Are you building a website for your B2B organization, but you’re not sure what features you need to have in order to meet all of your specific business needs? Not every website builder or eCommerce platform offers the same features that are needed for B2B eCommerce, so this guide’s purpose is to showcase the most important tools to look out for when looking for a way to build your website.
Advanced SEO Tools
SEO, or search engine optimization, is necessary to understand if you’re running an online business. Like any other eCommerce website, every B2B organization needs to leverage SEO to bring traffic into their online store. Your website should be fully optimized for search engine visibility.
This means that you should at least be using and editing:
- Custom URLs
- Page titles, meta tags, and meta descriptions
- Page headings for content (H1, H2, H3, etc.)
- Blog posts and other content pages
- Custom 301 page redirects
One of our clients, Blooms by Heinau, was able to have all of these settings optimized through their eCommerce platform 3dcart. The 3dcart platform offers a variety of SEO tools built into their software for use in optimizing every page on the site.
In the case of Blooms by Heinau, custom URLs were created, heading tags were utilized, page titles were edited for targeting keywords, and blog posts have been published using the built-in blogging platform. All of these efforts work to boost their site’s ranking on SERPs or search engine result pages, based on how effectively their pages target relevant keywords.
Customer Specific Catalog & Pricing
Personalization isn’t just for B2C selling. B2B customers are increasingly asking for personalized shopping experiences when they buy online. So, to meet that demand, your B2B website needs to have features in place that can segment customers.
It’s not abnormal for a B2B organization to sell their products at different price levels based on the type of customer making the purchase. Additionally, certain parts of the product catalog may only be relevant to certain customers that your business sells to. To make this happen, your website needs to segment your customers into groups based on criteria that’s relevant to your needs – this could be order volume, products ordered, industry, order frequency, etc.
Order History & Quick Reordering
As a B2B organization, you’ll likely have a long list of regular clients that consistently come back to your business to purchase the same products. Rather than have those customers manually pick out every product that they need on each visit, your website should store their order history for both you and the customer’s convenience.
In conjunction with the order history feature, your website should make it quick and easy to reorder all of the products that the customer has bought previously. With the click of a button, all of the customer’s desired products can be added to the cart for instant checkout. Not only will this make customers happy by making shopping with you convenient, it will also cut down on any order errors from manual input.
This is also why a Quick Order Pad is important for your B2B website to have – it allows customers to input the exact SKU or product information to quickly locate the product they need without any error.
Varied Payment Methods
Your clients, being businesses of their own, put a lot more thought into the purchases that they make online when compared to a B2C customer. This means that your B2B website should fit their specific needs and preferences when they go to pay for their order from you. For example, if your client is using a business credit card to buy your products, you should allow them to save that card on file within your system for future purchases.
There are a few main forms of payment that most B2B organizations should have available on their website, including:
- Offline Payments: This includes paper checks, wire transfers, phone orders, etc.
- Purchase Orders: These are official documents from your client dictating exactly what they need to buy from your store.
- Credit Network Financing: Allow your customers to pay for their order over a period through financing with a credit network like Apruve.
- Pay Later Options: Offer this option for customers who would like to buy now, but pay later in installments.
- Corporate Accounts: As a bank account that businesses use to hold their funds, corporate accounts should be supported on your store to make transactions easier for your clients.
- Net 30, 60, or 90: This is a form of payment arrangement wherein the customer pays the net amount owed either 30, 60, or 90 days from the time they receive their product or service.
Because your website is B2B, you won’t need to sell to the general end consumer. For this reason, you may want to restrict access to parts of your site from unregistered visitors. This can prevent confused customers from ordering products not meant for them, and even competition from seeing your entire product catalog.
By restricting access to parts of your website, you can hide pricing, products, and even entire categories of your catalog. You could also leave your site entirely visible and simply restrict purchasing if the visitor is not a registered user – it’s up to your business needs how you restrict access.
Aside from your site allowing registered users to see all of your site’s pages, you can also restrict access to anyone without a specific password – whether they’re registered or not. Additionally, you can use customer groups, so only allow certain customers to see specified areas of your site.
Minimum Order Quantities
Also referred to as MOQ, minimum order quantities are crucial to define for most B2B organizations. A minimum order quantity specifies the lowest quantity of a product that your business will sell to a customer. This is especially important for B2B websites that sell products that need to be custom-made or sold in large quantities.
Your website should allow you to set those minimum order quantity rules so that customers can’t place an order without reaching that requirement. If it’s important for your business to specify quantity multiples for products sold in palettes, cases, packs, etc. then keep that in mind when setting your MOQ.
In addition to minimum order quantity is minimum order amount, which defines how much the entire customer’s order should cost in order to checkout. This should be able to be set within your website as well.
Shipping & Freight Management
Chances are that your B2B organization’s shipping practices and needs are more complicated than those of a B2C online store. To meet your shipping needs, your B2B website must have features in place that make fulfillment easier for you and your customers.
If your business restricts sales to specific locations, franchises, businesses or employees then you may need a feature that defines that list. Referred to as B2B Cost Center Locations by 3dcart, this feature lets customers choose their location from a list that you’ve defined rather than entering an address. This cuts down on manual entry errors and ensures that only verified customers make purchases from your site.
Aside from restricted shipping, B2B organizations that ship large amounts of products at once to customers most likely need powerful freight management. Your website should be integrated with a service like Kuehne+Nagel to help manage your heavy-freight shipping and provide you with LTL shipping rates.
Bulk Ordering & Discounts
If your B2B organization specializes in selling products in large, bulk quantities, then it’s necessary that your B2B website supports this. Allow your customers to order in bulk by volume and define the volume that makes the most sense for your product. This could be pallets, cases, packs, gallons, pounds, etc.
In the same line as bulk ordering are bulk discounts, which should kick in at the right point once a customer has ordered above the threshold for the discount. This works similar to free shipping thresholds, wherein a customer needs to have a certain amount in their cart before they can checkout with a free shipping promotion. You can segment your customers based on the type of bulk discount they’re able to get as well.
It’s needless to say that B2B organizations have different, specific needs when compared to a B2C online store.
However, any online store, regardless of industry, needs to have the basics as well: a functioning website, optimized for search engines, with products and the ability to check out.
Aside from those basics, your B2B website should have:
- SEO tools for optimizing your website
- Segmented customer catalog and pricing
- The ability to quickly reorder past orders
- Payment methods that are varied and flexible
- Restricted access for certain parts of your website
- Minimum order quantities for checkout
- Shipping and freight management tools
- Volume ordering and bulk discounts
With all of these features enabled, your B2B website is sure to have everything it needs to be successful. And, by choosing an enterprise eCommerce platform built for B2B websites, you’ll have the perfect foundation for your online presence.