To gain a competitive edge, more and more wholesalers are adding e-commerce capabilities to their operations. It's clear that customers want to be able to order without having to call and wait for representatives, make appointments with salespeople, or go through other time-consuming and error-prone processes.
However, many companies find that their B2B e-commerce platform doens't take off the way they had hoped. This is because their sites don't provide the experience customers are looking for.
Just what do customers want in a B2B order site? Thanks to the prevalence of B2C sites, customers have developed strong ideas of what an e-commerce site should offer. These expectations have spread to interactions with B2B sites. A B2B site that only has a basic list of products, and a clunky and cumbersome interface just won't do the job in today's world. Here are some things that modern customers expect every e-commerce site to have:
Clear and Easily Understood Product Listings with Pictures
Wholesalers often operate under the assumption that customers need no explanations about the stock they offer. It is presumed that a customer such as a retail store buyer knows exactly what she's looking for and is only interested in pricing information. In reality, this is far from the case. Many buyers are actively prowling for new merchandise to source from wholesalers. These buyers have just as many questions as retail customers, and the site needs to answer them before an order will be placed.
Easy Access to Account Information
B2B wholesalers have many customers who are on in-house credit accounts. These customers need to be able to see their account information at a glance. Provide a secure area with their current balances, remaining available credit, payment due dates, and other relevant information and reduce the amount of calls you get to the office.
Give customers a preview of stock availability as well as their specific pricing and you will arm them with all pertinent information needed to place orders quickly, with minimal to no interaction with your office.
Simplicity in Ordering
Older B2B sites often have one huge problem: It's impossible to figure out how to buy anything! A customer comes to the site, has to find the link to the product catalog, and is finally presented with a list of products. Prices are very commonly missing entirely. There might not be any apparent links to add products to their order. Even one of these issues makes it so that online sales cannot happen. Despite this, old-fashioned business sites often mention ordering online with no sign of it. This shows that at some point, someone was hoping to use such sites to increase the company's business.
To get a great experience out of a B2B e-commerce site, you must make it as easy to use as a major B2C operation. Put the products right out there so people can see them. Include detailed descriptions and prices. Add a drop-down list or radio buttons so customers can choose the size or quantity they want. Finally, make sure that order forms are customized to a particular customer so they can order quickly and with minimal effort. This will keep your customers coming back.
Integration with Records of Offline Activity
Many B2B customers will ask questions, place orders, and negotiate credit terms through a variety of channels. Despite this, they want to be able to log in online and see everything at a glance. Make it happen by integrating Now Commerce software with your QuickBooks accounting software. It'll seamlessly pull all of the relevant data and display it to your customer. Your customers will never have to abandon an order due to questions about their status or the in-stock status of the items of interest. Best of all, they’ll be able to access their information anytime they need, from anywhere.
Once you set up your B2B e-commerce site so that it meets today's standards of appearance and usability, you'll find that your customers are glad to enter orders online. It'll improve efficiency on both sides, reduce errors, and increase customer satisfaction. Upgrade today to reap the benefits of doing business online.