Commerce Vision Blog


LATEST ARTICLE CASE STUDY

An estimated one million B2B sales jobs have disappeared as commercial buyers go digital with their purchase process

 

The B2B buyer’s landscape is...

Commerce Vision Blog


LATEST ARTICLE CASE STUDY

If your business runs an eCommerce website (or any website for that matter), you’re undoubtedly aware of the importance of SEO. You may even employ a...

Commerce Vision Blog


LATEST ARTICLE CASE STUDY

We are proud to announce the coming together of the Commerce Vision and Opmetrix teams, on a shared journey to bring world class, B2B omnichannel...

Commerce Vision Blog


LATEST ARTICLE CASE STUDY

The past few years have seen huge changes in the B2B eCommerce landscape. Not only has the sector faced ongoing challenges from supply chain...

Commerce Vision Blog


LATEST ARTICLE CASE STUDY

There's an old saying in business that “a happy customer tells a friend, but an unhappy customer tells the world”.

An exceptional customer...

Commerce Vision Blog


LATEST ARTICLE CASE STUDY

When it comes to eCommerce, the ultimate goal is to make it simple. Whether it's a pair of shoes or thousands of dollars in construction materials,...

Commerce Vision Blog


LATEST ARTICLE CASE STUDY

Choosing a B2B eCommerce platform for your business can seem like a daunting task. Your evaluation needs to consider factors such as features,...

Commerce Vision Blog


LATEST ARTICLE CASE STUDY

The importance of elements such as deep integration to internal systems, ease of use, and self-service capability was discussed in Part 1 of our...

Commerce Vision Blog


LATEST ARTICLE CASE STUDY

B2B eCommerce has changed for good, and the expectations buyers have of your online platform are now higher than ever. This is due in part to COVID,...

Commerce Vision Blog


LATEST ARTICLE CASE STUDY

A relative newcomer to the world of B2B payments, Buy Now Pay Later can be a win/win for both you and your customers.

When Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)...

FILTER BY TOPIC:

The importance of elements such as deep integration to internal systems, ease of use, and self-service capability was discussed in Part 1 of our guide to B2B eCommerce platform must-have features. In Part 2 we’ll dive deeper into some essential eCommerce capabilities, specifically around B2B personalisation and complex order management.

Ensuring your eCommerce platform caters for the unique requirements of B2B will enable you to provide personalised, high quality yet cost-efficient service to your customers - no matter how complex their needs. If you’re looking to drive real growth in your B2B online channel and truly set yourself apart from competitors, be sure to include these features on your evaluation checklist.

 

Out of the Box Personalisation

With more and more businesses investing in B2B eCommerce, the quality of the customer experience (CX) you provide to would-be buyers is a vital factor in ensuring that your investment results in sales growth.

 

The ability to deliver an experience that’s personalised to the needs of individual customers and buyers is a fundamental platform capability requirement if you’re aiming for a superior customer experience.

 

In simple terms, personalisation provides clients with a tailored experience based on factors such as who they are, where they come from, the device they’re using, and what you think – or know - they need. For example, if you sell food supplies or medical equipment to organisations in both the Childcare and Aged Care sectors, the information each buyer would expect to be greeted with on arriving at your site is obviously very different. Likewise, a buyer from Western Australia vs one in New Zealand. You need the ability to present different offers, localised content and – almost certainly – prices in different currencies.

Once you factor in the intricacies of B2B, capabilities like those above are just the beginning. Many customers also expect their B2B suppliers to handle far more complex tasks. In addition to the more common scenarios described above, we recommend you always seek out a platform that offers the following personalisation options:

 

  • Role-based access control: This frequently requested capability enables you to filter which content can be accessed by different types of users. For example, public users who haven’t logged in vs those with customer accounts, finance teams, purchasing officers, and administrators.
  • Custom catalogues: As the name suggests, custom catalogues are product ranges made available to specific customers only. As well as enabling you to hone and promote a range for specific (and often your most important) clients, custom catalogues also help those clients to find the exact products they need, quickly.
  • Contract based product filters: This functionality enables customers with contracts to easily see which products are and aren’t included in their contracts. This capability is especially powerful and is often mandated by procurement officers managing contracts for mid to larger sized organisations, as well as in Government departments.
  • Stock restrictions: Similar to the use case for custom catalogues, stock restrictions allow you to ensure restricted products are sold only to their intended audience. Rather than loading products into a separate catalogue, these products can be grouped into standard web categories and stock restriction functionality applied to allow purchase by particular customers only.

 

Management of Complex Orders

We’re firm believers in the whole ‘B2B is different to B2C’ concept - because it’s true. In the B2B world, online orders usually aren’t as straightforward as customers buying X amount of Y product. Whilst some orders can be simple, on the whole, B2B orders come in complex shapes and sizes. Having an eCommerce platform built specifically to manage the order requirements of a B2B market is essential.

 

Here are a few examples of the key tools and features for B2B order management:

  • Punchouts - A ‘punchout’ is the ability to access your catalogue via third-party procurement systems and transfer shopping carts to these systems. These are common in larger organisations, and in scenarios where you’re selling to a Government body. As well as being able to manage punchouts generally, you should also ensure that your platform of choice enables robust testing of punchout systems.
  • Order approval systems – These allow clients to set complex rules for approvals before an order can be processed, and they can involve a wide range of ‘ifs and buts’. For example, setting order value limits so that orders exceeding a certain dollar amount require approval by a more senior user before the order can be finalised.
  • Budgeting functionality - Enable clients to set per-user budget limits for users from their organisation to better control their spending. This particular feature is becoming more and more common as organisations manage work from home scenarios, where an individual buyer is provided with an allowance for at-home working essentials. Once their allowance is reached, the system automatically switches over to enable that same user to continue purchasing, but using a personal payment method instead.
  • Order templates and saved carts – This functionality enables repeat customers to quickly re-order lists of saved products each time they visit your B2B eCommerce platform. Templates are essential in a B2B world which often involves far larger order sizes and higher volumes than the B2C environment.
  • Standing orders – These allow clients to automatically re-order and pay for repeated orders on a set schedule, saving significant amounts of time in manual work and administration.

Summing it up

B2B eCommerce has been growing at an exceptional rate for years, but the pandemic has taken that rate of growth, and the expectations of B2B customers, to a new level.

 

Whether you’re investing for the first time, or upgrading an existing experience, B2B eCommerce brings its own unique requirements and challenges. Selecting a platform which is built for B2B, vs one requiring heavy customisation to meet your business needs, is essential.

 

Choosing a solution which doesn’t offer all the functionality you need, or is adapted from countless plug-ins and add-ons, is likely to result in a poor customer experience and internal administration issues. This leads to frustration for your staff and your customers and, ultimately, translates to lost business.

 

It's also important to remember that an eCommerce solution should be with you for years. So consider your customers’ needs and your businesses goals for today, but also remember to look ahead at the next three to five years. Time and again, buyers choose a ‘right for today’ solution, resulting in a need to upgrade just a year or two down the track.

 

Using feature checklists like this one can help guide your evaluation process, identify the important questions you should ask any would-be provider, and ensure that the choice you make today is one you’ll benefit from for many years to come.

 


To learn more about the Commerce Vision platform, we invite you to SPEAK WITH AN EXPERT.

 


Related Articles