So what exactly do your 'Business - to - Business' customers want when they do business online with?
IN this country we all like to think we've done that special deal with the person we buy off.
We like to think we have a special relationship and therefore we have a special agreed discount or price. We also like to think, that depending on the type of our purchase, we might expect an even better price when we buy in quantity. In Business software terms we call this 'Customer Specific Pricing'.
Your Business - to - Business (B2B) customers will want to see their own unique pricing when ordering from you. This special pricing will be set-up to link to the client's account in your back office accounts management solution. The ability for customers to be confident that they have access to their own specific and negotiated pricing information, on your secure B2B eCommerce website, will make the difference between them completing their orders online or continuing to reach out, via phone or email, to get their orders fulfilled.
With the ever increasing pace of successful and growing businesses, time is a very valuable commodity. The last thing most busy buyers want to do, is spend time trawling through web-page after web-page, of non-relevant products, to eventually finding what they want to place an order for.
Your back office Accounts solution will be well aware of, and have recorded, what your clients order on a regular basis. Buyers will not want to spend most of their time searching through a vast catalogue of stock to find their regular purchase. Bombarding your clients with too much product, and making their on-line purchasing experience more time consuming than they would want, will only drive them back to the phone and email ordering again.
When we browse online for what to purchase, one of our key requirements is – “when will I have my order delivered?” Professional buyers are no different, in fact it's much more critical to keep production lines going. Buyers do not want to place an order for something that is out of stock, when an alternative can be sourced. The importance of good interaction between your eCommerce website and the back office accounting solution you have in place, again is highlighted here.
Your back off accounts will have accurate stock levels and the professional buyer will need to have confidence in the stock levels they see, to progress any purchase orders. If the client feels the need to telephone for an update on stock levels, they most likely will order this way too, making your B2B eCommerce site more of a picture gallery, than an order processing portal, to generate more and more business.
A spin off from special pricing and stock levels linking back to each regular customer's account in the back office, is a self-generating, purchasing picture for every client. This helps to generate a list of purchasing habits, that once again, helps the professional buyer in creating speedy and hassle free purchase orders.
Providing your registered customers with a number of order processing scenarios, is vital when working with larger companies. Perhaps giving access on your eCommerce platform at one level, to select a product and not be processed, until the purchase is approved by a more senior employee, is what is required.
There are many possible scenarios within the B2B marketplace and having an eCommerce provider who offer multiple options, in terms of access, to suit your business set up, like that of Drogheda based company Aphix, is ideal.
You may have certain customers who must pay upfront, or on delivery, and others who can order on credit or with Purchase Order references. For B2B customers, the relevant payment options need to be presented at the online checkout or customers won't be able to order with confidence or frankly won't order at all.
These are just some of the main features that are essential, to provide your business with a successful B2B digital ordering solution and to give your customers, the confidence to begin to ordering online and most importantly, to keep ordering online again and again.
:: Trevor Bingham (firstname.lastname@example.org) is business relationship manager at ItFuel in Craigavon. Follow them on Twitter @itfuel.