B2B e-commerce companies are greatly progressing. As per research from Forrester, B2B eCommerce app revenue is expected to reach $ 1.8 trillion in the United States within the next four years. Another study by BigCommerce revealed that 41% of retailers expect their online sales to increase by more than 25% by the end of this year.
Therefore, the time is ripe for building B2B e-commerce apps to take advantage of this boom. However, it is also necessary to take the time to ensure implementation of the right functions to receive and fulfill orders and delivering a great eCommerce app experience to business-based customers.
In this article, I’ll share basic principles that businesses consider during B2B eCommerce app development. These principles will help developers built the best eCommerce apps as per requirements, and ensure the long-term sustainability of great user experience.
1. Integration With an ERP Solution
As a B2B company, businesses can dramatically increase productivity by integrating the ERP solution with their eCommerce app.
The primary benefit is that inventory levels will be automatically updated in two places simultaneously. Stock availability numbers can appear on the front end of the site where goods are added to the inventory, giving customers better shopping experience. In addition, with access to ERP data at the back end, businesses can enable employees to easily meet orders and predict product demand.
Another key advantage of integrating the ERP solution with eCommerce apps is that businesses will not need to hire additional workers in case of a high demand for the product.
Common ERP integration patterns:
Immigration: Data migration ERP refers to the movement of a particular set of data between two systems at a given time point. Migration can be either needed through an API or a command by setting configuration parameters which are then passed to API calls.
Broadcast: The ERP integration pattern for broadcasting involves the transfer of data from a single source system to multiple destination systems in real-time. Broadcast systems help transfer data quickly between systems and keep multiple systems timely updated.
Aggregation: This ERP mode receives data from multiple systems and stores it in only one system. It eliminates the need to run multiple migrations on a regular basis, eliminating the risks associated with data synchronization and accuracy.
Bidirectional synchronization: Two-way synchronization ERP integration is useful in situations that require different systems to perform different functions in the same dataset.
Correlation: The link is similar to bi-directional ERP integration. The difference is that the former synchronizes objects only if they exist in both systems.
2. Implementing Automated Personalization and Segmentation
B2B companies need a way to be able to capture the full value of the products and services they sell. To achieve this, they need to take many factors into account while developing an eCommerce app.
How will customers interact with content and product listings if they are already aware of a company’s operations and have been buying from them for years without an Internet connection? What type of UX and CX do competitors offer? How will online ordering change internal processes? How to make offline customers comfortable with trading online?
An automated personalization and segmentation engine application is the answer to all such questions. Buyers are used to receiving personalized services from human contacts on the offline & B2C eCommerce side, so why should the B2B e-commerce app experience be "one size fits all"?
A solution for automated personalization and segmentation in a B2B eCommerce app should take care of the following:
Tailored pricing: Allows businesses to deliver wholesale prices at a variable level to registered B2B customers via a customized landing page on the eCommerce app. This minimizes friction in purchases and increases conversions.
Personalizing the order process: Customizing the checkout page to match customer preferences can greatly help reduce abandoned cart rates. This can be done by offering multiple shipping options and non-standard payment options on the B2B eCommerce app.
Offering subscription-based options: Subscription-based plans help deliver better value to the business customer, convert them easily and subsequently simplify decision-making for buying products.
3. Preparing the eCommerce App For Bulk Orders
Unlike B2C eCommerce, customers often place bulk orders for the products listed on a B2B eCommerce app/website. Fortunately, eCommerce development platforms such as BigCommerce and Magento provide tools that help manage the same.
Other than that, developers must ensure that the cart accurately reflects the quantity of pricing of everything ordered by customers. Such issues must be thoroughly checked in QA & Testing phases of eCommerce app development.
4. Adding a Quote Builder
One of the key differentiators between B2C and B2B eCommerce apps is that the pricing need not be fixed in the latter. Thus, it is paramount to have a quote builder integrated on a B2B eCommerce app.
Doing so has a couple of advantages:
1. It helps in conversion and keeping customers glued to the site. When they know they could negotiate on a seemingly lucrative product on offer from a specific eCommerce app, they’d be comfortable sticking to it for further requirements.
2. It allows the business to know what products are in demand. A quote builder does not only collect and send quotes offered by customers for a listed product. It also tells you what kind of customers are looking for the said product, and subsequently help target them for future transactional opportunities.
So if as a developer, you’re working on building a B2B eCommerce app for a client, these tips would definitely help. I’ve often seen that developers, as well as businesses, see B2B eCommerce apps the same way they see B2C apps.
And sometimes when they do not, they totally seem to forget that businesses aren’t machines. They too are powered by humans, like everything else in technology and require personalization options in the modern age.