For wholesale brands thinking about implementing a B2B eCommerce portal in the coming months, it’s important to consider the kinds of functionalities needed for these transactions.
In a B2C eCommerce use case, a consumer might be hooked into a one-time purchase, sign up for an account, place their order, and forget about it once it’s been fulfilled. The relationship between wholesale brands and retail buyers, however, are ongoing.
It’s important for a B2B eCommerce platform to be a portal––a record of the buyer’s interactions with the brand, as well as a way to place reorders more effectively. Let’s take a look at some of the B2B-specific eCommerce functions your B2B site is going to need.
eCommerce Functions Needed for Online B2B Transactions
1. Order Visibility:
While you wouldn’t necessarily want to show an end consumer how much money they’ve spent with your brand over the last quarter, it’s important to have that visibility in a B2B context, with a focus on repeat purchasing and total sales history.
2. Checkout Details:
You’ll need to include details like payment terms (net 30, net 60, etc.), ship via information, ship dates, cancel dates, and customer-specific promotions and discounts.
3. Inventory Availability:
While inventory information on B2C eCommerce sites is often limited to simple “out of stock” or “in stock” notifications, a B2B eCommerce site should have robust inventory data available to allow customers to place their orders more strategically and prevent backorders if needed. This can be done through an integration with your ERP system.
4. Order Notes:
The ability to make notes on an item level wouldn’t really apply to B2C, but it is a useful (even necessary) feature for many B2B companies. B2B orders are a conversation, not just an invoice. Customers need to be able to make notes and ask questions about their order.
5. Seller Review:
Giving sales reps the ability to review and confirm an order before it’s final can enable these buyer-seller conversations. Imagine a buyer placing an initial order, asking questions about certain product specs, or making notes about their shipping preferences on certain parts of the order. Your sales rep can then call them and answer questions, provide strategic advice, or even upsell new products.
6. Password Protection:
Password protection of the site allows customers to go in and browse catalogs with pricing specific to their account and prevent them from seeing other customers’ pricing. There might also be promotions that only certain customers have access to. You may also want to have customer visibility controls that allow you to customize catalogs to specific customers if you don’t want certain customers to see certain products.