Do I really need an online presence?
The short answer is yes, you do! Like B2C customers, B2B customers now demand the best online experience and are willing to pay a few extra dollars to ensure they get that experience.
This significant shift towards online business means that manufacturers without a strong Internet presence built on a strong B2B e-commerce platform are struggling to compete with manufacturers that have made the switch.
Luckily, there are many excellent B2B ecommerce platforms suitable for manufacturing businesses.However, choosing the best one for your business can be challenging. But don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to help you make a decision.
Key elements of a good B2B ecommerce platform for manufacturers
At the heart of any successful ecommerce manufacturing business is a B2B ecommerce platform. Many B2B-specific platforms are available and new ones are appearing all the time. Choosing the right solution for your business requires careful thought, especially when it comes to the available features of each solution.
A good platform will have features that allow you to:
Automate tasks to streamline your business processes;
Increase user (customer) engagement;
Record music tracks; and
With B2C e-commerce now a popular activity, there are many platform options available at reasonable prices. But unfortunately, these are not suitable for B2B e-commerce applications because B2B customers have different and more complex needs than B2C customers.
Choosing the platform wisely is essential, as a mistake can lead to unexpected problems such as inability to integrate with existing business processes, poor website performance, etc., all can all cause significant damage to your business.
Managing internal and external users
What makes B2B different from B2C is that there are different types of users who need to access the platform. These can be members of the management team or employees from different departments such as purchasing, marketing, shipping, accounting, etc. To further complicate matters, these users could be from your organization, the customer’s organization, or both.
It is therefore essential that the system you choose can grant different levels of access and permissions to the different people who will need them.
Every B2B ecommerce website must provide elements such as landing pages, marketing campaigns (e.g. social media campaigns), and promotional content, all are all personalized for the user.
The advantage is that the platform allows for the creation of different websites, each tailored to specific verticals and geographies. This will allow you to highlight your target audience while providing them with a great customer experience.
Each customer group has different buying habits. So, whichever platform you choose, it will give you the ability to create personalized self-service portals for each customer as well as customer service. These portals will include things like product information and price lists, all of which are automatically tailored to each customer.This means you need to think about how to configure your ordering process, payment sequence, and shipping options to meet the specific needs of each customer group.
Business Automation Features Industry
Your platform must be capable of creating custom workflows to automate order processing, for example, centralized quoting, contract management, and negotiating terms. The
platform with these types of features delivers a better customer experience, reduces data entry errors, and streamlines your internal processes.
Pricing and Ordering Features
Unlike B2C customers, B2B buyers typically expect to negotiate orders. They may have their own very specific pricing, ordering, payment and settlement requirements.It is essential that your platform can meet these requirements if you want to avoid major problems.
A good B2B ecommerce platform can support shopping carts, RFPs, and order transaction flows as well. The ability to configure things like minimum order quantities, custom pricing, and shipping rules is also highly recommended as it can make the purchasing process easier for both parties.
Ideally, the platform should have built-in customization options so you can easily tailor it to your specific needs. Additionally, the software code must be accessible to developers so that further modifications can be made, for example to integrate it with the customer’s system.
To easily manage customers, operations and inventory, it would be ideal if the platform could integrate with systems such as ERP, CRM, PIM, 3PL, procurement, etc. with little or no modification required. The powerful API is also a great feature as it will make future integrations easier.
The platform must provide interfaces that are appropriate for all individuals who will use it, whether backend staff or customers. Additionally, since people work from various devices such as desktops, tablets, and mobile phones, the platform must be suitable for all types of devices.
Ability to Grow With Your Business
As your business grows, your platform must be able to grow with it. Therefore, it needs to offer more websites, more products, additional integrations, and more. necessary.It must also be able to meet the demands associated with increased web traffic.
A few final words
E-commerce has been an important part of B2C for some time, and it is quickly gaining momentum across all types of B2B, including manufacturing.
Industry experts confidently predict significant growth in B2B e-commerce in the coming years. So, if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to future-proof your business by switching to e-commerce. There are many great platforms that can help you achieve this, and we hope this article has given you a good idea for choosing the right platform for your manufacturing business.
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