b2b shopping

B2B Ecommerce Best Practices for Mitigating the Impact of COVID-19

May 3, 2021

Statista has projected a $100 billion growth in the global B2B eCommerce space. As the world grapples with new waves of the pandemic, the consistent growth in the industry is noteworthy. Some industry experts have speculated that this is a short-term bump. As the supply chains start operating at full scale, customers will go back to the conventional systems of operations. However, that thesis does not pay attention to the fact that B2B eCommerce had been already growing consistently for the last few years – before COVID-19 hit the globe.

Whether you already have a B2B eCommerce store in 2020-21 or are planning to run a pilot project for the same, it is an opportune time to provide your B2B customers with a safer, easier, and more engaging channel for ordering from your business.

7 B2B Ecommerce Best Practices for COVID-19 and Beyond

Each business has different ordering dynamics because of its industry and the supply chain it leverages. That said, each business has an equal chance of catapulting to a more efficient operation if it plans to start a B2B online store. Here are the best practices you can save, share, and execute to create a more value-delivering purchase experience for your B2B buyers even as the pandemic adds unpredictability to the world.

1. Enable User Profile-Based Permissions.

B2B buyers usually have a tried and tested method of placing an order. They invite prices, check for availability, bargain, and then make a decision. Most B2B buyers who have been getting a good price, a promise of quality, and a considerable service do not change the purchasing systems for years. But the pandemic has put a question mark on the entire modus operandi.

Purchase teams, procurement managers, business operators, and business owners – are all running the risk of getting impacted by COVID-19. Hence, the person who has served as the dedicated point of contact for years might not be available all of a sudden to attend to personal emergencies. By having user-profile based permissions on your B2B eCommerce store, you simplify the process of knowledge transfer without compromising the relationship. If COVID-19 has impacted a Purchase Manager at your old client XYZ Inc., whoever is replacing his/her duties at the company can simply access this user account and place the order.

2. Proactively Showcase Inventories.

One of the biggest challenges for B2B buyers and sellers is the availability of inventories. Since human capital is at risk and several touchpoints across key supply chains are broken, businesses are dealing with the uncertainty of available inventories. If you can show the real-time availability of inventories on your platform to your B2B buyers, you will help them plan their procurements easily. They might not buy from you if you do not have the inventory, but they will remember your transparent operations that saved their time.

3. Streamline Your Communication Systems.

Your or your customers’ employees might get impacted by COVID-19. But, this should not break the communication channels you have already established. For instance – if your sales team used to visit the customer locations and inform them about available offers & take orders, email alerts and push notifications on your B2B online store should now shoulder this responsibility.

4. Secure Customer and Enterprise Data.

Cybersecurity has become a growing concern for businesses worldwide – primarily because this is a location-agnostic threat. A cyber attacker in China can threaten a business in Australia, or an organized crime unit in Russia can target an enterprise in the USA. The Security Magazine has identified Ransomware, DDoS Attacks, and Cloud Vulnerabilities among the most common cyber threats. Your enterprise and customer data must be secured on servers, in transit, and while being downloaded. This would necessitate advanced encryption and firewalls across your transactions, servers, and cloud data.

5. Restrict Your Delivery Zones Instead of Retracting Orders.

While every business understands that the supply chains have become more vulnerable to unforeseeable delays, it still accounts for the loss of time and resources if an order gets cancelled by the seller. Instead of reacting to the situation and retracting supplies to areas where the risk of infections is growing, your B2B online store should allow you to restrict delivery zones.

6. Support No-Contact Ordering.

No-contact ordering became a key trend in 2020, as businesses understood that they had to safeguard their human capital without letting their business continuity get affected. This meant that the sellers had to adapt their approach and provide digital buying solutions. Your B2B eCommerce store in itself is a step in the right direction. You can augment its impact by adding features like a quick reorder to save time and barcode scans & voice-based search functionalities that allow your customers to place orders without touching their computers.

7. Offer Customized Pricing.

You could have offered unlimited credit to your customers in an ideal world and helped them keep the business running. However, as bankruptcies and defaults increase, cash flow crunch is becoming a norm and credit trades are getting minimized. You can still offer your buyers customized pricing to ease the burden just a little bit. The principle would be to give more discounts to the smaller buyers who might need additional help. But each business has different priorities. As far as your B2B eCommerce platform allows you to offer custom pricing to different buyer groups, you can help the customers who need it the most.

In Conclusion

These B2B eCommerce best practices apply to almost every industry that can be migrated to online ordering. To summarize, focus on providing profile-based permissions, showcasing inventories, streamlining communications, securing enterprise & customer data, restricting delivery zones, supporting no-contact ordering, and offering custom pricing.

For most businesses planning to venture into or pivot to B2B eCommerce, getting this checklist of best practices might seem an operationally tedious task. That is why Quick eSelling already comes loaded with these and several other functionalities. Book a personalized demo to explore the Quick eSelling B2B software and discover the value it can add to your B2B sales.