The B2B eCommerce industry is thriving. And this is not just a tall claim – the statistics speak for itself. Frost & Sullivan projects that B2B eCommerce will hit $12 trillion in sales worldwide by 2020, which is the kind of growth rate never seen before.

Do you know what does that mean for someone who sells to other businesses but haven’t transitioned to B2B eCommerce yet? Well, that simply means they are missing out on a trillion dollar industry. That’s a huge opportunity to miss out!

But how do you step in the industry? What do you do to leverage the potential of B2B eCommerce? Though there are tons of things you need to do, the first thing to step in the digital eCommerce space is to have a B2B eCommerce site.

How is a B2B eCommerce site different from a B2C store?

Selling to other businesses is distinct from selling to consumers. B2B buying and selling incorporates many layers of complexities that need to be handled when designing the B2B store. A B2B store should therefore cater to the complex needs of the customer and should fulfill your business requirements and needs as well.

Besides this, as a B2B company, your eCommerce platform should streamline the buying process for the customer. This is crucial in today’s competitive digital space. Though B2B buying is a complex process, your customer doesn’t have to know that and it’s your job to streamline and simplify the process for them.

Following are some features your B2B eCommerce store must have.

Personalized Pricing

When you go to any online B2C store, you usually don’t see different price quotations for different customers. Your friend and you will both see the same pricing on the store. But a B2B store doesn’t function that way.

In a B2B company, the business often has the need to quote different prices for different customers. For example, they might need to quote lower prices for more demanding customers. For that your B2B store must have the feature that allows you to offer customer specific pricing.

Restricted Access

One feature that is distinct to B2B stores is having restricted access for customers. Many businesses have the need to gate their product pages from the public while others keep their product pages public but gate their pricing model.

The eCommerce platform you choose should allow you to set up password protected sites so that your customers have to register and log in to access your website.

This feature will also allow you to offer customized pricing and product catalogs for different customers.

Bulk Ordering

Many B2B customers want to place bulk orders online and so, offering a bulk ordering form on your website can be a huge time-saver for them. The bulk order form allows them to place their order by searching for the product using product names or SKUs. Instead of browsing the products one by one and visiting product pages, customers can place their order directly from the bulk order form. This feature is especially useful for repeat customers who know what they are looking for and don’t want to spend time browsing through catalogs and visiting separate product pages to add them to the cart.

Quick Order for WooCommerce plugin is especially built for B2B sites, which allows you to deploy the bulk ordering form on your website on any location of your choice using a shortcode. The Quick Order form includes a simple search field that allows users to search for products using variations, product titles and SKUs. The search bar displays results right as the user is typing and displays thumbnails as well for easier recognition of products. The user can type in the quantity they want, see the calculated price and add the products to cart.

Bulk Discounts

Since B2B buyers usually order in bulk, you would like to offer them bulk discounts as well. When it comes to B2B selling, you’ll want to offer different tiers of discounts based on the quantity ordered. For example, a buyer ordering 100 products should be given a higher discount than a buyer ordering 10 products. And so, make sure your eCommerce store allows you to offer different tiers of discounts based on quantity ordered.

Enhanced Mobile Experience

Most B2B buyers start their search for business products and services on their smartphones. And so, having a mobile friendly site is no more an extra feature you need to have – it is a must have thing that is needed to provide a good user experience. When designing your mobile friendly site, make sure to include a vivid CTA and auto complete features. Also, make sure all features of your website work well on your mobile responsive site.

User and Roles Management

Your B2B buyers will often comprise of a buying team with their own internal hierarchy rather than being individual customers. That means, your buyers will need to be treated as a company account with their own team – each having their own roles. Your B2B store, therefore, needs to cater to this distinct need of B2B buyers by giving them the ability to create user roles for their own team.

Your B2B store should allow your buyers to create user roles and assign certain permissions and limits to them in order to manage their team more efficiently. For example, they might want to give someone in their team the ability to research products and compare prices but limit them from making purchase decisions. In the same way, they might want to limit purchasing power with the manager only.

Roles & Permissions for WooCommerce is a powerful role management plugin built especially for B2B websites. This plugin allows buyers to create user roles for their own team and assign different permissions and limits to them.

Flexible Payment Options

Offering flexible payment options is an essential feature for both B2C and B2B stores but it’s even more important for a B2B site. Your business buyers will often be loyal, returning customers having an existing relationship with your company. These customers are often given a line of credit – say, a time period of 30 days in which they have to complete the transaction using their order number. This brings in the need for flexible payment options which include offline modes of payment as well.

One-click Reorder

Most of your business buyers are return customers who want to place the same order every time. An option to reorder from their order history will be a huge time-saver for these kinds of customers.

Real Time Inventory Updates

You can provide accurate information with real time inventory updates and also build trust with your B2B customers. If your customer places an order only to find out later that the product is out of stock, you not only lose trust in your brand but also a potential customer. That’s why having real time inventory updates is such an essential feature for your B2B website.

Author's Bio: 

I am a software engineer, web developer, and student currently living in United States. My interests range from technology to web development. I am also interested in Cybersecurity.