A TRUE STORY:
A LinkedIn user asked ChatGPT, “What is the fastest & sufire way to build a lucrative business? Suggest a business model for me.”
Chat GPT told this user to build an ecommerce business in retail apparel. So, this user has now built a functional t-shirt business that is working. There are many platforms that can service B2C needs and countless more individuals using ecommerce to sell small ticket items to individual users. Attn B2Bs, this is not the space nor the tech designed for you! Whether you are selling externally or managing your operations internally, you need tech that is designed exclusively for B2B ecommerce.
These B2C platforms lack B2B capabilities. It’s a Fact. To try to make up for it, B2C ecommerce platforms will build out features originally intended for B2C. Then they will constantly maintain & update that code. While it’s possible to use a B2C platform for B2B needs, you will surely (and repeatedly) pay long term with higher development costs, work-arounds for larger needs, and system glitches. This holds true for both external and internal ecommerce transactions. External transactions are wholesaler to retailer. Equally important are internal transactions from corporate to franchise and field. These transactions increase as you grow. Growth is exciting. And with every location you add, you grow your brand. You also grow your internal operations complexity. You are managing your store profiles & internal inventory: marketing swag, your HR documents, your digital assets, merchandising fixtures and more. You need technology that empowers you and your field operators with the correct visibility and budget parameters.
‘47Concepts is the only internal ecommerce platform designed exclusively for B2B. 47C tech currently serves top brands spanning 80,000 locations. Best of all, our elite technology is now available to small & mid-market companies. Best Keep Secret is Out! Top Technology at an Affordable Price. This was our ONE company plug we promise. We had to show you that we know what we are talking about.
82% of ecommerce users agree: B2B customers are their most lucrative and most complex. Trying to squeeze your B2B commerce needs into B2C tech, is mayhem. Your customers are too important to leave in the hands of software that considers your B2B ecommerce as an afterthought
Why would you use tech created for B2C when you deserve technology customized for B2B’s complexities, bulk orders, multiple locations/warehouses, shipping needs, and more?
Avoid those B2C setbacks & safeguard your company’s B2B e-commerce success. Leverage a platform that was designed with B2B in mind.
Below are five must-haves to look for when selecting a B2B e-commerce platform.
1) Catalog Configurations: Paper & PDFs are rigid, costly, & hard to undo. A true B2B solution allows you instead to create an interactive digital catalog with permissions applied so that when a user logs in, they only see what they’re allowed to see. You should be able to control which products different buyers can see and purchase with account-specific catalog views, streamlining the purchasing process. Additionally, B2B solutions should be able to provide flexible multi-site and multi-catalog support for even the most complex commerce models. If you have multiple sites, one master catalog across all of them can help with brand consistency, as you’d be able to manage everything in one spot instead of having to duplicate it across all sites.
2) Empowers Field & Franchise: Provide an internal ecommerce experience that your field & franchise operators actually want to use. Your reps may be fearful of a technology that they perceive to be too difficult or is perceived to replace their job function. An ecommerce platform designed for B2B teams can empower them to focus on executing on their strategic focus instead of wrangling outdated spreadsheets tied to multiple locations. A truly powerful solution should be able to accurate track all store types and profiles by client with a multiple location, one-cart checkout.
3) Intelligent Ship Logic: B2B buyers often have tight deadlines for multiple bulk shipments. You and your customers should be able to select your shipping type and speed based on you order needs. Empower your clients & their field operators to manage their account and order management, shipment tracking and reordering. Robust B2B solutions will also allow for one-click reordering, based on order history.
4) Flexible Pricing Structures: B2B pricing is complicated; pricing may differ based on region, account type, & scale. Additionally, you may have physical goods or subscription-based products that will be priced differently. To handle these different configurations, you will need a modern B2B e-commerce platform that gives you the flexibility to control pricing rules to reflect pricing structures based on segments, tiers of customers or subscriptions. A good B2B platform will let you reflect common promotion strategies based on bulk purchases, grouped products or cart validation rules.
5) Integrations: You probably already have a CRM, ERP, marketing automation, shipping, payment and invoice software and other software in place to help run your business. Find a solution that integrates and connects these systems seamlessly to not only streamline your business operations but also to allow all of these different functionalities to be performed on one platform easily, all resulting in an enhanced experience for your customers. You can also ask vendors for customer references with integrations you are looking for to assess how experienced the vendor is at implementing these integrations.
According to Digital Commerce 360, in 2021, online sales on B2B ecommerce sites, log-in portals and marketplaces increased 17.8% to $1.63 trillion. Statista data suggests that the North American B2B ecommerce market will surpass $4,600 billion by 2025. B2B ecommerce is here to stay (and grow). Choose wisely & use tech that will ensure your brand growth.