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3 key components of a B2B ecommerce strategy

By Ivan Silva

Digital transformation is now one of the top priorities in every wholesalers’ B2B ecommerce strategy. With recent changes in our day to day, everyone’s product buying experience has evolved, and with that comes the need for services that make the digital experience more personal. 

Larger wholesalers have been migrating from on-premises software to hybrid models for some time now – that include SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS. These new environments enable change and adaptations in their markets, including omnichannel capabilities. 

So, how do B2B ecommerce businesses succeed in these new environments? A personalized buying experience and exceptional user experience (UX) are key aspects to thrive as a digital B2B enterprise. To succeed, marketing teams will need to shift how and where they focus their communication with their customers. Their methods of delivery will need to be fast, secure, and dynamic. 

Your B2B ecommerce strategy starts with intuitive product discovery

Intelligent site search and personalized product recommendations are essential to a B2B ecommerce strategy. Searchspring’s reporting offers insights into keyword popularity, revenue, and conversion rates, allowing you to make ongoing, data-backed improvements to the online purchasing experience. 

Wholesalers can prioritize inventory based on popularity or stock levels in their product results, boosting the necessary styles or SKUs. Search previews make it easy to understand how products are ranking for different keywords, filters, synonyms, and tags. 

Product recommendations also play an important role in streamlining B2B purchases. Displaying complementary products makes it easier for customers to identify parts or accessories that are compatible with the product being viewed, and can potentially increase AOV. 

Customer experience isn’t just a B2C consideration

Another area that falls in line with B2B digital transformation is user experience. You hear this term often with retailers, but with wholesalers we find that the experience is often overlooked. CX involves creating a dynamic website that responds to the needs of the retailer as the true customer. Removing pain points, smart product merchandising and prioritization, and easy order entry and checkout are ways to keep a retailer coming back to your site.

With many traditional trade shows canceled recently, buyers are forced to use digital marketplaces or portals in order to make wholesale purchases. No purchaser wants to spend hours clicking through pages to find the part or item that they need, so improving the quality of site search and navigation makes sense to speed up the process of booking orders and improving CX. 

Newer wholesale sites have added advantages over traditional models. They allow for buyers to compare products and view the assortment ahead of or instead of appointments. Showcasing better product information (including sizing, fabric material, and sourcing information) results in fewer sample requests and a better understanding of the products. This saves time and money for both parties

A retailer may have come to a digital B2B marketplace out of need, without access to traditional wholesale avenues, but will stay because of an improved experience and better assortment availability. 

Insights to shape your ecommerce strategy in 2021

ecommerce report

Audit your site for both desktop and mobile

To ensure a positive customer experience, consider auditing your site on both desktop and mobile. Both screens have their own series of touch points that should adhere to best practices, such as hamburger menus on the upper left-hand side, product images including a set for mobile, keeping image width under 600px, and ensuring all content is responsive to screen size. There are many best practices that will make the mobile experience stand out, just be aware that not all websites are alike. Your content, the products you sell, and your volume of plugins all have a bearing on how to best execute your delivery. 

As a client traverses through your website, speed, content, pricing, availability, and the way you display your products counts. An audit should address these touch points, but also include accessibility, checkout processes, and product discoverability on multiple devices. Additional features can include social proof (ratings, reviews, and FAQs), urgency language, and targeting the correct life cycle stage for each customer. 

When it comes to submitting orders, more traditional methods may have included paper and fax along with a phone call. This method is still necessary for some businesses, and keeping elements of this process in place will help your customers and your business in a hybrid model. For example, a client can submit paper or phone orders, but having an online system that allows for bulk order entry creates quicker processes for purchase orders. Virid recently onboarded a new client to Shopify Plus and created an integration for bulk order entry that accommodated customers that still preferred to submit orders for purchase via paper (Virid for Big Kahuna Fundraiser). 

Your B2B ecommerce strategy must meet buyer expectations

The key to optimizing the B2B purchasing experience is to make your site best fit the needs of your buyers. Topics such as personalization and UX are not solely for B2C retailers. They carry importance in the B2B realm as well: to fortify the client/vendor relationship and offer a superior buying experience. In an age where businesses continue to value increased efficiency and usability, B2B will need to modernize in order to continue to see success.