As we move into 2021 with the pandemic still on our heels, it is unlikely that there will be a shift away from remote digital sales. Rather, the B2B market is likely to continue remote digital sales for the foreseeable future, which means that there has been a boom in available multi-vendor B2B marketplaces. But, if you’re new to this industry, how do you stand out and get ahead of those you are competing with within B2B eCommerce? Here are 8 of the best practices your B2B platform needs to implement going into 2021.
As businesses choose to purchase their goods and services online, they will be looking to migrate to one or two eCommerce platform options for all of their needs. For B2B marketplaces looking to engage these businesses, you must have a comprehensive onboarding process that gets new users through the onboarding process in a seamless, fuss-free way. You must also provide these businesses with an intuitive explanation of all workflow processes and platform operations.
The best way to do this is to create separate onboarding processes for your buyers and your sellers. Buyers will need a sign-up process that allows them to become a marketplace members. Once they are a member, the onboarding process can walk them through how the platform works, what its benefits and features are.
For sellers, you will need a “become a seller” landing page that explains how the sign-up process works, what benefits your platform offers, and what features and tools sellers get access to. You should also explain the terms and conditions that they must agree to if they sign up. Adding a convincing call to action button is a great way to encourage newcomers to get started immediately.
When creating your onboarding process, make sure to have: an account creation process, marketplace feature explainer, personal/company information fill-ins, identity verification process, and have a system that provides hints and tips during the onboarding process.
Your B2B marketplace must have detailed and informative product descriptions as this will help buyers make informed choices and it will improve your on-page search engine optimization. Make sure to include the following in on your product description pages:
Automating your inventory management not only keeps track of what you have left but can account for projected sales, meaning you can always maintain stock and availability. When needed, use a manual update option to keep orders coming in when stock is out, fulfilling orders when stock is replenished.
One of the most frustrating things is searching for a product and not finding it amongst the search menus and sub-categories. As a B2B marketplace, make sure that you have comprehensive drop-down menus that clearly show a division between product categories, sub-categories, and quick view/search functionalities.
One of the best ways to increase intuitive navigation and function is by providing your users with guided navigation. This includes giving your users the ability to use product filters and keyword searches. You may also want to include an “any page” search box that allows a user to search for a product regardless of what page they are currently on. This search needs to show matching results, have autosuggest/autocomplete, and should be able to handle multiple measurement identifiers (Ft, Foot, Feet).
If your marketplace deals in a lot of products with part numbers include a part finder on the site. This would allow your users to look up serial numbers, part numbers, and SKU for products they want to purchase.
A great way to help buyers make quick purchases is by allowing them to place orders without manually searching for a product and placing it in the cart. Instead, provide them with the ability to upload XML/CSV order forms to their account so that they can upload and check out quickly. If you include this feature, give vendors on your platform the ability to offer non-disclosure agreements and purchasing contracts.
The easiest way to improve customer convenience and satisfaction is by giving a wide variety of payment options for a seamless checkout. Offer up a credit card, e-wallet, direct bank transfers, and electronic payment options like PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Customers can choose how they want to check out and with what method.
For B2B businesses making large purchases on your platform, provide them with options for payment installments and payment postponement through credit-as-a-service platforms (third-party). This gives businesses with large purchase orders more flexibility on payment.
Consider offering flexible pricing as well, so that sellers can have multi-tiered pricing for each type of buyer. For instance, sellers may want to list a certain price for retailers and a certain price for wholesalers, as well as, discounts on purchase quantities. By giving price negotiation options, your marketplace becomes easier to work with.
Finally, consider adding an “add to quote” button on product pages. This gives non-registered users an idea of how much a product or service is going to cost when procured with your marketplace.
Similar to payment options, you want to offer flexible shipping options which means partnering with numerous shipping carriers. Consider offering shipping options through logistic companies, so that bulk shipments can be arranged without having to go through multiple shipping carriers.
In addition to this, provide split shipment features so that users can always split an order as needed. And make sure to provide delivery address verification, so that there are no mistakes during the shipping and delivery process. As with any eCommerce industry, real-time tracking is a must as this allows buyers to know exactly when their delivery will arrive.
With the ongoing pandemic, mobile orders for delivery have increased by 250%. As we move into 2021, it is unlikely that this percentage is going to drop. This means that your B2B marketplace needs to prioritize mobile optimization and responsive website design. An exceptional user experience hinges on being able to place orders, pay for orders, and view products from any device.
By implementing these practices into your B2B marketplace, you can ensure that you’re providing the best possible customer experience while boosting your business in the process. Remember to keep customers’ options open while streamlining your processes so that you can make more sales, and customers can receive needed goods as smoothly and quickly as possible.
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