B2B (business-to-business) systems have already become a permanent feature of the trade and production environment. They are implemented both by developing companies and by large market players. Despite this, I often hear concerns from companies that the B2B eCommerce platform will not be used by their business partners. However, our experience shows that 10-20% of transactions are transferred to the platform in the first year after implementation, and within 3-5 years this is already up to 90% of all purchases. This process can of course be accelerated and here are some tips on how to do this.
First of all, inform customers about the changes
The company’s recipients must know that changes in the way of ordering are in preparation before the B2B eCommerce platform is launched. You can place this information on the company’s website, inform the recipients by e-mail or in person when they place their orders. It is also necessary to pre-qualify which customers are allowed to buy on the platform and under which conditions.
Facilitate the understanding of the purchasing process in B2B eCommerce
When providing customers with a new tool, it is worth making sure that recipients will be able to use it. The best and most effective way to do this is to assign a customer support person who will help to register and show how to use the B2B platform. Another solution could be to provide short instructional videos, showing the steps in the ordering process of the platform. The customers would watch what they are interested in, and the traders could use the saved time e.g. for gaining new customers. Thanks to these proposals, the customers will quickly receive the necessary knowledge about how to log in and order.
If customers are to start using the B2B platform actively, they must be aware of the benefits of the new solution for them. Of course, over time they will see for themselves how convenient and quick it is to place orders, having access to all necessary information 24 hours a day. However, for a better effect, additional benefits can be applied at the beginning, e.g. discounts for regular orders through the platform or discounts for subsequent purchases. All new or non-user customers who continue with the traditional methods of placing orders need to be informed on an ongoing and systematic basis about internet sales, for which they can receive additional benefits.
Verify customer activity
It is very important for the success of the B2B platform to conduct continuous monitoring of the purchasing process. It is necessary to collect feedback from customers, whether they have received the data they need to log in or order through our system. If not, find out what stands in their way. Make sure that the purchasing process is clear and intuitive for our customers. Google Analytics statistics, for example, will help us to do this. Feedback will allow us to improve the system to suit both our customers and our company better. Constant control of the platform’s effectiveness and monitoring of customers’ opinions allows us to improve the store, and thus, stay ahead of the competition.
The example of B2B eCommerce comes from the top
All the above actions will be of no use if there is no motivation and no clear plan prepared by the company management. The investment in the B2B system is not only the preparation of technical or logistical facilities. It is also about training your employees and making them change-oriented. People responsible for implementing the platform as well as other people in the company should actively promote the possibility of using the B2B system by their customers.
In conclusion, it’s worth to look at the current forecasts of the consulting company Frost & Sullivan, which indicate that the total global e-commerce value for B2B in 2020 will be 6.7 trillion USD, and for the United States alone it will be 1.1 trillion USD. By that time, Poland is expected to equalize with the Western market in terms of the percentage share of B2B systems in domestic e-commerce, and its value will increase to over 344 billion PLN.
Having these figures in front of your eyes, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to stay ahead of the competition and automate sales by introducing a B2B platform?
If you have any questions about how we implement B2B on Magento, please contact us.