E-commerce portals allow manufacturers and distributors to connect with their buyers through an online channel. With an array of self-service features, they are changing the B2B procurement process. The traditional B2B sales process was primarily offline. Buyers had to view a printed catalog in-person and place orders with sales reps. Now, buyers can browse online and complete purchases much like B2C transactions.
Because B2B commerce is much more complex than B2C commerce, sellers require a more robust set of features from their e-commerce solutions. In this post, we’ll review three features that are an important part of any B2B e-commerce portal.
Businesses across verticals need materials and supplies to sustain their operations. Over time, these items run out and the business needs to replenish them. Because these items are critical to the business’ operations, the ability to reorder products quickly is essential. Sellers who can minimize the effort required to do so can win long-lasting customers.
B2B sellers have extensive data on their customers which can be used to streamline the reordering process. They know account details, previous orders, browsing history, and inventory needs. This can be used to create a quick reordering dashboard within their customers’ accounts.
With the reordering dashboard, customers can see their order history and frequently purchased items. They can then open a previous order to quickly repurchase the items as needed. Sellers can also add the ability for customers to set up subscriptions so items are automatically repurchased at a scheduled time.
Easy ordering is not just exclusive to the backend of the customer account. Sellers can also add a quick ordering tool to the frontend of their e-commerce site. Buyers who know their part numbers can use the tool to quickly add items to their cart.
The B2B buying process often involves multiple parties. There can be the person that uses the item, one who chooses which product to go with, another who approves the purchase, and more. Sellers need a flexible, hierarchical account management structure to control what level of access different users have to the e-commerce portal.
Buyers should be able to assign different roles and permissions to users within their organization. Users’ permission levels will determine what content they are able to access and whether they are able to initiate purchases or payments.
Personalization is an important part of B2B e-commerce as no two buyers have the same needs. Additionally, B2B product catalogs are usually massive. This makes it difficult for buyers to search an uncurated catalog to find what they need.
B2B sellers can personalize the customer experience by creating customer-specific catalogs. When a buyer browses the e-commerce portal, they’ll only see items that match their business needs. With a promotions engine, sellers can create unique offers and pricing discounts for each customer.
Combining all these features into a single monolithic platform would create a system that is difficult to manage. Instead of building out an entire platform, you can decouple your architecture so that each service runs independently. You then use headless APIs to connect the system, allowing you to scale unlimited features.