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6 key aspects for starting your B2B eCommerce project in 2021

2020 ha sido el año del comercio electrónico.  Pero también ha sido el año en el que se ha ampliado la digital gap between those B2B that already had consolidated their sales channel online and those that have not.

So, for those manufacturers still exploring B2B eCommerce options or those who need to upgrade their current infrastructure, we've compiled the best practices for 2021. A complete guide to the must-haves within the B2B ecosystem.

The key aspects to do B2B ecommerce in 2021.

1. The importance of the Customer Journey

2020 was the year that user experience overtook price as a key differentiator for buyers.

According to a study published by PWC , 64% of buyers already place more importance on how easy it is to navigate a website than on the price of the items sold.

Not only that, 86% of shoppers are willing to pay more to buy on a website where products are purchased in a simple and intuitive way than on one that is not.

Whether it's a complete digital transformation or simply a website refresh, customer experience must be the centrepiece of any eCommerce project in 2021. Every new functionality we incorporate should start with the question, "how does this improve our customers' experience?".

2. Pricing and catalogue personalisation

Personalisation must be a fundamental part of B2B sales flows. One of the most frequent mistakes is trying to replicate customisations of B2C models when what is being addressed is an ecomerce project for manufacturers. 

At the pricing level, the chosen platform should replicate the B2B pricing model, often based on negotiated contracts that are generally agreed during the sales process. By setting customised prices, even buyers who are not registered in the eCommerce system with a pre-negotiated price can access full or partial product catalogues, but the prices will be hidden from this type of buyer. 

At the catalogue level, in the B2B segment these are typically large and complex, containing thousands of SKUs, often with multiple references.

Similar to pricing, it is common for B2B buyers to only need access to a specific product catalogue or parts of a product catalogue. Personalisation ultimately allows a unique view to be configured for each type of buyer.

3. Rich content

Content is a powerful tool in both the B2C and B2B segments. But for B2B, the user experience is based on the self-service model.

This type of buyer expects to enter the shop and be able to count on information such as:

  • Quality graphics
  • Complete product information
  • Downloadable brochures
  • User manuals
  • Installation guides
  • Demonstration videos, audio etc...

4. Ultra fast and 100% responsive websites

A study published by Google on the impact of web loading speed showed that as load times went from 1 second to 10 seconds, the bounce rate increased by 123%. 
Load time is and will continue to be the workhorse of many eCommerce and in the B2B segment especially there is a lot of room for improvement. 
In many cases, a poor choice of CMS is behind the problem. In others the cause is image compression and in many others the implementation of a CDN.

5. Integration of distributor and manufacturer

The integration of all business systems with eCommerce must be real. In 2021, APIs will be used to connect manufacturers with distributors and wholesalers. These, in turn, will also be able to connect with the end customer.

Through these integrations, dropshipping becomes much simpler and reduces the amount of duplicate data that might otherwise be generated. As logistics struggles to get inventory from point A to point B, dropshipping simplifies the transportation process.

6. Flexible platforms for further growth

Another lesson learned during 2020 was that agility is key to survival.

And in 2021, flexibility will be more important than ever. Like always, business models will continue to change to meet demand. Therefore, manufacturers must focus their efforts on developing an eCommerce platform that is ready to move from B2B to D2C if the market dictates it, knowing that the end consumer may have higher expectations for some services than a retailer.

A platform that supports multiple interfaces with a single backend makes this process can be much simpler.

In short, if 2020 was a great year for eCommerce, 2021 will see even more optimistic figures. In the US alone, B2B sales will reach $1.2 trillion. No doubt, many manufacturers will have to prepare themselves thoroughly in order to get their share of the pie.