Buyers are now in charge, and they won’t tolerate anything less than effortless buying experiences. Fail to give them a cakewalk of an eCommerce journey, and they bail. But of course, you already know that.
Common knowledge, however, is far from common practice. Many online retailers are plagued with common mistakes that quickly add up to repel online shoppers faster than you can say, “buy my stuff.”
Below are five (5) B2B eCommerce sins that erode profits and weaken brands.
1. Not optimizing for mobile.
You’ve worked hard to build or implement a B2B eCommerce solution. You may even be ahead of your industry and competition. However, keep in mind the goal isn’t just to have your site look okay on mobile, but also to optimize its functionality for a mobile experience.
In recent years, mobile commerce has eclipsed traditional eCommerce, and it’s proven time and again that B2B customers expect the same experience they receive on the retail side… Mobile is no exception.
2. Ignoring rule set-up.
We all know that B2B Commerce transactions are more complex than B2C. If your eCommerce offering can’t seamlessly flow buyers through the right process,then you’ll be adding to customer frustration and taking a huge hit in adoption of that shiny new (or dusty old) eCommerce offering.
Be sure to employ buyer roles, special pricing, contracts, and entitlements. Proper use of rules and personalization provide a more consistent and reliable experience than you’d normally be able to offer via traditional channels, such as call centers and faxed orders.
3. Forgetting your channels.
When it comes to B2B eCommerce, are you supporting or threatening your existing channels? It’s easy to alienate your field sales team and channel partners by pulling customers away from them; but, if done right, your eCommerce offering can provide support in the way of great content, product information, and configuration.
The result is that you actually increase sales through your channels and chalk up a win for eCommerce. Just be sure to put your channels hat on and build business strategies that will create a synergistic relationship between your eCommerce practice and your existing allies.
4. Going it alone.
Many B2B webstores have grown out of existing customer portals or extranets; however, what was once a place to check orders and find some basic product information has morphed into a rich product content and dynamic transactional environment.
The question becomes: Do you try to keep pace by throwing money and resources into in-house development or do you invest in a new eCommerce platform? This decision should be no different than deciding to build out a brick and mortar store. You aren’t in construction (unless you are) and wouldn’t attempt to build four walls and a roof, so why not leverage an eCommerce platform solution like IBM WebSphere Commerce?
And just as important as choosing the right B2B eCommerce platform is aligning with the right partner to implement and drive the solution to reach business objectives. That’s where our team here at BlueSky Technology Partners comes in.
5. Forgetting to think like a retailer.
Your customers have specific requirements, your products are complex, and you have expert sellers ready to respond to detailed RFPs. Of course you’re dealing with a different world than your B2C eCommerce counterparts, but like most lines we draw in life, there’s just as much in common as there is different.
Be sure you’re not forgetting online sales 101 with compelling and rich product content, including all the specifications, images, and SEO-friendly descriptions that will pull customers to you and away from your competitors. Furthermore, cross-selling and upselling are just as important when matching the right electrical components to a project as they are when matching that fabulous watch with the shoes you have in your shopping cart. Don’t let a utilitarian approach to B2B eCommerce make you forget that, when it comes to the online customer experience, you’re still in sales.
Moral of the story: Your primary concern shouldn’t be what works best for your business, but what works best for customers. Your success, after all, hinges on theirs.
Still not sure if moving to an eCommerce platform makes sense for your B2B business? Reach out to BlueSky to speak with one of our eCommerce strategists about your B2B needs.