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8 critical B2B eCommerce mistakes which can cost you high

Sep 30, 2019 7 min read
B2B eCommerce mistakes you must avoid

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8 critical B2B eCommerce mistakes which can cost you high

Reading Time: 7 minutes

B2B eCommerce business owners have so much on their plate due to which mistakes tend to happen. But, when we know the mistakes which can cost us huge, we try to avoid them.

Globally digital evolution is happening so fast that we are not able to keep up the pace with it. There are chances that we miss some important points or there is a gap in our understanding. That cost us heavily sometimes. People say that we should learn from our mistakes, but how about preventing them and being proactive?

Your mistakes will not take away your success but those will reduce it. So let’s see what are the mistakes that B2B eCommerce business owners make? And, how to avoid them?

8 critical eCommerce mistakes B2B business owners should avoid,

A quick visual representation of eCommerce business mistakes, B2B owners make-

Let’s get into a detailed understanding and avoid making these mistakes-

1. Believing eCommerce is not for B2B

The first and foremost mistake that traditional B2B business owners make is that they don’t believe that their buyers would buy online. In some of the industries the mindset prevail that our industry cannot be digitized. It is heavily dependent on our sales personnel or vertical marketing system (channel sales).

Here are the reasons why you should start believing and selling your B2B products online:

  1. Outperform competition
  2. Understand your buyers
  3. Boost your brand reputation
  4. Increase online sales
  5. Keep your business sell for 24x7x365
  6. Automate sales workflow
  7. Boost your overall sales
  8. Grow your business globally
  9. Improve an overall ROI

As per the update by Walmart India, half of its business takes place via non-store sales that includes B2B eCommerce. Also, you should not ignore that global B2B eCommerce sales are 234.78% higher compared to B2C eCommerce sales, as per a source.

A report from Forrester suggests that the US B2B eCommerce industry will hit $1.8 trillion by 2023. Besides, there would be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% for B2B eCommerce over the next 5 years.

And in developing nations, Alibaba is yet to happen. So, stop believing that eCommerce is not for B2B.

2. Launching without research and analysis

It is also found in the FOMO, B2B eCommerce business owners make quick decisions and launch their online store without appropriate research and analysis.

This would be one of the biggest mistakes eCommerce business owners make, which they would regret big time later.

Yes, like every other business idea, you need to work upon a plan. And, that plan needs a certain steps to be followed to make it a success. Some of the points that you should research are,

  • Business Models available in digital space
  • What your competition is doing?
  • Technology which suits best to your business workflow
  • What level of integration do you expect?
  • Are your background systems – warehouse management, inventory management, people processes, ERP, etc in place?
  • What type of skills required and how many are missing?
  • Can you go live in phases?
  • How will you market your digital store to reach to the geography where you are not able to reach right now?
  • What is the demand in those targeted geography?

So, make sure you make a perfect plan before you launch your B2B eCommerce store to avoid any issues later.

3. Not choosing the right eCommerce technology

It happens that business owners don’t have an idea on technologies available to transform their wholesale or manufacturing business. And, if you select the wrong technology, this mistake cost you a lot of money, time and energy that affects your overall business.

At this point, you have to decide on the total cost of ownership (TCO) and substitute investment options to scale the business up. You can also decide to full-fledged on a tailor-made solution made inside or outside your organization, going on a ready platform and buying their platform, or getting an online platform on a rental model. 

If it is tough for you to decide, you can read our article “choose to make, buy or get technology on rent” for the guidance. The common questions you should ask yourself are below,

  1. Are you a B2B manufacturer, wholesaler, or trader? Your margins will play an important role in your decision making
  2. No of SKUs in B2B (products) you have and want to sell online
  3. Are your B2B products simple ones or the configured ones? (Simple means products with no attributes such as color, size, shape, etc. and configured ones are the vice versa of simple ones)
  4. Are you going to sell on own site, or via online marketplaces, or via multiple channels?
  5. What’s your budget to invest in eCommerce technology?
  6. Is your team ready for digital transformation?

Make sure you plan has answers for the above questions. In the case you feel your plan needs improvement or insights, you can always connect to us for setting up the strategy.

Once you are ready, you need to find out the eCommerce development partners.

4. Not integrating a B2C-like customer experience

When it comes to offering an excellent customer experience, you need to consider looking at how B2C eCommerce stores are doing.

The reason is that the buyers’ mindset remains the same while buying online for B2B and B2C except for the quantity of the products, its pricing, shipments, and business workflows. Consumer experience is the key to win more business.

Here are a few excellent eCommerce store features that offer an excellent customer experience and help you boost conversions easily,

  1. Increase the speed at which your website and mobile store loads
  2. Organize your B2B products properly organized and categorized
  3. Put high-quality graphics of your products
  4. Keep interactive and influencing the content on the homepage and product detail pages
  5. Ease out the store navigation
  6. Make sure you highlight your customer reviews
  7. Include smart search to ensure your customers can easily find your products
  8. Put the FAQ section as Google loves it
  9. Offers simple and easy checkouts
  10. Multi-country and multi-currency website
  11. Enable mobile view –  PWA or Mobile Native application for wholesale buyers

Once you have all of these highly essential features on your B2B eCommerce store, you are more likely to offer a B2C-like customer experience.

