This article is published in partnership with ONe who prepared this article for our readers.
Are you considering online sales for your business? Have you noticed that handling your customers' orders in a traditional way is no longer effective? Online commerce is developing at an alarming pace not only in the B2C segment, but in the B2B as well. The report of Aleo and Deloitte "Digitization of the B2B market" says that the value of the Polish B2B e-commerce market in 2020 reached over PLN 344 billion, and now it is already about PLN 647 billion. It should be remembered that business customers spend much more on online shopping than individual customers, however, a significant increase can be seen here. In addition, the research of the Polish Chamber of Electronic Economy and the analysis of Forrester Research emphasize that the popularity of the online sales channel among business customers is increasing and is becoming a basic element of running a company.
From this article, you will not only learn what online sales really is and what the benefits of implementing a B2B platform bring, but we will also tell you how to increase sales and meet the growing expectations of your business customers.
Why is an ordinary store not enough to serve a business customer?
Often, business owners who are just starting to think about digitization and are looking for a technological solution are overwhelmed by the amount of offers available on the Internet. By entering the term "B2B platform" in the search engine, thousands of companies offering e-commerce platforms appear. Unfortunately, most of them, despite the fact that this query appears, do not offer a tool adapted to business customer service, but only ordinary b2c e-commerce with some functionalities reminiscent of the B2B platform.
Without a proper analysis of the offers and examining the needs of your company, it is difficult to choose the perfect tool, which is why owners often decide on the cheapest solution, which later turns out to be useless. We must remember that a regular store is designed to serve individual customers, and B2B platforms are adapted to meet the specialized needs of business customers, such as the ability to order large quantities of products, support for individual prices or advanced order management options. An ordinary store is not able to provide such functionalities and will not serve business customers well enough, which may cause their frustration and negative assessment of our company.
In addition, b2c e-commerce may not provide the business client with such facilities as the possibility of concluding long-term contracts or negotiating prices. In the case of business customers, such agreements and negotiations are often crucial to their business and can have a large impact on their purchasing decisions. In addition, B2B platforms often offer the possibility of advanced integration with the client's IT systems, which enables efficient order processing and issuing invoices and other documents.
If you want your business customer to be served at the highest level and not get frustrated while shopping in your store, opt for a complete solution tailored to the needs of B2B trade. Thanks to this, you will not only meet the expectations of your customers, but also have a real impact on the automation of repetitive activities and increase the productivity of your employees. What functionalities should you pay attention to when choosing B2B e-commerce?
B2B platform functionalities that increase sales
B2B platforms must have special functionalities to enable efficient service for business customers and provide them with convenient and quick shopping.
- A login panel that allows only registered customers to access the platform. Thanks to this, it is possible to secure access to special prices and offers intended only for business customers.
- Credit limits - this allows customers to make purchases and defer payments over time, which allows companies to plan and manage their finances.
- Integration with the commercial and warehouse system - allows customers to obtain current information on stock levels and plan purchases. Individual price lists allow you to assign special prices and promotions to specific customers. Order history allows customers to track their purchases and makes it easier to repeat the same purchases in the future.
- Multi-cart functionality - the ability to create multiple carts, which allows you to complete many orders at the same time and finalize them separately from each other.
- Invoices and documents - your customers, using the B2B platform, have access to all invoices and documents, thanks to which they do not call salespeople and do not ask for them to be sent.
- Roles and permissions for companies – thanks to the ability to assign roles and permissions, not every employee has access to all information about customers or transactions.
- Shopping lists - your customer can easily create several shopping lists, which is useful in the case of repetitive orders for a large number of products and shopping for several branches.
- Forms of payment and delivery - the possibility of connecting various forms of payment and delivery allows you to adjust the offer to the individual needs of business customers and increases their satisfaction with the service.
- Inquiries for proposals mean getting rid of time-consuming negotiations and long telephone conversations. The B2B e-commerce platform allows the customer to send a request for an offer to the merchant, and the merchant, after analyzing the price thresholds, can easily reject or accept it.
