What can your B2B webshop learn from the e-commerce giants?

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3 essential lessons

Were your customers still eager for a live appointment with your sales reps in 2020? Probably not. COVID-19 accelerated the digital transformation. E-commerce was already beckoning your B2B business and is now inevitably invading your day-to-day operations. Some studies expect that by 2022 half of all B2B purchases will be made online. But how do you make your B2B webshop successful? Spoiler: pamper your customer like bol.com and Amazon do. 

Online purchasing? Why not.

Your B2B customer, in many cases a buyer, is not only a professional but also a human being. In the evening or at the weekend, with a few clicks he or she orders a new pair of shoes on Zalando, a birthday gift on bol.com or a coffee machine via Coolblue. Fast, easy and efficient. 70% of buyers is also willing to order from webshops in a professional context. Provided that it goes as smoothly as buying a doll for your toddler. That is why your company must focus on experience: a clever design, intuitive navigation and a super-fast ordering process. 3 lessons you can learn from the giants: 

1. Don't waste your customer's time 

A B2B buyer is only one link in the entire supply chain. He or she is bound by rules, budgets and procedures. And the high demands of his (internal) customer. In other words, a B2B buyer is not in the mood for a complex online purchasing process. Are you wasting his time? Then he walks straight to your competitor. 

What makes a great webshop? 

  • Your webshop is built intuitively. Your customer immediately finds what he’s looking for. 
  • Your product description is complete and not too technical. You explain for which applications the product is suitable. There is (quality) visual material. The purchaser doesn’t have to contact you for more information. 
  • Your product is filed under the right category. The purchaser can easily find every single product. 
  • The webshop is (correctly) linked to your ERP. Sold out products are marked "not available" in your webshop. 
  • Fast page load time. Every time your customer adds a product to the shopping cart, the website reloads fast.  
  • The payment process is short and simple. Ensure a smooth, fast check-out with several payment options. 
  • Re-orders are easy. The purchaser can simply repeat previous orders. No waste of time. 

2. Be transparent about the delivery terms 

Unlike a private purchase, a B2B purchase is usually not intended for the purchaser himself. Buyers are an intermediary between the supplier and the (internal) end customer. Was the product not delivered on time? Then the purchaser gets the blame. So be honest about delivery times. And make clear agreements about the place of delivery. Zalando gives you the choice between delivery to the billing address, another address or a delivery point. Your B2B customer also wants to indicate his preference: e.g. delivery at port 6, between 12:00 and 18:00, to warehouse manager Jones. 

3. Provide excellent support 

More than 75% of B2B buyers still want to speak to a representative (in person or by phone) before purchasing an entirely new product.1 In that case, ensure that your customer immediately gets to the right person. Give your customer other options too. At bol.com they make it easy for the shopper: you can read FAQs per subject, call, chat or email someone. You don't have to put in a lot of effort to get in touch with their customer service. You also see an overview of all previous orders and (outstanding) invoices in the customer portal. Make sure that your webshop also offers exceptional customer service. 

Key take-aways 

1. Build a cleverly designed, intuitive, fast webshop. 

2. Provide complete product descriptions with high-quality images. 

3. Indicate that a product is not in stock and indicate when it will be available again. 

4. Provide a fast, hassle-free payment process. 

5. Enable efficient re-orders. 

6. Be transparent about the time and place of delivery. 

7. Establish a competent, tech-savvy customer service team.