The novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted the entire businesses across the world since December 2019. Almost, every country was locked down to limit crowding and to break the chain of coronavirus contamination. With lockdown, it is evident that the enterprises across the world have faced a significant loss in business. Businesses that particularly were dependent on manual brick and mortar style of business have seen the maximum impact. If you are in online business, then you are potentially doing well even during these difficult times.
B2C eCommerce is experiencing a significant surge in traffic and transactions for essential products like groceries, bathroom essentials, personal care products and many other fast-moving consumer goods. This online trend will continue to increase for the FMCG industry.
Also read: How E-Commerce Is Flourishing Amidst The Coronavirus Outbreak
Talking about the B2B business, worldwide it predominantly works on a distribution based model wherein buyers get their stocks from local traders or distributors of diverse brands via offline buying system. eCommerce that typically works on online purchases has been disrupting this offline system of the B2B industry, though at a slower pace. However, now with the lockdown effect amidst the global pandemic, enterprises are moving to online buying options to prevent human contact. As a result, B2B eCommerce has experienced a notable increase in traffic and sales just in a few months. The resistance to online B2B portals has been foregone, and organizations are in a real sense now favouring eCommerce. The numerous advantages of B2B eCommerce are now realized by the traditional B2B industry, that is, easy buying, convenience, low prices, transparency, doorstep delivery, and easy access to a plethora of brands and products.
30% increase in traffic and sales is observed by B2B eCommerce websites, particularly for the life science industry, pharma industry as the requirement for products to do coronavirus research has massively enhanced. As buyers have adapted to online shopping, many suppliers have changed their strategy to encourage online sales, giving a portion of the yearly budget to digital strategy, marketing and design. The prevailing situation is accelerating digitization of any B2B business; it could not only mean by eCommerce but also mobile-apps, digital marketing or any digital-medium that would help to interact with the customers and produce sales.
However, sustaining a B2B eCommerce business during the pandemic is one thing. But now the B2B commerce industry should leverage on strategies that will help them to boost their online business to the next level and scale up the online transactions quickly.
1. Invest in B2B Content Marketing Efforts To Scale Up B2B eCommerce Sales
An excellent copy within product descriptions is something that gains visibility, drives clicks, educates visitors and encourages users to convert. When it comes to B2B businesses, content is even more critical than in the B2C sector as B2B buyers consume an average of 13 pieces of content before deciding on a vendor. As MarTech Today reports: “The average B2B buyer’s journey involves consumption of 13 pieces of content. The 13 content pieces break down into an average of eight vendor-created pieces and five from third parties. The top source of content was the vendor’s website, followed by search and social media.” As the report goes on to state: “The most useful types of content to aid purchase decision-making were those that addressed: 67% product specifications and functionality, 65% product comparisons, 60% product success stories, 54% content to show value to internal stakeholders specifically, 49% product tutorials and 48% guidance on my problem/how to solve it” Therefore, the most beneficial B2B eCommerce marketing strategy lies in effective content creation. To craft an eCommerce content marketing strategy, including the most valuable forms of content, as outlined above. To effectively do so, various types of content should be employed, including blog content, video content, social media content, premium content like whitepapers, webinars, case studies.
2. Highlight Reviews and Testimonials To Drive B2B eCommerce Conversions
The influence of reviews and testimonials shouldn’t be undervalued. Consumers (both B2B and B2C) more often buy from websites with positive reputations. A website’s reputation is based on what past and current buyers have to say about the online business. Given that online customers cannot hold, touch, feel or smell a product when browsing online, they are mostly dependent on what a business claims and what its customers have to say. Because of this reason, online merchants leverage product reviews to increase eCommerce sales. As far as B2B eCommerce marketing strategies are concerned, product reviews and testimonials are essential as buyers are more discerning due to the average order size being more substantial than with B2C transactions. B2B buyers want dependable suppliers that provide quality products, timely shipping, quick reordering options and stellar customer support. Therefore, it is necessary upon B2B retailers to encourage customers to share their positive experiences with the business. Even if some customers end up leaving negative reviews, learning how to handle negative reviews is a critical skill for sellers to possess. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to optimize services, enhance product offerings, upgrade the site’s UX or fix whatever the complaint describes.
3. Optimize the User Experience For Better Conversion On B2B eCommerce Website
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is an effective B2B eCommerce marketing strategy for an increase in sales. But the fact is that if online sellers don’t know how buyers are interacting with their sites, then sustainably boosting sales is challenging. To increase sales in a long-term way, merchants should consider deploying some eCommerce marketing tools that will help max out revenue, such as Google Analytics, CrazyEgg or Hotjar. Utilizing such tools, online merchants can create heat maps, record user sessions, build better conversion funnels and engage in other vital tasks that will enable retailers to determine where users are dropping off. Armed with this information, it is then possible to adequately optimize a site’s layout, functionality and flow to increase the number of leads and conversions.
