Today businesses that serve both B2B and B2C customers face many challenges in delivering their services. To begin with, there is a growing demand for B2B traditional sales models to become digitalised and be similar to B2C eCommerce experiences.
As it stands, 61% of manufacturers and 38% of wholesalers don’t have an eCommerce site, which is a massive missed opportunity to cater to that demand and simplify operations for the businesses. More and more millennials who are B2B customers are entering the workforce, and nobody wants to fax proposals anymore.
However, having an eCommerce site for B2B customers comes with its own set of challenges if the business serves B2C as well. It can be difficult to run operations efficiently with multiple systems and to extract and analyse data in real-time without avoiding conflicts with the B2C side. To maximise your benefits from digitalising your B2C and B2B sales channels, it’s best to streamline your websites into a single platform.
Benefits of digitalising your B2B operations
Having an eCommerce site dedicated to your B2B operations addresses many traditional pain points in B2B sales. An eCommerce site cuts time by automating the following:
- Inventory levels checks and alerts
- Delivery times tracking and adjustments
- Reviewing credit balance
- Receiving invoices
- Updating addresses
- Scheduling services appointments
- Returning products
- Spending & revenue reports
- Submitting warranty claims
- Integrating transactions with ERP systems in real-time
A single eCommerce management system can give your sales team, warehouse managers, and eCommerce managers a consolidated view of all B2B operations, delivering speed and simplicity to B2B customers through faster processing times.
Benefits of streamlining your websites
There are many strategic benefits of approaching both your B2B and B2C operations with one eCommerce platform and a single domain. For starters, it allows your customers to find your website quicker, and you seize a greater business opportunity by capitalising on B2C customers browsing your eCommerce site who might also be B2B customers in their day-to-day jobs, and vice-versa thus boosting sales and improving revenue streams.
One Brand Vision
Having both B2C & B2B customers on the same site makes it simple to create and maintain a one brand vision. No need to have different versions of your brand vision when all your customers have similar experiences on your site and order processing. And since it’s easier to track your B2C & B2B customers’ interactions with your site and their feedback, it will be easier to maintain your brand vision.
Uniformity of Design
It’s easy to maintain the look of your brand with a one-platform solution. You only need to design your web pages and templates once and use it with B2C and B2B customers. This removes the hassle of maintaining 2 separate codebases and avoids unnecessary duplicate work, especially when modifying the design of your site, speeding up development and maintenance work in the process. The overall look of your eCommerce site design can look the same, or dynamically change according to the customer type without affecting the rest of the site.
Even though you can create customised shopping experiences for different customer types on the same eCommerce site, all customers and data associated with their purchases are funnelled through a single point and their data can be compiled and viewed in one place. This is vital for analysing your customer data and creating accurate reports. It’s much better than the alternative to have cost data be located in an ERP system and sales data located in a shopping cart or another system used by salesforce. Over time, analysing your data through a single viewpoint will help you better understand your customer and optimise your growth strategies.
Contrary to common belief, B2B transactions are not all that different from B2B ones. Having a single site that offers both types of transactions helps streamline the buying process and reduce inefficiencies by highlighting the true bottlenecks in your order processing, worrying less about the technical infrastructure. This strategy allows for better resource allocation and optimisation.
The B2B power of Magento
Magento is a powerful platform for building B2C and B2B eCommerce stores and is packed full of useful features. Even if you already have a B2B website on another platform, migrating your existing website to Magento is simple and worth investing in.
Out of the box, Magento offers you the ability to easily differentiate between B2C and B2B customers and customise their experience. One way it does this is by providing the ability to assign custom catalogues and price lists to B2B buyers, and target content and promotion to specific segments.
To help you streamline your sales channels and offer your customers real-time inventory from across your supply chain, using automated business rules to optimise your fulfilment costs and delivery times. B2B customers will especially love the convenient purchasing options that enables them to quickly place orders online by entering SKUs, uploading CSV files, or choosing items from pre-set requisition lists.
Another great Magento feature is its engaging experience across all devices. It offers modern designs and the latest standards in web technologies (like newly adopted PWA). These engaging and mobile-optimised experiences empower your customers and sales staff to place orders on any device at any time.
Businesses with large inventories and heavy online traffic should feel confident that Magento can handle their traffic and data safely and reliably since Magento is a leader in cloud commerce and delivers reliable, high-performance experiences without expensive capital costs and maintenance fees. In addition, Magento manages to deliver that high performance while integrating with your existing backend systems and providing robust APIs to speed your time to market.
To read more about Magento’s B2B features and capabilities, check out this article on “Providing a better B2B experience in 2020 in Magento”.
If you need help transforming your B2B digital operations then get in touch with us.