Some tips about B2B webshop software
B2B E-commerce is in the highest gear: according to Forrester, 11% of the turnover of American companies is generated from E-commerce platforms. It is expected that this percentage will be 13.1% in 2021. Therefore, it is important to think what your B2B webshop needs to meet to be successful now. If you want more information about what makes a webshop successful click here. In this update we will go into all the possibilities of the various B2B webshop software and we give you some tips to consider.
Interesting functions for a B2B webshop
There are so many platforms. It is therefore important to map out the functional requirements in advance. The market approach in B2B is different from B2C. Therefore, it is important that the software supports this. It is also important that a platform matches your growth ambitions. Think of a range expansion or international expansion. In other words, never take technology as a starting point: technology is a means, not an end in itself. Below we list a number of functionalities that many of our clients use.
- Responsive changes per device. Online customers shop on different devices. They can check prices on a phone or tablet but then complete the purchase on a desktop. The chosen platform must be able to accommodate this common type of buyer. The content must be displayed correctly on all devices. This makes it easy for buyers to browse and complete purchases. For most B2B webshop softwares the ability to automatically scale the website to a tablet, mini-tablet or mobile phone is part of the standard package. It is important to find out whether the software supports easily making adjustments for optimisation per device. For example, on a desktop you want to show three customer cases horizontally but on mobile you only want to show one customer case instead of three. Your potential customer will be scrolling for a very long time and this may be counterproductive.
- Self-service. As you start a B2B webshop it means that potential buyers want to be able to find information and solve the problem themselves. The e-commerce experience should give them the opportunity to do so. Customers should be able to find shipping information, track orders, approve quotations and manage their account when needed.
- Show products grouped or at a simple level. At DormerPramet.nl you can see that we show products on a grouped level. This can also be seen in the webshop of Tricorp. This is an important consideration for several aspects. Think of the URL structure and needing to prevent duplicate content. In the case of Dormer Pramet, most drills are only different in size and not so much in terms of text or description.
- Linking and linkability. There are more and more systems on the market that contribute to your B2B webshop. Linking these systems is becoming increasingly important. Think of mail programs, analysis software, PIM system or ERP system. It is therefore a prerequisite to find out whether the B2B webshop software supports this properly.
- B2B P.I.M. system. Webshops use a B2B P.I.M. system. We we advise you to do this from 250 products onwards. Your ERP system cannot meet that so an investment in a P.I.M. system is always the right step. You can see this as a super-marketing machine for your product information. Do you have a rapidly changing assortment or a stable assortment? In other words: How often should you adjust, enrich, etc. your product content?
- Customer-specific prices. A requirement unique for B2B e-commerce is to offer customer-specific prices and items for sale. Unlike B2C, the price can vary per customer. The platform should allow you to set different prices for each ‘customer group’.
- Payment options. B2B buyers buy differently than B2C customers. Companies usually buy in larger quantities. The orders can also be repairs or stock replenishments. Your platform must have flexible payment options. Although in B2C it is very common to pay for products directly, in B2B this is not so obvious. Traditionally, they are used to buying on account. If this is also the case in your industry, you may want to consider offering your customers this option online. An alternative could be a credit card payment.
- Request a proposal. In B2B webshops, buyers who purchase larger volumes come, they do not always want to order this directly: they often want a proposal from a new supplier. The possibility to create and send a proposal shopping cart is a great way to receive large requests. For both the manufacturer and its distribution/dealer network.
Which B2B webshop softwares are available?
- Magento is an excellent E-commerce platform for B2B companies. The open source character of Magento has ensured that many functions have been developed for B2B applications. The software enables all of the above mentioned aspects of a B2B webshop through available plug-ins. In addition, a major advantage of Magento is that the platform can handle large volumes of products, unlike some other platforms that have performance problems with too much and too complex product data. Being able to easily and flexibly set up technical features of products in the shop in terms of filters, tables etc. is also an important advantage. A disadvantage is the complexity of the CMS. It is not user-friendly for inexperienced users. Jelba is a specialist in Magento 1 and Magento 2 for B2B E-commerce applications: we build, integrate (link with ERP and other systems), optimise and run a number of large B2B webshops for our customers, with great success.
- Intershop. Larger B2B companies choose Intershop. Here less customization is possible but they choose a ‘best-of-breed’ solution. The advantage is the speed with which an integrated shop can take off since customisation is avoided. This is also in combination with the costs of the license and further development what prevents B2B from choosing this platform. Technically speaking, it is a solid foundation and can handle a lot of volume without any loss of performance. Jelba runs the Intershop dealer portal for a number of customers, where customers can place orders after login, directly linked to the ERP system. Ease of use and reduction of administrative costs are major benefits.
- Woocommerce, the E-commerce extension of WordPress is an accessible way to sell a more compact quantity (up to 400 products) online or to use it as a lead generation model. The costs and speed of construction are very attractive for B2B companies. Especially if they want to develop a website in combination with E-commerce for a selection of products. The high usability and integration possibilities are a plus. Jelba is a specialist in WordPress and WooCommerce and uses this for our clients with great success .
- Lightspeed eCom is a former SEO-Shop. The SaaS (software as a service) solution is rapidly gaining popularity among companies that start with E-commerce. The starting point of this E-commerce software is SEO. This is also an important distinguishing feature compared to other shop software. The user-friendliness of the CMS in terms of SEO is very high for non-technical users. SEO shop was traditionally a typical B2C solution and is now specialized in solutions for the hospitality and retail industry in combination with POS systems. Further development is now underway towards B2B.
What is the best choice?
Choosing the right B2B webshop software is not something you do every day. Then there are a lot of questions you should take into account when developing and running a B2B webshop. Do you need more explanation? Or do you just want to see some practical examples? Feel free to contact us. Do you have additions or comments about B2B webshop software or do you have experiences with relevant software you want to share with us? Let us know and send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you in advance.
The goal of all our customers is to realize more sales online. We ensure that they succeed in this mission. If you are a B2B company, then we are happy to provide insight into your online opportunities and give advice on where you stand in comparison to your competition. Click here to request this scan.