With more and more brick-and-mortar stores in the retail, B2C realm moving online, it’s natural to wonder whether online shopping and e-commerce sites have any value for B2Bs. E-commerce can be useful for B2B manufacturers in providing their customers with a convenient and seamless purchasing experience and differentiating themselves from their competition. Does your site need an e-commerce component?

The Cons

Most obviously, a negative aspect of an e-commerce site for B2Bs is that sometimes, orders are complex. If you create custom products for each of your clients, you may not be able to take orders through a traditional e-commerce platform, as you’ll need to design and estimate the product. Additionally, B2B products often have multiple pricing tiers, depending upon size of order, client, etc., which can be difficult (though not impossible) to build into the e-commerce experience. If your B2B doesn’t offer tangible products, but services, e-commerce won’t make much sense.

The Pros

There are several advantages to e-commerce sites for B2Bs. Customers can easily place orders online, eliminating the need for a sales rep or account manager to take the order and forward it to fulfillment. Recurring orders can be automated, and longtime clients can have their specific orders, payment schedules, and other specific information tied to their accounts in your e-commerce interface. Additionally, the product selection can be updated in real-time to reflect changes in inventory or product offerings.

Another benefit to incorporating e-commerce into your B2B site is that it creates a seamless buyer’s journey experience for the customer, which can result in more sales and conversions. If your e-commerce component integrates content including images and video, customer support, how-tos, specifications, articles, and other relevant information, you can funnel customers through the buyer’s journey to the purchase stage, and have that purchase made instantaneously.

B2C buying trends are increasingly influencing the wants of B2B customers, who are eager for quicker, easier, more convenient ways to make business purchases, much in the way that they make personal purchases on Amazon. For B2B manufacturers, e-commerce, if thoughtfully combined with pertinent content and information, can simplify the ordering process for both the buyer and seller.

Whether e-commerce is right for your B2B or not, if you’d like to discuss your current digital strategy, HA Digital Marketing can help. Let’s start that conversation. For more information on how our unique formula has produced unprecedented results for other B2B manufacturers, check out the following case study:

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