5. Neglecting B2B eCommerce Essential Features

Most of the time, B2B business owners don’t even know what features they should have in order to see growth and success.

So, to avoid making this mistake, you have to check out all the B2B eCommerce features that you need to have even before you launch the website and mobile app.

  1. Keep advanced product search options based on product names, SKUs, product description, short description, price range, and brand/catalogue selection
  2. Provide customized discount options available based on the number of products purchased, the faster payment is processed, the location from where the order is placed, and payment terms already agreed upon between you and your customers
  3. Make sure you have an appropriate order management system in place on your B2B eCommerce store
  4. Work on having a strong integration of your eCommerce store and your warehouses to keep everything at one place for you to manage and maintain
  5. Keep online negotiations on your online B2B store as that allows you to maintain a healthy relationship with your customers
  6. Put customer registration a mandatory exercise for all your customers as that allows them to take benefit of customized discounts, products, terms, and account details
  7. Use re-ordering feature to make sure your customers have all the ease for repeat orders with just a click with minor quantity edits
  8. Put a functionality that allows your B2B buyers to request a quote in order for customized pricing for customized products and quantity
  9. Make sure you have a functionality that allows you to manage the split shipments of larger orders and customers to track it

So, add this point in the action plan that you have to make sure you have all these key features of the B2B eCommerce platform.

6. Underestimating the power of mobile B2B commerce

Just like B2C, B2B can also be highly effective when it comes to mobile commerce. Now, why you should invest in B2B mobile commerce?

Here are a few B2B mobile eCommerce stats to showcase its benefits:

  • 42% of B2B customers considering browsing on their mobile devices before making the purchasing decisions, reports Google
  • 18% of local searches has directly influenced a sale happening within 24 hours, says a report by Amasty
  • 72.9% of eCommerce transactions would take place through mobile commerce by the year 2021, reported on Statista

So, mobile commerce has a huge opportunity for you to see your business growth drastically. Hence, don’t avoid coming up on mobile as it has become a necessity for your B2B eCommerce business to become successful. 

With PWA coming up faster you can think of saving the cost of a native application. Or you can plan a mobile app using Flutter or React Native. 

7. Thinking social media marketing is not for B2B

Another big mistake B2B eCommerce business owners would make is to avoid social media marketing at all. Because they feel it is not the right marketing technique for the B2B industry.

Well, it’s not like that. Let me get you stats proving that social media marketing is meant for B2B eCommerce business:

  • 54% of B2B marketers have said that they generate leads with the help of social media (source)
  • 80% of all the leads generated using Social Media is from LinkedIn among which 44% are the most relevant ones (source)
  • 49% of B2B buyers check the LinkedIn profile of the vendors to research and among which 44% have found the potential vendors (source)

Looking at the above stats, it’s a foolish decision to not consider social media marketing for your B2B eCommerce business. So, start investing in social media marketing to generate more B2B leads. Here is a guide to social media marketing for eCommerce brands to become successful during the holiday season.

8. Not investing in SEO and content marketing

Here is another mistake that you as a B2B eCommerce business owner should not make and that is not investing in SEO and content marketing. You know around 71% of B2B buyers start looking at their required products on the organic search as per the report by Google.

Now, here I have a few stats from B2B Content Marketing Research 2019:

  • 96% of the most successful B2B content marketers say their audiences consider their company as a trusted resource
  • 56% of B2B content marketers said they have increased their spending in content creation and 37% of them spend in increasing their staff in content marketing
  • 61% of B2B content marketers said their top concern is the changing search (SEO) algorithms

Looking at such statistics, not investing in SEO and content marketing is not a choice. There are various B2B businesses who have already taken this benefit and now it’s your turn to learn from this mistake.

Utilizing the right kind of SEO and content marketing strategy for your B2B eCommerce brand to see long-term and highly convincing results.

Learn from mistakes or better avoid them 🙂

We can only grow our business and become successful if we learn from our mistakes and don’t repeat them. And after reading this you can think of not doing it.

Bookmark this page for future reference so that you keep on checking whether you’ve not made any of these mistakes.

As a B2B eCommerce business owner, have you ever made a mistake which is not listed in the above list? Share them with us at [email protected] and we will share them with our audience tagging you. 

Vatsal Shah is a co-founder of Pragmatic Consultancy and DIMC and has transformed various IT, E-Commerce, Chemical, Retail, Service sector organizations for 15 years now. Vatsal has been invited as a speaker by WordCamp, Meet Magento, GTU, ETail India, AMA, GLS University, etc. As a business coach and mentor, he has influenced more than 48 organizations in India, China, the UK, Africa, and the USA and trained more than 4700 people. Vatsal is the most artistic personality at eComKeeda because he is an amazing singer, dancer, artist, gold medalist in the corporate writing, and so much more.