Learning the Basics of B2B Payments
Avoid these on-site mistakes that could be holding back your wholesale ecommerce site.
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The modern B2B buyer is quite the savvy shopper. Not only do they increasingly purchase products online, but they also expect an enjoyable experience doing so. As the buyer demographic continues to skew toward millennials (who flat out won’t buy from a bad site), your online success hinges on the usability of your website’s shopping experience.
While B2B websites are adopting the features and functionality of B2C, it’s important that your wholesale site addresses the unique needs of B2B buyers in order for it to succeed. Whether you are directly responsible for the outcomes of your ecommerce site or for running and keeping the site functional, you need to make sure you are informed, self-sufficient, and attuned to your audience.
In this article, we discuss the potential reasons why your wholesale ecommerce site isn’t selling and what you can do to turn it around.
Wholesale ecommerce refers to a business selling products to another business online in discounted, bulk quantities. The purchaser of the goods then sells the products on their own site at a higher price, usually to general end-consumers.
With wholesale ecommerce, businesses are leveraging online commerce features to streamline their sales, marketing, and distribution.
Wholesale ecommerce is a type of B2B business model. The most common type of wholesale business is between a manufacturer or a producer and a retailer. However, there are also wholesalers who sell online to other wholesalers, wholesalers who sell directly to end-consumers, and intermediary sellers who are between a manufacturer and a distributor in the supply chain.
Selling wholesale offers many benefits for your business. Since you are selling items in bulk, your business can see higher order volume, less costs involved due to lower cost-per-unit, and increased profit margin. You are able to tap into the expanding B2B market and to sell to new customers with this sales model.
With B2B ecommerce platforms and new commerce technology, it’s now even easier for wholesalers to sell online. The right platform can help you create a website that simplifies the traditionally long B2B buying process, find new potential distributors and buyers, automate manual order processing, implement third-party logistics, and offer an improved experience for buyers.
If you’re not getting the results you want on your whole ecommerce site, here are eight factors that could be holding your site back:
A report by Forrester forecasts that ecommerce will account for 17 percent of all B2B sales by 2023. While there is growing demand for retail-like shopping experiences, it is not guaranteed that shoppers will find your website among a sea of similar offerings.
How to Win: Build out your SEO and social media strategy.
For your eCommerce site to succeed, visibility is key. Having a sound SEO strategy will help increase traffic and drive conversions to your site. A social strategy is also crucial, as 55 percent of B2B buyers search for information on social media.
Operating a site is not a one-time deal after it is launched. Your ecommerce platform can offer some valuable insights beyond the transactions. If you fail to act on these insights, you will lose your grip on important customer data and trends.
How to Win: Implement and monitor analytics on your site.
As you scale your site, you’ll want to monitor key metrics to help you continually adapt to any changes in your buyers’ behavior. Be sure to measure marketing campaigns, inventory, conversion rates, and customer engagement to spot any areas to capitalize on or to improve.
Various industry studies have found about 45 percent of customer phone calls revolve around three topics: product prices, product stock, and order status. B2B sellers who neglect to address these inquiries can lose out on important purchasing opportunities.
How to Win: Incorporate real-time order and inventory information.
Buyers increasingly demand the most up-to-date information and on-demand availability on a B2B ecommerce site. An integrated site that syncs with your inventory and back-end will ensure your buyers are getting the right products they need at the right time.
According to industry surveys, 50 percent of buyers single out personalization as a feature they consider when deciding which wholesalers to work with. Without personalization, your B2B site would just be prettied-up version of your catalog that offers no unique value to your customers.
How to Win: Incorporate search, interactive tools, and buyer-specific pricing.
Allow your customers to easily buy with prices that update according to their needs. Integrate price lists, bulk discounts, and custom pricing, and provide profiles for each customer that are tailored to their product selections, quantities, and the type of business that they run. Robust search features and interactive tools will also make finding your products a lot easier.
Although ecommerce sites have changed the role of sales reps, they should still be an important component of any wholesale ecommerce strategy. A study by McKinsey found that 76 percent of B2B buyers still prefer to speak to a sales rep when researching and purchasing a product.
How to Win: Involve your sales team in support, purchasing, and onboarding processes.
Selling online streamlines the entire sales processes and usually reduces the need for labor. This efficiency can free up your sales to take on an expanded role in your ecommerce experience, from assisting customers on integrated live chat features to engaging cart abandoners.
Many B2B businesses launch their ecommerce site without focusing on a major barrier to entry: payment. While 41.3 percent of total B2B sales are made on a line of credit, a significant portion of buyers also prefer direct methods such as credit card and payment portals.
How to Win: Expand and automate payment options on your site.
B2B sites can correct this pitfall by automating flexible credit terms and offering multiple payment options for buyers. This makes it easy for them to purchase through their preferred method and helping them avoid cumbersome manual processes.
According to the Boston Consulting Group, 80 percent of B2B buyers are using their mobile devices for work—60 percent of them have even used mobile for a recent purchase. Critical conversion opportunities can slip away if you have a wholesale ecommerce site without a mobile shopping solution.
How to Win: Offer a mobile-optimized ordering experience.
Wholesale buyers often enter your site at multiple points. A mobile solution that provides easy access to your products and your customers’ order histories would allow buyers to purchase anytime and easily reorder, boosting average order value and improving overall satisfaction with your brand.
You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: content is king. With the presence of Amazon, it becomes even more crucial for your brand to engage shoppers so they trust your brand and become loyal fans.
How to Win: Create helpful product information, onboarding documents, industry resources, and compelling content pieces that are relevant to your brand and to your customers.
Content such as blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, infographics, and video episodes can boost your brand recognition, address any customer needs, and lead them to purchase.
The modern wholesaler buyer is tech-savvy and digitally connected. They’re used to shopping on marketplaces, conducting research online for new products and brands, and browsing for information on social media. Not only are these buyers increasingly purchasing products online, but they also expect an enjoyable experience doing so.
A big part of this shift is that more and more millennials are entering the B2B space. They look for a B2B experience that mirrors B2C shopping: a personalized, seamless, and user-focused website. To appeal to millennial buyers in B2B, you’ll want to turn your site into a self-directed, one-stop buying experience that has all the resources, pricing, and education they need to make a purchase.
With 68 percent of B2B buyers researching most of their purchases online, it’s more important than ever for wholesalers to have an ecommerce site. However, the mistakes listed above can sink your ecommerce site.
In a nutshell, B2B customers want real-time information, online purchasing convenience, and unique value offerings. Wholesalers who capitalize on these capabilities will be able to create not only a spectacular site but also a storefront that drives profit.
This blog was published on September 20, 2019 and updated on October 27, 2021.
Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.