Choosing the Right eCommerce Platform for B2B

25 Aug 2022
Mike Patel
Mike Patel
Choosing the Right eCommerce Platform for B2B

The business-to-business eCommerce world is rapidly growing beyond what we have expected!

In 2020, the global B2B eCommerce market was valued at a staggering $14 trillion. But it’s expected to grow far beyond that, reaching $18.97 trillion by 2028! And the buyers in that world have increasingly high expectations.

We’re sharing with you all of this to illustrate how important it is to ensure that your eCommerce platform is up to the highest standards. And to ensure that you can reach those standards, with a list of things your eCommerce platform must do!

Think about this: When you’re online shopping, what attracts you to a site the most? What do you like? What don’t you like? Write down a list of what makes you come back to stores again and again, and which shopping experience brings you back to shop online.

At its core, a good B2B eCommerce platform must be able to meet the needs of your business and your customers. Whether you’re looking for customization options, pricing controls or an easy checkout process, your eCommerce platform must deliver on these key features. So think about what draws you to certain online stores and what keeps you coming back time and time again.

With the right eCommerce platform, you can create a customized shopping experience that resonates with your customers and brand. This article will discuss a few of the other things your B2B eCommerce platform must do.

1. Mobile-Friendly

One of the most vital features your B2B eCommerce platform should have is a mobile-friendly design. In today’s world, most consumers prefer to shop for products on their smartphones or tablets. If your store does not have a responsive design and customers cannot easily view it on mobile devices, you’re missing out on a large percentage of potential sales.

You can ensure that your platform is mobile-friendly by choosing a responsive theme or investing in a custom mobile app. You can also enlist the help of a professional eCommerce development company to create a custom solution for your business.

2. Improve Site’s Speed

 The speed of your website can have a big impact on your conversion rate. If potential customers have to wait too long for your pages to load, they will click away and go to a competitor’s site.

Make sure your B2B eCommerce platform is built on a fast and reliable server so your site loads quickly. Common servers used for eCommerce websites include Apache and Nginx.

You can also improve your site’s speed by:

        Optimizing the size of your images.

        Making sure you have a caching plugin in place.

        Minimizing the number of plugins you use.

        Compressing and minifying your site’s code.

3. Multi-Faceted Search Engine

One of the most crucial features of any B2B eCommerce platform is a powerful search engine. Your customers need to be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily, without having to sift through dozens of irrelevant results.

A multi-faceted search engine will allow your customers to filter their searches by product category, price range, brand name or other parameters to find exactly what they are looking for right away.

You want your site’s search engine to be fast and accurate, with the ability to track down products quickly, even when your site lists thousands of items. Ultimately, having a powerful and user-friendly search engine is critical to customer satisfaction on your eCommerce site.

4. One-Size-Fits-All Ordering

The checkout process is one of the most important aspects of any eCommerce site, and your platform must make it as easy and streamlined as possible for customers to complete their purchases.

Most B2B eCommerce platforms make it possible for customers to purchase products from multiple users in a single order. That can be very handy when you’re dealing with large quantities of products that need distribution among several different clients or offices.

A one-size-fits-all checkout feature on your platform ensures that all orders go through the same process, regardless of how many people are purchasing items from your site at any given time.

You want to offer a variety of payment options so that customers can choose the method most convenient for them.

Additionally, the checkout process should be secure and simple, without any unnecessary steps or confusing forms. Making the checkout process as easy and user-friendly as possible will help to increase sales on your site.

5. Offer Customer Support

Another vital feature of any eCommerce website is customer support. When customers have a question or concern, they need to be able to quickly get in touch with someone who can help them resolve the issue.

Your B2B eCommerce platform should include a reliable live chat feature so that customers can get assistance whenever they need it. A live chat feature can help customers who have trouble with their order or have questions about shipping times or other issues.

You may also want to consider offering phone support or including an FAQ section on your site where you address common issues immediately.

This article will cover tight ERP integration, data handling, customer portals, navigation, and sales reps’ capacity! Continue reading below for more information.

6. Tight ERP Integration

ERP stands for enterprise resource planning. It’s the act of combing a business’s online ordering solution with its inventory management system and accounting process. Essentially, the tighter your ERP, the smoother your operation will be, allowing you to avoid some awkward hiccups down the road.

