Running a B2B e-commerce business today can be difficult, with many factors to consider and growing competition. But if you take the right course of action and utilize the right strategies, you can reach customers and grow your businesses like never before.
In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share 10 of the best B2B ecommerce best practices every ecommerce business needs to follow to maximize its chances of success.
From building an effective search function and delivering a frictionless checkout experience to providing quality customer service, these best practices will help you get the most out of your B2B ecommerce site and take your business to the next level.
What Is B2B Ecommerce?
B2B ecommerce is a type of digital commerce involving the buying and selling of goods and services between two businesses online. B2B ecommerce can consist of purchasing physical goods, raw materials, and digital services and typically involves using payment methods such as credit cards and wire transfers.
What Are the Main Differences Between B2B Ecommerce and B2C Ecommerce?
There are several differences between B2B and B2C ecommerce. Let's take a brief look at each of them.
Target customer: B2B ecommerce businesses target other businesses as customers, whereas B2C targets individual consumers.
Order size and frequency: Due to the scale and the nature of many B2B products, B2B cart sizes are often substantially bigger than B2C cart sizes. B2B orders are frequently placed in bulk, whereas most customers only buy for themselves or their families. Order frequency is also higher in B2B as buyers tend to make repeat purchases.
Payment terms: B2B ecommerce frequently involves more complex payment terms than B2C ecommerce, as larger transactions necessitate greater flexibility on the part of merchants. Consumers typically pay for items immediately in B2C transactions, whereas B2B customers frequently receive an order first and make payments over 30, 60, or 90 days.
Payment methods: B2B buyers prefer to pay by ACH payments, wire transfers, and credit cards. In B2C, consumers prefer credit and debit cards as well as digital wallets.
Product offerings: B2B ecommerce often involves the sale of more complicated and specialized products than B2C ecommerce.
Pricing: B2B ecommerce pricing is frequently negotiable and dependent on numerous criteria such as order volume and credit terms. Pricing in B2C is often fixed and non-negotiable.
Decision-making process: B2B buyers have a much more involved decision-making process than individual consumers. In B2B, order customization is common and there are many parties and approvals needed before a purchase is completed. As a result, B2B sales processes are often longer and more complicated than in B2C, where purchases are made solely by the customer and frequently on impulse.
10 B2B Ecommerce Best Practices
1. Implement Security Measures
Protecting customers’ against data breaches and fraud should be a top priority for every B2B e-commerce business. Using a compliant payment service provider that offers advanced security features is the simplest and most effective way to accomplish this.
The best payment service providers will offer encryption to protect sensitive customer card data in transit. They will also support advanced fraud protection protocols like 3D Secure 2.0 (3DS2) which adds an extra layer of authentication and protects your business from fraud.. A provider that’s PCI DSS compliant, preferably level 1 (the highest level) is also advised as it’s a requirement of card brands to prevent the misuse of your customers’ personal information. If you partner with Pay.com, you'll get a payment service provider that offers all this and more!
Beyond these measures, using a secure website hosting platform further helps to reduce the likelihood that your customers’ data gets compromised. Having a comprehensive data breach response plan in place to quickly identify and manage a breach is also advisable, especially if you have a larger ecommerce business with lots of customers.
2. Build an Effective Search Function
An effective search function on your B2B ecommerce site is crucial for creating an efficient purchasing experience for customers. The search feature should be intuitive and easy to use and allow customers to quickly and easily find the products they need.
It's best to prominently display a search bar on your site that enables customers to narrow down their search results by selecting specific categories or sorting products by price, availability, and features. Adding autocomplete and optimizing the search for keywords and terms your customers actually use is critical. This is not a time to be smart or fancy!
One other essential tip to remember is to always ensure that the search feature is up-to-date and accurately reflects the products available on your site. Doing so will ensure customers have a positive experience using the search function and can find the products they need quickly and conveniently.
