Almost all vertical markets have suffered very severe shocks from the pandemic emergency, due to the rules imposed on movements and work activities by governments around the world, but among the realities that better than others have managed to minimize economic damage, the primacy goes without a doubt to

We remember, in fact, that while almost all the retail and wholesale trade had to lower the shutters for months, electronic sales did not suffer any limitation.

Indeed, it is worth pointing out that the most famous online shops have literally been attacked by consumers, to the point of putting in crisis for weeks the logistics entrusted to the delivery of products, however delivered to customers with a few days delay.

However, many Italian companies are not yet active in the ecommerce and have suffered very great damage in these months.

Now that the pandemic seems to loosen its grip, it is essential to take the opportunity to take a decisive step towards e-commerce.

Download the guide to the 5 elements of an ecommerce platform B2B

A choice that must be made with care. Like any other aspect of company life, the selection of the ecommerce platform should not be left to chance: it would be a very serious mistake to assume that any choice made produces the same results.

Indeed, in the B2B ecommerce market there are a considerable number of suppliers, offering their own specific features for B2B. But it is not easy to navigate among all these options. For this reason too, choosing the right ecommerce platform is becoming complicated.

It is not a mystery that B2B sellers have not chosen the same way as B2Cs in digital commerce.

Why? The mindset of many B2B companies is: • If one thing works, it doesn’t need to be changed •.

Too many realities are convinced that the secret of success lies solely in the close relationships they cultivate with their customers. Probably, most of their new clients are acquired through word of mouth.

Also, perhaps, they don’t have people with the skills needed to manage an online business. Or they hesitate because B2B business can be complex, imply many approval stages, as well as products and specific prices for different customers.

In short, starting an electronic commerce requires a cultural step even before technical or economic, and often the unknown (even if of great prospects) scares more than normal, though not profitable as possible.

Download the guide to the 5 elements of an ecommerce platform B2B

But the future of B2B is the ecommerce, which is growing rapidly. L’Ecommerce already constitutes 12% of all B2B sales in the United States and is likely to reach 17% by 2023. With such data, continue to count on word of mouth as the main selling tool is an anachronistic choice and, in the medium term, definitely losing.

Five elements for the B2B ecommerce

An excellent reason to adopt an ecommerce platform B2B lies in the average age of buyers, who are increasingly young and more accustomed to making online purchases than in previous generations.

According to a study prepared by Merit, 73% of people aged 20-35 are involved in purchasing products and services for their companies.

One third of the respondents reported that they were the only decision maker in their department. These demographics prefer to search and buy online. The only way to approach the growing generation of buyers is with an ecommerce B2B.

There are other reasons for a B2B digital business to start with: in fact, the B2B buyers that buy online are likely to buy more, especially if you simplify the purchase process.

By sugging related products and facilitating the repetition of orders based on those made previously, B2B companies increase sales.

According to a study conducted by McKinsey, B2B industry leaders generate revenue five times higher than that of an average company, while industrial customers who have had digital interactions after purchase are twice as likely to buy additional products.

Finally, B2B buyers who search online are more likely to buy at their first visit to the branch or physical shop.

There are many obstacles on the way to the adoption of an ecommerce platform B2B. First of all, there is often a legacy technology with which to have a dialogue, and the question arises of identifying the best partner to rely on for this path.

Moreover, the adoption of an ecommerce platform will have a great impact on different stakeholders including sales, customer support, merchandising, IT and of course the customer base.

Relying on the feedback of each of these components is a great starting point: seeing the same situation from a wide range of points of view allows you to get the best possible perspective, identifying shadow areas and anticipating problems that perhaps you had not even noticed.

For example, we may ask the sales department to describe the purchase process, whether customers are asking for an offer initially, or whether more approvals are needed. The sales department knows very well the flow of data to and from customers, as well as their behaviors and the things they complain about.

In fact, often commercials can provide valuable information about the requirements of ecommerce because, sometimes they place orders on behalf of customers on the ecommerce platform, or they direct customers with simple orders to the ecommerce site.

This brings us to the next step: to speak directly to customers. About half of B2B companies hope their ecommerce platform will improve customer satisfaction. It is also widely recognised that self-service options are beneficial for everyone: customers get a service on demand and companies lower costs.

But customers and product sectors can be very different. To understand what ecommerce features customers would appreciate, the best way is to question them directly.

Customer support is an additional important source of information. In fact, if something goes wrong with the ecommerce, the customer service is the one who has to take care of it. They handle returns, refunds, exceptions, errors and other problems. A conversation with customer support can help shed light on the problematic aspects of the ecommerce process in use, and what it takes to remedy it.

Ahead of the purchasing process, the central role belongs to the marketing and merchandising team, as they are content creators. They are functional to customers during the fundamental phase of research, helping them find the information they need. They can do so through advanced site navigation, search tools, promotions and personalized content. Talking with marketing and merchandising teams you can find out if the platform helps customers to move from the evaluation phase to the purchase phase.

Horizontal to all the figures mentioned so far, everything goes through the company IT department. L It can also indicate which aspects of the ecommerce can implement and which must be managed through a solution partner or development.

And the partner, as already mentioned, is fundamental in the delicate process of the B2B ecommerce. One of the advantages of working with a solution partner is its rich experience, the result of collaboration with ecommerce companies similar to ours.

It will help identify the platforms that are best suited to specific tasks and requirements, and this will allow you to quickly narrow the field without having to carry out exhausting searches. This is why it is easy to place your trust in a long-standing player in the industry like Magento: on the market for over 10 years, it offers a solid open source platform and at the same time able to offer everyone (company, employees and customers) a customer

Magento offers a customer experience that has fallen into the modern world of shopping via smartphone.

If you think it’s not relevant to an ecommerce B2B, you’re wrong. In fact, mobile phones determine or influence on average more than 40% of the turnover of the main B2B organizations.

We always remember that new buyers are native digital, and can search their smartphones during meetings or while they are at home. They can check product codes or order materials while they are working off-site. Or they can approve purchase requests while they are in the car or by plane.

Of course, the mobile experience offered must be valid and effective. 90% of B2B buyers who report having had an excellent mobile experience are more likely to buy back from the same supplier than around 50% of those reporting a poor mobile experience. If an ecommerce is not mobile friendly, you will miss the opportunity to influence offline sales and conclude a larger number of online sales.

We have already said this and we feel like pointing it out: starting with the right foot and relying on a high quality partner are the key points of an ecommerce B2B immediately effective and able to grow with the company, digitally transforming it towards more

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