2B buyers. You may wish to offer differentiated pricing, bulk-buy discounts, and 30-day or other terms. While B2B eCommerce businesses have had to move on, many organisations still work with bank transfers, or even cheques, rather than using credit or debit cards.
The checkout process is also a great place to relieve any concerns of B2B buyers when it comes to return policies or transparency about shipping and tax rates. Make the most of this opportunity by clearly laying them out prior to the final step.
B2B eCommerce customers will often want to reorder. Make the process simple by allowing them to access previous orders with their artwork and clothing styles already stored. By making the reordering procedure easy, B2B buyers will return again and again.
Many – if not most – of us have shopped on Amazon. Amazon is an absolute genius when it comes to personalisation. You can’t buy a toothbrush without it suggesting other products you might like, tempting you with items you may not even realised you needed.
With B2B eCommerce, suggesting other products along with offering bundles of associated items, such as polo shirts, trousers and fleece jackets, makes the buyer’s life easier and encourages them to purchase more than they may have intended.
Personalisation can always be used to encourage sales even when the buyer may not be actively seeking to purchase. Keeping them updated on the stock situation of frequently-purchased items to encourage urgent purchasing decisions, and restocking schedules for forward ordering, are ways of increasing purchases.
Demystify Digital’s solutions
Demystify Digital has over two decades’ experience of the garment personalisation market combined with extensive eCommerce knowledge. We offer a range of solutions to our clients.
eCommerce website development
Demystify Digital specialises in creating, migrating and implementing B2B eCommerce websites for the workwear, schoolwear, personalisation, print and promotional gift sectors. We create clean, professional looking designs that ensure that your webstore makes the right impression, every time.
Our websites are fully optimised for PC, tablet and mobile, for increased sales and better search engine rankings. Content is also search engine optimised to boost the visibility of your website.
eCommerce back-office system
In addition to our websites, Demystify Digital has created its very own, designed for the personalisation market, back-office SaaS system. This eCommerce software enables users to upload designs and approve them within a few clicks, make payments, and store and access past orders. With minimal human interaction, manhours are saved, and profits increased.
Our SaaS also integrates seamlessly with ERP systems and accounts packages for a true end-to-end process. Connect it with ERPs such as Tracker for automation of the digitisation process and to send it automatically to your production machines. It can also monitor realtime stock levels and provides valuable data for staff and customers alike.
Want to know more?
At Demystify Digital, we aim to demystify the digital process. That’s why we offer all potential clients a FREE one-hour consultation to discuss their individual needs and requirements. Booking an appointment is easy. Simply call us on 01903 372 402 or email us on [email protected].
In the meantime, why not check out our Decoration Demos to see just some of the functionality we offer?
Book a meeting today!
Think or can help or need to talk? Book an online Teams meeting today or call 01903 372 402