3. Make Your Checkout Process Fast and Frictionless
Eliminating any obstacles to purchase and reducing the amount of time and effort it takes for customers to check out is absolutely essential to converting and retaining customers. By using auto-fill and removing any unnecessary steps, such as multiple forms to fill out or pages to navigate, your business can ensure customers can quickly and easily complete their purchases.
This leads to increased conversions and encourages repeat purchases. A single-page checkout is best but if you require multiple pages, include a progress bar to incentivize buyers to complete their purchase.
It is also vital to be upfront and transparent about pricing, taxes, and fees because no one enjoys surprises at the last minute. Allowing buyers to readily observe and calculate their total order cost will increase trust and confidence in completing their transaction.
Offering free or multiple shipping alternatives, as well as multiple payment methods and flexible terms also help to reduce friction at the checkout.
4. Make Reordering Easy
B2B buyers often purchase goods from the same supplier on a regular basis. Consequently, ensuring that the reordering process is as quick and easy is critical. A simple reordering process saves customers time and effort, resulting in a more enjoyable purchasing experience and higher customer satisfaction.
Allowing customers to save their payment, order, and shipping information eliminates the need for customers to re-enter their data each time they place an order. Bulk ordering options also make it easier for B2B customers to reorder multiple items in one transaction.
5. Offer Multiple Payment Options
Offering multiple payment methods is essential for B2B ecommerce businesses. It ensures customers have the convenience of paying with their preferred method which improves the customer experience, boosts trust in your business and increases conversions.
By offering multiple payment methods, B2B ecommerce businesses can also expand into new markets, as customers from different countries may prefer various payment methods.
With Pay.com, your business can easily offer a wide variety of popular B2B payment methods to customers worldwide. The process of adding new payment methods is straightforward too. All you have to do is click on the payment methods you want to accept, and they'll be added to your checkout page.
6. Provide Quality Customer Service
Quality customer service leads to increased customer satisfaction, more sales, and an excellent reputation. It also helps to build trust and loyalty with your customers, as they feel they can rely on you. At the heart of an amazing customer service experience is timeliness.
Make sure to address customer concerns right away and provide helpful solutions. You should be willing to go the extra mile and go above and beyond to exceed their expectations.
Your customer service team should also be well-trained and knowledgeable about your products and services. They should be friendly and welcoming so that customers feel comfortable and valued.
But it’s no use having a customer service team if they’re impossible to reach. That’s why it’s essential to offer various communication channels such as email, phone, live chat, and social media to enable customers to contact quickly and easily.
7. Utilize Automation
Running a B2B ecommerce business involves managing lots of moving parts. Using automation software tools helps streamline processes, freeing up your time to focus on strategic activities like developing new products and growing your business.
Automated software tools can assist with various tasks, from order fulfillment and payment processing to customer service. They can automate marketing activities, allowing your business to quickly and easily reach out to potential customers and build relationships.
AI-based automation tools can also enable your business to identify customer trends and preferences, allowing you to personalize the customer experience to better meet customer needs.
8. Leverage Customer Insights
Data is the name of the game in ecommerce. It can be used to better understand how your customers think, act, and engage with your products and services and can be invaluable when it comes to growing your business.
By leveraging customer insights, you’ll be able to better target your marketing efforts, optimize your website for increased conversions, build better customer relationships, and gain a competitive advantage.
To achieve this, you need to start collecting customer data. This can be done through ecommerce analytics tools but you can also go old-school with surveys, customer interviews, or reviews. Once the data is collected, you can use it to better understand your customers’ behavior, preferences, and needs. This will allow you to create more effective marketing campaigns, improve the customer experience and inform your product offerings.
The Pay Dashboard is the perfect tool to stay on top of all payment-related matters. You can track and manage everything from one place and view in-depth reports and analytics to optimize your payments experience and understand which areas need to be focused on to increase sales.
9. Set & Track KPIs
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are important metrics used to measure the success of your ecommerce operations. They are essential to help your business track progress and identify areas of improvement.
