Company analysists claim that online B2B sales are closely approaching one trillion. That’s almost four times the total size of the B2C e-commerce market. The market for B2b is quite still young. Businesses are still trying to understand the main basics of strategy and development. This article attempts to enlighten you on why b2b is essential and what to look for in a B2B platform for your business.
Importance of B2B platform
B2b e-commerce has been in existence from the past 20 years. The experiences of B2B e-commerce don’t meet the standards Set by B2C.
Most of the B2B leaders are slowly starting to realise the opportunities found in B2C e-commerce. A worldwide survey conducted in March 2015 by Accenture for B2B executives found that 55% of interviewees who were considered a leader in customer experience claimed that e-commerce was a digital investment area and is vital for sales.
Just like most B2C companies, the B2B companies should be on the same platform as their buyers. And that is on the online platform. To succeed in the online platform, you must have excellent customer service.
The type of B2B e-commerce platform that you choose will affect the kind of experience you offer. And that is why it’s essential to select the perfect B2b platform carefully.
The following are the main areas to consider when picking an e-commerce platform for your business.
Business to business selling is different from B2C. B2b companies have various requirements and complexities when selling to other companies. Your business platform has to meet these needs. Search for platforms that have the following functionalities.
A) A responsive design
A majority of online customer’s shop across various devices. They might cross-check the prices on a tablet or smartphone but purchase on the desktop. Your business platform should be in a position to accommodate the needs of such a client. Your web content should be in a position to service all various mobile devices. This makes the making of purchases easy for your customers.
Buyers want to be in a position which they can find information and solve the problems on their own. Your e-commerce solution should correctly explain that. Clients should easily find shipping information, approve quotes, track orders and efficiently manage their account anytime.
C) Payment options
B2B buyers have a different way of purchasing as compared to B2C buyers. Most businesses buy large orders. Your business needs to have payment options which are more flexible. Give your clients various options in which they can make more than one transaction.
D) Platform type
When choosing a B2B e-commerce site, you will come across various platforms. Platforms such as cloud-based or hosted are vital factors to pay attention when choosing your platform.
Hosted, on premise versus cloud-based
A hosted on-premises platform means that the software is built on site. You are the one who is in charge of finding and maintaining the software’s to be run on.
Service providers mainly host Cloud-based premises. Having a stable internet connection puts you in a position in which, you can access your web store from any website.
If you choose a hosted platform, you will solely be in charging of maintaining your site. Your primary responsibilities include paying for your servers and keeping them and fixing problems in case your site crashes.
Different platform types affect the price and how the costs add up. A hosted solution is a bit expensive since you must pay the software’s licences and developer costs. For cloud-based solutions, you only need to pay a monthly fee for hosting services, maintenance and security.
Selecting the ideal right e-commerce platform for your business need you to put in a lot of research and time. The platform you choose should help you in achieving your e-commerce strategies for both long-term and short-term.
Advantages and disadvantages of selling through third-party platforms
Selling products and services via third-party platforms may seem tempting to boost your sales. However, make sure you understand the pros and cons before you sell on third-party platforms. Third party platforms are used by many private and public sellers to boost their sales. But why do people sell through third-party platforms when they can sell their products on their websites?
Advantages of third-party platforms
You can increase your sales by selling products through third-party platforms. Customers who have never heard of your products will have the opportunity of buying your products. This can lead to repeat purchases after knowing your products. It is also very cost effective to sell on third-party platforms because the costs will be covered. You will reduce advertising costs. Your business will benefit from the available structure of established platforms with fulfillment and checkout support as well as shipping.
There are no restrictions or limits as to the number of third-party platforms you use to sell your platform because you can put your products on platforms such as Amazon, eBay, and many more without spending money and you can take note of how your products sell.
Disadvantages of third-party platforms
Third party costs and fees can vary depending on the platform you choose to sell on. The fees charged will be deducted as a percentage of your sales and some of which include shipping. Other costs include payment services, participating in extra promotions, ads, and listings. Some platforms charge a lot of fees, and they can leave you with a small amount of profit.
When you sell through third parties, you lose your identity. This is because third-party platforms do not take sellers into consideration. They only focus on the products they are selling. There are limited ways in which you can establish your product in the market because you won’t be able to deal with your customers.
If you use more than one-third parties, you may face the challenge of keeping the quantities up to date. This will become more complicated to monitor your tock. You can encounter potential clashes with various websites with one stating you have products in stock and others stating that you have sold out all products. This can lead to conflicts with customers. When you sell through third parties, it puts you out of control because you rely on third-party platforms and if they run out of business, you will be out of business temporarily.