Recently, the landscape of the eCommerce sector has been rapidly booming once again. Every day, businesses all around the world try out new marketing methods that mix the traditional with the cutting edge. Combining business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions is the current experiment. Hybrid eCommerce Platform is the term for this type of system.
Online business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales have long been the bread and butter of the electronic commerce industry. Despite the fact that business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce is highly specialised and business-to-consumer (B2C) eCommerce is more frequent, it has become clear that implementing different tactics for each may not provide a return on investment (ROI).
As the dynamics between buyers and sellers get more nuanced, a convergence of the two is required. As a result, hybrid systems have become increasingly important. In this way, a company may reach out to both its business and consumer audiences from a central hub, thanks to a hybrid eCommerce platform solution that supports both models. Now, let’s dive into some of the challenges faced with eCommerce platforms.
The same convenience that your B2C customers have come to expect from your business should be available to your B2B customers as well. However, they have distinct requirements, which presents a significant obstacle for B2B online transactions.
1. Buyers have complex procurement processes
Some businesses’ purchasing procedures are just as convoluted and analogue as the laggards they buy from, so B2B buyers anticipate some leeway in how they place orders and make payments.
Purchasing goods and services is what is meant by procurement. It is typically subject to stringent controls and monitoring, with well-defined procedures in place. Contracts, requisition orders, purchase orders, invoices, and other paperwork may fall under this category.
2. Need a variety of payment options for customers
Allowing for more forgiving payment terms for B2B clients is a certain way to win over new users and keep the ones you have pleased.
The benefits of a B2B credit solution include:
3. Data for multiple channels may be siloed
There are one too many moving parts in B2B eCommerce that need to be locked down before you can start making sales online. Particularly if you sell via numerous channels (e.g., B2B and B2C, or have multiple channels of distribution), you may have many distinct data sources. It is not beneficial to your company to keep that information isolated.
4. B2B purchasers must be able to locate more complex products with the same ease
Buyers in today’s era prefer online transactions to in-person presentations and physical catalogues. Online B2B purchasers, like B2C shoppers, seek appropriate search results, easy website navigation, and suggested product material.
But they also need accommodations that fit the complexity of B2B buying, such as a unique account with a particular catalogue, specialised pricing, and sensitivity to product availability. The future of B2B is in eCommerce, and the necessity for tailored, intelligent, search-driven experience is critical.
5. The buying process is lengthy and intricate
Many different types of persons may be involved in the B2B purchase process, each with their own unique set of responsibilities. There will be people studying the solutions, stakeholders whose buy-in is essential to move forward, financial officials to approve the spending, and so many more. And depending on the size of the purchase, this might take up to a year or more – a long way from the one-click purchase option on Amazon.
All that work demonstrated there’s a lot to catch pace with. Good back-office administration is crucial in these situations. Every person or organisation with whom your company has contact must have easy access to the data they require to perform their functions.
1. Simpler Integration
The great news is that it’s well worth it to combine your applications if you’re already using more than one. Connecting two of your systems is feasible so long as you have access to a suitable business application programming interface. You’ll immediately reap the benefits of not having to manually move information between the two databases.
When the right API is available, integration costs can be kept to a minimum. But if an API is developed, the price tag rises dramatically. In any case, it will be a worthwhile endeavour, especially if there are solid predictions of profit.
For example, you can use IoT devices to track your consignments to improve your supply chain while using on-premise legacy systems. The cloud-based data from IoT devices will need to be integrated with your systems in order to gain meaningful insights from the real-time data.
2. A Unified Brand Site
One brand site relies heavily on the effectiveness of keeping things simple. The ease of use is largely due to the minimalist design of these sites. Customers are more likely to stick around as a result. Users will receive information and calls to action more rapidly from a unified brand site. Users are only visiting one brand site, making it simpler for them to respond to the calls to action you’ve strategically placed throughout.
For example, colour schemes, graphics, logos, and slogans all play an important role. With the help of these elements the brand comes to life and leaves an emotional impression on the customer.
3. Single Product Catalogue
In the traditional method, you would have to handle inventories for both platforms separately and keep tabs on two separate accounts. In this respect, the hybrid eCommerce platform comes in quite handy, as it allows you to maintain a single inventory database across both B2B and B2C channels.
As a result, a hybrid platform will eliminate the need for manual database management and the resulting double entries.
For example, product catalogues are used in B2B and B2C industrie. They are common with both online and brick-and-mortar retailers. It is possible to use similar PDF catalogues (organised on their website) and a digital library of their merchandise that can be browsed by selecting a specific product category.
4. Seamless Customer Experience
In simple terms, customer experience(CX) is how a customer feels about a product or service offered by a particular brand or business. Data shows that 86% of customers are willing to spend more for an exceptional service encounter. Now you have an idea of the magnitude of the change.
