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πŸ‘©β€πŸŽ“πŸ›’πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ“ Understanding Different flavors of B2B Ecommerce

B2B Customer Journey Ecommerce

When it comes to B2B Ecommerce, it’s common to see conflicting opinions on whether it’s just like B2C or vastly different. However, the reality is that there’s a wide variety of B2B merchants, each with unique needs and ways of doing business.

From the size of their customers to the products or services they offer, the industry they operate in, and their business model, every B2B business is unique and requires a tailored ecommerce solution. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but by understanding the patterns and factors that influence a B2B ecommerce strategy, we can determine the right ecommerce functionality for your business. Let’s dive into what differentiates B2B Ecommerce implementations.

B2B businesses are different by the size of customers they serve, the types of products or services they sell, their industry, and their business models. All of these factors determine what types of ecommerce functionality they require or what ecommerce platforms will fit their needs.

Let’s take it step-by-step.

Customers’ Size

The size of customers can play a significant role in determining the type of ecommerce functionality a business requires. For example, a company selling to SMBs may require ecommerce functionality similar to that of B2C, such as credit card payments, anonymous checkout, express delivery, and B2C-style promotions and merchandising.

Companies selling to SMBs still need B2B functionality but would implement it in a different way.

On the other hand, a company selling to large enterprises may need additional functionality, such as payment by invoices, custom-specific prices, extended user roles and permissions, complex workflows, request for quote support, and tools for an in-house sales team.

Types of Products/Services

The type of products or services offered by a business can also affect its ecommerce needs. For instance, businesses offering commodity products may have catalog and site structures similar to those of B2C businesses.

However, businesses selling complex products may need to educate customers through a variety of choices, offer a lot of content, support a complex attribute structure, and offer configurable products and bundles.

For businesses offering services, recurring and usage prices, price tiers, entitlements, and contract terms may need to be implemented. Made-to-order products may require complex inventory management and ERP integrations.

Industry

The B2B Ecommerce implementation can vary greatly based on the industry a business operates in.

  • For example, in the manufacturing industry, B2B ecommerce typically involves large quantities of goods being purchased for production purposes, with a focus on cost-effectiveness and efficient delivery. In the technology industry, B2B ecommerce often involves more complex product configurations and a higher degree of customization, requiring a more detailed and sophisticated purchasing process.
  • In the healthcare industry, B2B ecommerce may involve strict regulations and compliance requirements, with a focus on ensuring the secure and confidential exchange of sensitive information. In the financial services industry, B2B ecommerce transactions may involve the exchange of high-value, time-sensitive information and require robust security measures.
  • B2B ecommerce in the agriculture industry may involve large quantities of raw materials and farm equipment, with a focus on timely delivery to remote locations.
  • Sellers in the construction industry need to provide large catalogs and support product delivery at pre-specified times to ensure successful outcomes.
  • B2B ecommerce in the wholesale and distribution industry may involve the management of a large inventory, with a focus on ensuring efficient and accurate product tracking and delivery.
  • Transportation and Logistics: B2B ecommerce in the transportation and logistics industry may involve the coordination of large shipments, with a focus on optimizing delivery routes and reducing costs.
  • Energy and Utilities: B2B ecommerce in the energy and utilities industry may involve the exchange of high-value, time-sensitive information, requiring robust security measures and compliance with industry regulations.

These are just a few examples of how B2B ecommerce can differ across industries. In general, the differences in B2B ecommerce across industries reflect the unique characteristics and needs of each sector. Companies operating in these industries must be aware of these differences and tailor their ecommerce strategies accordingly to meet the specific needs of their customers and industry.

Let’s not treat all B2B ecommerce implementations as the same but rather acknowledge the diversity and individuality of each industry and craft solutions that are customized to fit.

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