Good ERP integration can even result in some massive benefits for your business!

For instance, your business could experience a significant bump in internal response time and efficiency levels through increased transparency and information sharing. Even a leap in data accuracy, given that ERP safely and accurately stores all your incoming information in an easily accessible place—eliminating the annoying manual process of storing the information yourself and putting any resulting errors to bed.

The benefits of automation and real-time data access are also jewels when running a B2B eCommerce business.

7. Handle Even More Data

Data is undoubtedly the kingpin in the eCommerce world.

We expect the world of data to grow by 61 percent come 2025, with eCommerce representing a big bit of that total—certainly a massive amount of information.

Buried within the data are the secrets to all of your customer’s social media traffic, geolocation information, web histories and even forgotten shopping carts—all data you need to improve the customer experience.

So, suppose your platform lacks the horsepower to handle the data. In that case, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to boost your customer’s shopping experience with better security, increased personalization in the customer portal and optimized pricing.

It’ll also limit your ability to predict coming trends. And if you can’t do that, your business as a whole will be put at a disadvantage.

8. Boost Your Customer Portal

Great customer portals are vital in today’s world! And great means custom.

You see, there’s a ton of traffic flooding onto your platform day after day, and each person wants their own experience—nearly everyone online has tasted the cookie-cutter, one platform fits all experience, and they don’t like it.

So, it’s up to you to offer them something beyond that.

Your customer portal must deliver personalized content and customer-specific pricing without making your visitors jump through a massive amount of hoops. If you can consistently offer those things, you’ll be able to hold on to more customers in the future.

9. Ensure Easy Navigation

Do you know how many people love being lost and confused on a platform? Exactly zero.

Yet, many platforms will still be a thrown-together mess of confusion—adding page after page that leads to little helpful information, eventually forcing the customer to give up and leave.

Well, it’s time to break that trend. You need to ensure that a child can come on to your platform, find the item they’re looking for and proceed to checkout (With their parent’s permission, of course.) without getting lost or confused.

Believe it or not, once people get lost on your platform, they won’t stick around to find the product they’re looking for. They’d sooner visit another platform than waste their time looking around a confusing one.

 Keep that in mind as you refine your navigation.

10. Elevate Your Sales Reps’ Capacity

Your sales representatives are the backbone of your platform. They deliver people to checkout like nobody else. So, it stands to reason that you’d want to support them and elevate their sales capacity, right?

Luckily, you don’t have to go out of your way to do that. All you have to do is tune your eCommerce platform to provide them with a few things.

  1. Ensure they have easy access to ALL the product details.
  2. Guarantee that your platform allows your representatives to handle multiple customers at once.
  3. And easiest of all, refine your platform to allow customers to ask for a representative.

People don’t like being called at random, but they love quick responses from a team after they’ve voluntarily given information. So, provide them with the option.

If you can do all three of those, you’ll be able to easily elevate your sales reps’ capacity.

After applying all of this, your platform will surely be better off, but remember to keep looking for more tricks to optimize your platform! The more you improve, the more likely your eCommerce platform will continue to succeed. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t take much out of you to ensure your customers have a great experience. 

If you want to create a successful eCommerce website, it is crucial to provide your customers with all the features they need and expect. Some key features that any B2B eCommerce platform should offer include secure checkout, customer support and a user-friendly interface. With these features in place, you can help to boost sales on your site and provide excellent experiences for your customers now and in the future.

Mike Patel
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Mike Patel is the Founder and CEO of ioVista, a leading digital commerce agency specializing in eCommerce solutions. With a strong background in business and technology, Mike Patel has been at the forefront of driving digital transformations for businesses. He has successfully navigated the ever-changing landscape of eCommerce, helping companies leverage the power of online platforms to grow their brand, increase revenues, and optimize their digital presence. Under his leadership, ioVista has become a trusted partner with major technology companies: Adobe/Magento, Google, BigCommerce, Shopify, and Yahoo. He is dedicated to staying ahead of industry trends, adopting cutting-edge technologies, and continuously improving strategies to provide clients with a competitive edge. Mike’s commitment to excellence and client satisfaction is evident in every project ioVista undertakes.

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