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B2B vs B2C E-commerce Features | What’s Different?

September 6th, 2016 by Marcel Munoz

Businessman pushing button with b2b dollar currency.


Many of the best practices for B2B e-commerce carry over to the B2B world as well, but have some slight nuances that are important to a business buyer. In my last post, I reviewed some of the key differences between a B2B buyer and a B2C shopper. Now we’re going to functionality that is required to deliver the best online experience for the B2B buyer based on those differences.

E-commerce Features with a B2B Twist

  • Quick order – “Quick order” for B2B means more than providing the ability for someone to enter one or two product numbers and make a purchase. Make it easy to order multiple items at a time, place a reorder, and export data from their account.
  • On-site search – All of the cool (and necessary) features like smart auto-complete and dynamic landing pages are important in both worlds. Search by product number and manufacturer part number are critical for B2B.
  • Guided navigation and Faceted Search – Providing the ability for shoppers to drill down and refine search results by product attributes is becoming a standard practice on e-commerce sites. Offer the ability to narrow results on multiple parameters such as manufacturer, make and model, and application.
  • Product detail page – Obviously this is important to all types of consumers. Without adequate information on the product detail page it’s difficult to make a purchase decision. Include the item #, manufacturer part #, UPC code, and any relevant cross reference #’s the buyer might be using to find a product.
  • Split Shipping/Multiple Ship To Addresses – It’s common for a B2B buyer to have responsibility for purchasing goods across multiple locations. This means it’s important to allow them to ship the content of a single cart, and ideally a single line item, to multiple shipping addresses.
  • Personalization – B2B companies have a big advantage when it comes to the topic of personalization, since most transactions require a login. Use information about their company, industry, and transaction history to personalize content and product offers.

B2B Specific Features

  • Quotes and RFQ – Allow prospects the ability to submit a Request for Quote without having to create an account and log in. Honor any special contract pricing and make it easy forIt is also important to make it easy for them to turn a finalized quote into an order.
  • Competitor cross reference – If you’re a distributor or manufacturer with competitors across broad product lines it can be beneficial to enable competitor cross-reference numbers in the search experience. It sounds counter intuitive, but allowing a customer to search using competitor part numbers that correspond to your part numbers makes you a valuable resource.
  • Custom Catalog and contract pricing – Contract pricing and special product offerings are one of most difficult aspects of B2B e-commerce to execute, but are also arguably one of the most important features. When a customer logs in, they should only see the products they are allowed to purchase, and the prices that are displayed should be their contract price (including volume discounts).

Optimizing the B2B e-commerce experience to include these functions and features will differentiate you from the competition and keep your customers coming back to your site time after time.

Marcel Munoz

Marcel Munoz

Greetings! My name is Marcel. I've been heavily involved in ecommerce tools and data automation and curation.

You can learn more about me on our Thanx Media management page.
Let's link up to share great content & ideas: @thanxmedia | G+  

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