These are just some of the important functionalities that an effective B2B platform should have. Thanks to this list, you can do an initial analysis of the offers available on the market and check which one is suited to serving business customers.
Benefits of implementing the B2B platform for companies
Are you wondering why you need a B2B platform? What if we told you that its implementation will make running your business even faster, easier and more effective, and your customers will be able to do shopping without involving your employees? Here are some benefits you will notice after implementation:
- Time saving - B2B platforms can streamline and automate many tasks, freeing employees' time to focus on more important tasks such as acquiring new business customers. Traders will no longer answer calls from customers who ask about price, availability or delivery time, because they will answer these questions themselves using e-commerce.
- Increase in the average margin per transaction - thanks to the support for personalized pricing policy, cross and up-selling, the sale of products from the longer tail, the sale of low-rotating products, you will notice an increase in the margin and rapid development of the company.
- Business development - B2B platforms can enable enterprises to extend their reach beyond the local market, allowing them to sell their products and services around the world. Thanks to multilingualism and multi-currency, companies can easily reach new customers in different countries and develop their business, which would not be possible without presenting their offer on the Internet.
- Increasing competitive advantage - although more and more companies decide to implement a B2B platform, it can still give your company a competitive advantage. By offering a user-friendly platform that streamlines the purchasing process for customers, you can attract and serve many more customers with the same number of employees.
- Increase in sales - B2B platforms can provide greater visibility for products and services, potentially leading to increased sales. A customer who has the opportunity to shop at a convenient time starts buying more and choosing complementary products, which actually translates into an increase in sales.
- In-depth data analysis – sales data collected in one place allows you to easily report sales results and gain current insight into the progress of achieving commercial goals. Such a wide range of data helps to make the right decisions in the area of sales and advertising.
- Facilitating work for the customer – B2B platforms can help businesses provide a better customer experience by offering a range of features such as real-time order tracking and communication automation. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, which ultimately results in increased revenue.
The real results of companies achieved within 12 months from the implementation of the B2B platform:
- 85% of sales generated online,
- 50% share of online sales,
- 20% more efficiency of traders,
- 50% increase in the average online cart value compared to offline y/y.
Benefits of implementing the B2B platform for your clients
You already know what benefits you gain by implementing the B2B platform, then what advantages await your customers?
- 24/7 shopping – you don't know the day or time when your customers will decide to buy, and thanks to the B2B platform they can place orders without waiting for the store to open. The company will no longer be limited by the working time of traders, and the wide range and the possibility of placing orders around the clock will actually increase its revenues.
- Access to the entire product offer - constant access to the entire product offer is a great opportunity, because customers can buy products that the merchant may not even know about, thus reducing our stock of non-rotating goods and freeing up cash.
- Increasing comfort - customers expect companies to introduce solutions that will facilitate and speed up the purchasing process. A B2B platform can provide this convenience by allowing customers to shop at their own pace, with features such as remembering a shopping cart or personalized offers. Increasing the comfort of shopping is not only a larger cart, but also satisfaction and our store recommendation to other entrepreneurs.
- Order online and collect in person at the nearest point,
- Quickly re-order products thanks to the shopping lists and order history,
- Have access to all documents,
- Thanks to multi-carts, they will complete several orders at the same time,
- They will save time, because they do not have to stand in the warehouse and wait for the warehousemen to pack the goods,
- Thanks to the advanced pricing policy support, they are sure that they have the best price set especially for them,
- They can take advantage of personalized discounts and promotions.
Using a B2B platform can help a company increase sales by allowing business customers to place orders online, negotiate individual prices, and use advanced order management options. It is worth carrying out an appropriate analysis of the available offers and choosing the platform that will be best suited to the needs of your company. One of the tools available on the market is the ONe platform, which was created by trade practitioners for companies from the B2B segment, i.e. wholesalers, manufacturers and distributors. By paying a monthly subscription, you can have access to the most advanced platform supporting B2B trade on the market, and receive constant substantive support from the entire team. Check out the ONe solution now - https://b2b.one/.