4. Run Retargeting Ads To Boost Online Conversions
Majority of users will not convert on their first visit to any B2B website. This is a fact in the B2C space, and particularly prevalent for B2B online stores. If merchants want to capture potential sales, then it is essential to leverage retargeting as one of the company’s B2B eCommerce marketing strategies. Retargeting marketing is critical for eCommerce businesses as these adverts can be personalized based upon the user’s demographics and site interactions. Moreover, these ads can surface on tons of popular online destinations like Facebook, Instagram, Google or a multitude of other websites within the Google Display Network. Over the years, retargeting campaigns have proven amazingly effective. As a result of their potency, they have become a standard practice for B2B and B2C sellers alike.
5. Build a Buyer-Focused FAQ For B2B Customers
B2B buyers are far more informed and less impulsive than B2C customers. Usually, they have far more questions about specific products. Because of these recurring questions, it is necessary to possess an in-depth FAQ section that addresses the most common questions that come from consumers. By creating a buyer-focused FAQ, B2B firms can provide better user experience, enhance their SEO performance and score more conversions.
6. Invest in SEO To Enhance Organic Conversions
Search engine optimization is the most vital and timeless of all B2B eCommerce marketing strategies. According to a recent study on millennial B2B buyers, it was discovered that a whopping 72% of B2B searches started with a generic, non-branded search term entered into Google or a similar search engine. Therefore, the ability to be found in the search engine result pages (SERPs) is crucial. While this certainly does follow up on the point on content marketing. It is also necessary for merchants to consider their on-site SEO optimization efforts such as page load times, mobile-friendliness, structured data implementation, URL structures, metadata and similar elements.
SEO will only gain importance in the following years. A modern survey on the impact of COVID-19 on marketing reveals that 63% of respondents say that SEO will become a higher preference for their brands moving forward. If marketers don’t invest in SEO outcomes, the competition will continually dominate SERP position, making their B2B eCommerce marketing strategies relatively weak.
7. Make Contact Simple For Visitors
When we talk about securing new B2B customers, there is a high possibility that customers will want to speak to a company representative to discuss their needs and address their questions over the phone or in-person. Therefore, sellers must make contacting company representatives simple. This process can be as easy as listing the organization’s phone number at the top of the website, creating streamlined contact forms or implementing a click-to-call button.
8. Upgrade B2B Sites to B2C Standards
In many ways, B2B businesses are beginning to resemble B2C enterprises. This change is because B2B buyers are customers, too, and they appreciate the ease-of-use that typical B2C websites provide. The present B2B customer is a digital native who wants to be able to complete a purchase online efficiently. Sellers need to meet these requirements to continue earning profits. This transformation of the industry is why Magento acquired new B2B capability in 2019, thereby helping B2B brands develop a more modern and accessible eCommerce experience for their customers.
9. Build-Out Bulk Ordering Options
Not all B2B brands sell expensive products. Many sell small, necessary items such as rubber gloves, face masks or even hairnets. Therefore, a business might place an order for 1,000 boxes of gloves in a single purchase and distribute those units among several retail store locations. It is wise for retailers to set up quick, bulk ordering options for a better buying experience. Quick ordering ability, requisition lists and similar features should be made available on an efficient B2B commerce website
10.Choose A Right B2B eCommerce Platform
Last but not least! Your eCommerce platform is one of the components of technology you’ll be using to create a successful B2B empire online. A lot of considerations goes into choosing your eCommerce platform. In B2B, you and your buyers have a complex set of needs that are also very unique. Your business buyers are entirely different and have very different buying patterns than those that stroll in B2C stores.
For instance, your B2B buyers make bulk purchases; they want to negotiate on the price. They have multiple buyers; therefore, they want various logins for their entire buying team, and B2B customers want the ability to set roles and permissions for their employees so they can manage their teams and workflows.
All of these B2B specific requirements should be accommodated by the eCommerce platform you choose.
B2B eCommerce is poised to gain a meaningful spot over the next five years. While circumstances have been disturbed at the moment, it won’t always be this way. Therefore, those who maintain to invest in B2B eCommerce strategies are positioning their business to increase search visibility, sales and market share, thereby becoming a commanding force when things get back on track. If your brand wants to capitalize on the opportunities presented to B2B eCommerce merchants at this moment in time, check out Apexon’s B2B eCommerce solutions. We understand to the core that a B2B commerce solution is different from the standard B2C eCommerce website. We work with the clients to understand their specific business needs and offer productized solutions that fit RIGHT for them. Reach out to us to learn more about our solutions and offerings in the B2B space.