The process kicks off when a potential customer learns about your business for the first time and chooses to engage with it. The totality of a customer’s interaction with your company can be summed up by the services provided by your sales, marketing, and support teams.
For instance, it’s essential that the company maintain a consistent brand and tone across all of its channels, provide excellent customer service, and make sure that orders are shipped out promptly.
5. Personalised Content
The process of personalising content entails developing text that is specific to a given audience and designed to meet their needs. Content personalisation is a powerful tool for business-to-business marketers looking to boost their campaigns, boost conversion rates, and boost engagement inside their target accounts.
Creating content that is tailored to a particular consumer persona means putting in the time and effort to ensure that the material is as relevant as possible to that person. Many businesses build their whole marketing plan on customer “personas.”
If you want your material to truly connect with your target audience, you must first gain a thorough understanding of who they are, the difficulties they face, and the factors that drive them to take action.
Amazon has been doing content personalisation for years and is probably the best example of how it can be done. When you visit Amazon, you will be greeted with a homepage that is completely tailored to your preferences. Even the ratings for sellers, products, and buyers can be viewed along with a user’s purchase history.
6. Checkout Process
Modern B2B customers have little to no patience for lengthy registration processes and complex pricing structures.
Less shopping carts will be abandoned if customers can easily see the next steps in the checkout process. Customers won’t buy from you if the purchasing process is too long and complicated.
If at all possible, have the checkout process take place on a single page with minimal headers and footers. To keep customers from leaving in droves, make sure they can buy things without having to register.
Using interactive visuals to indicate the shopping cart’s progress at checkout is a great method to keep customers interested. The checkout page is easily recognisable since it contains delivery-related information such as shipping charges, handling time, and “modify order” buttons.
For example, you can design a checkout page that will leave a lasting impression. It is advisable to additional touches, such as creating a simple, sleek design to provide concise and clear information. Form validation and error messages can also be used to ensure that customers enter their information correctly.
7. Single Dashboard Platform
In the business world, having access to relevant data can make all the difference. It can aid in decision-making by providing valuable information about your clientele.
In addition, it gathers information from several channels and stores it in a single place, such as your website, social media, and emails. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to have a unified interface that can handle a wide variety of tasks.
For example, it is critical for your organisation’s long-term success to have a single digital dashboard that can track and manage your IT KPIs, especially costs.
8. Bulk Ordering
The hybrid eCommerce approach facilitates the ordering process for both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) clients, regardless of the product type. This is especially useful because B2B customers typically purchase things in larger quantities than B2C consumers do.
For instance, the admin can generate an invoice and ship the order at the same time. In the same way, the administrator has the option to perform a variety of other actions to process orders. A few mouse clicks can save a lot of time for the administrator, who can process all of the orders at once.
9. Hybrid Platforms Are More Economical
Time efficiency is a key feature of hybrid eCommerce platforms and one of the main reasons to use them. The hybrid strategy frees up a lot of time by allowing you to spend the same amount of time and energy on two different platforms to achieve the same goal. It also reduces the need for an abundance of human resources.
Instead of maintaining two databases, two catalogues, and two sets of personalised content dependent on the business process, the hybrid solution allows for all of these tasks to be performed in one location.
For example, hybrid app developers can use a single codebase to create mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms. As a result, native apps are more expensive and take longer to develop because they require developers to write separate code for Android and iOS versions of their apps.
10. Stay ahead of your competition with hybrid eCommerce
Estimates place the number of online stores at over 24 million worldwide. The rising tide of eCommerce and fierce online competition drowns out most newcomers’ voices.
However, competition is a sign of interest in the market, making eCommerce a promising sector. Hence, opting for a hybrid eCommerce approach helps you stand out and stay ahead of your competitors.
For example, a Facebook Messenger bot named Ralph was launched by LEGO. During the festive season, this convenient bot helps shoppers find gift ideas and suggestions for their loved ones.
In the past 2 years, COVID-19 has been a major driving force behind the expansion of eCommerce, drawing in new customers from all over the globe. Online shopping has yet to catch up to its advantages, such as reduced costs, more availability, and a wider selection.
Now that COVID-19 has passed, and normalcy has been restored, a new hybrid commerce model is taking shape. This model uses online and offline stores together to provide a physical representation of the online shopping experience.
In addition to expanding their consumer base, businesses should consider how the information gleaned from their online presence might improve customer service and streamline operations by becoming active participants in eCommerce.
The choice of an eCommerce platform is the single most influential factor in the fate of an online store. Even though there is a huge number of options for hybrid commerce systems, finding the right one can be challenging. This is where Apexon comes into the picture.
Apexon provides a holistic solution for all your eCommerce implementation and maintenance needs. A key component of the project is preparing the company to collect information on customer experience. Team members use a sprint-based, agile methodology to guarantee efficient prototype development and achieve your optical goals.
Get in touch today!