When setting KPIs, it's important to focus on your business's specific goals and objectives. Common KPIs for B2B ecommerce businesses include conversion rate, average order value, customer retention rate, and cost per acquisition.
Setting the right KPIs and regularly tracking them ensures your business stays on track to reach its goals and objectives.
10. Invest in a Responsive Design
Today’s B2B buyers are shopping on multiple channels and increasingly so on mobile. Responsive design ensures a website looks great and functions properly regardless of the device a customer uses to access it. It helps customers find the information they need quickly and easily, which is essential for increasing customer satisfaction and conversion rates.
It also enables your website content to be optimized for search engines. Google rewards websites optimized for mobile devices, so investing in responsive design can help your business rank higher in search engine results.
Once you’ve enabled a responsive design, remember to regularly test your website experience on multiple devices to ensure everything is working correctly.
B2B Ecommerce Marketing Tips
When it comes to marketing your B2B ecommerce business, having a clear and comprehensive strategy that’s focused on your customers’ needs is key to ensuring success. From investing in SEO and creating content to developing a loyalty program, here are some marketing tips to help you get the most out of your efforts.
- Utilize content marketing: Content marketing can help you establish yourself as an industry leader and build trust with potential customers.
- Focus on SEO: Improve your website’s ranking in search engine results to increase your site’s visibility.
- Adopt a multi-channel marketing strategy: Use multiple channels to reach your target customers such as email, social media, and paid advertising.
- Leverage user-generated content: Reach out to customers who have had a positive experience with your business and ask them to leave reviews and create content.
- Develop a loyalty program: Loyalty programs are a great way to reward existing customers and encourage brand loyalty. Offer loyalty points and other incentives to encourage customers to come back and shop with you.
- Use retargeting ads: Retargeting ads are a great way to bring potential customers back to your website. Retargeting ads help you reach potential customers who have already visited your website but have yet to convert.
- Utilize data and analytics: Use data and analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and to improve your marketing strategies.
What's the Best Way for a B2B Ecommerce Business to Accept Payments?
Pay.com offers a secure, compliant, and reliable way to accept payments from customers worldwide. With Pay.com, your business can accept credit and debit cards and a wide selection of other payment methods.
The Pay Dashboard simplifies payment management, enabling you to manage everything to do with payments in one place. This includes tracking of the status of all your payments, updating customer information, issuing full or partial refunds, and viewing reports and analytics.
You can easily add new payment methods via the Pay Dashboard too. All you need to do is select the payment methods you want to add and they’ll appear on your checkout page.
Pay.com also enables you to create a seamless checkout experience by customizing your checkout page with your brand colors and logo. You can make customization through the Pay Dashboard or embed hosted payment fields into your website or application with code, so it’s suitable for businesses of every experience level.
When it comes to security and compliance, Pay.com really excels. Pay.com has Level 1 PCI DSS compliance certification (the highest level). This means you don’t need to worry about the hassle of ensuring PCI DSS compliance on your own!
Pay.com also uses a secure tokenization system to protect customer card data while in transit. All credit card numbers are tokenized and no card information is ever kept on Pay.com servers. Beyond these security features, Pay.com supports 3D Secure 2.0 (3DS2), which provides an extra layer of authentication so you can better protect your business from fraudulent transactions.
Pay.com offers simple and accessible setup options. If you have minimal coding experience, you can get set up with Pay.com’s no-code integrations, while experienced developers can embed code on their websites.
The Bottom Line
The B2B ecommerce market is increasingly competitive, requiring you to be at the top of your game. From utilizing automation to leveraging customer insights and providing quality customer service, following these best practices will help your business remain competitive and equipped to handle the ever-growing demands of B2B buyers.
Pay.com has you covered when it comes to one of the most critical aspects of your ecommerce business: payments. Pay.com offers a secure, compliant, and reliable way to accept global payments, with options to customize your checkout page to ensure you can deliver a seamless customer experience that converts.