Most Common Struggles Of B2B Ecommerce (And How to Solve Them)
Updated: May 17, 2019
B2B commerce refers to businesses that sell their products to other buyers rather than to the consumers directly. In keeping up with global digitization, however, B2B businesses have had to adjust their business practices to make their products available online as well as in physical stores. Most B2B businesses have had some challenges in adapting their business processes towards ecommerce; in the 2017 B2B Digital Commerce Imperative report, only 44% of customers were satisfied with their seller's B2B ecommerce processes. Discussed below are some of the challenges B2B businesses face with ecommerce:
Product prices are not fixed for B2B businesses like they are for B2C businesses. Prices for products depend on the nature of the contract signed with the buyer; this can result in price variations of the same product. The B2B ecommerce platform used should be able to reflect this variability in pricing.
Solution: While considering the different options for platform to host the online store, make sure it will be able to work with contract based price adjustments and reflect apply any specific variability that your business work out with each specific customer.
B2B orders are usually placed in very large quantities. The volume of transactions can overwhelm typical ecommerce sites which may result in delays processing the transactions. B2B businesses should utilize ecommerce platforms specifically designed to handle large volumes of purchases.
Solution: Along with being able to show a clear and exact pricing to customers, it is vital that your eCommerce platform can handle large volumes of transactions and will not fail when large enterprises make large purchases.
Some B2B businesses might have different catalogs per buyer as each buyer may have its own unique sale processes, logistics, and shipping requirements. Additionally, some B2B businesses may supply rival buyers. As such, any ecommerce platform used by a B2B business should be customizable to reflect only products pertaining to each buyer.
Solution: Choosing a flexible CMS system that allows to customize and personalize offers and promotions to customers.
Multiple software platforms such as CRM and ERP are essential for the successful running of a B2B business. Therefore, it is essential that any B2B ecommerce platform used can seamlessly integrate with already existing platforms. Failure of integration can result in the breakdown of any number of business processes.
Solution: Before commiting to a specific eCommerce platform, be aware of the limitations and its potential of supporting integration with different systems that your business might need to grow smoothly. Aside from this, look at how adding software integrations might affect your business and what are your specific needs before starting the journey.
For B2B businesses trying to deliver large quantities of products, shipping logistics can become very complex. This is more so because different buyers may have different shipping logistics. Any B2B ecommerce platform used should be able to handle the logistical shipping complexities that arise with B2B businesses.
Solution: Shipping logistics involve many steps in which in the business needs visibility to ensure customers receive accurate information about their goods and the items are delivered properly. To achieve this, the solution resides in selecting an eCommerce platform that features logistics and supply chain functionalities or make sure the selected CMS is capable of supporting integration to a suitable additional shipping software.