B2C business tends to experience extreme sales peaks around Easter, Black Friday, and Christmas, for example. In B2B ecommerce, fluctuations like these are significantly less pronounced.
But in recent years consumer behavior in B2B business has altered dramatically. B2B customers now tend to search online for information about the solutions and products they need. Sometimes the entire purchasing process happens online. If necessary, final contract negotiations will take place face-to-face so that customer-specific prices and contract terms can be defined. But all other aspects of the B2B purchasing process have now moved online.
Shopware partner iWelt shows you four key aspects to bear in mind here.
1. Complex customer structure
The B2B customer structure can be described as quantitatively low but qualitatively high: the number of customers is usually relatively low, but with a high proportion of regular customers, who often return to order the same products or even the same shopping cart. For this reason, it’s important to make ordering as simple as possible for regular customers by showing previous baskets and making them easy to edit and use as the basis for a new order.
Above a certain size of company, “the customer” will not be a single individual. Through what is often a complex structure of positions and roles, each employee has their own specific remit and authority.
A company account that is used by several employees needs to be capable of mapping to different roles and rights. There’re also cases where a complete authorization process is mapped in the store system.
Shopware also enables customers to map the requirements of both B2C and B2B use cases in just one online store. The benefit for customers here is that they only need one store infrastructure.
2. System interfaces
In the B2B area in particular, the store system generally needs to integrate into a complex IT system landscape. Several different systems are often connected, for example billing, supplier and logistics systems. Shopware 6 offers the system interfaces needed to intelligently integrate third-party systems.
Customer-specific prices are relevant for buyers in the B2B area in particular. The B2B Suite offers interfaces that enable customer-specific price information to be entered and project-specific connections to be established to merchandise management systems or other price databases.
3. Individual prices
In the simplest scenario, every customer is offered the same price. However, individual prices and discount categories based on customers or customer groups are the norm.
Then there’s the option of a bonus points program for merchants and resellers, which in turn entails further conditions or rules for redeeming bonus points.
With a high number of SKUs, pricing can become increasingly complex. Where this is the case, it’s particularly important to ensure that data is maintained and checked correctly and that structures are intelligently mapped.
If the store is connected to an ERP system, particular attention needs to be paid to programming the interface. The store owner needs to consider exactly how frequently to synchronize which data.
4. B2B Academy
How do I ensure that my merchants are clued up on all the new products, including all sales-relevant information?
With the aid of an integrated B2B Academy in the store system, content such as text or videos can be accessed directly alongside relevant products.
This means there’s no need for a separate training tool. Induction for new employees and ongoing training are covered. The merchant can access the latest content on relevant products at any time, ensuring they are optimally prepared for successful selling.
A good example of a successfully implemented B2C and B2B online store with a high number of SKUs, a mature B2B pricing structure and a high interface complexity is the German store: www.stopperka.de
Do you need support in the area of B2B ecommerce? We at iWelt are happy to help!