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30Jun, 2015

10 Mistakes to Avoid in B2B Ecommerce

Author Mark Johnson Category

An eCommerce Store is the most effective method of growing a business. An online store makes operations more efficient; it costs less and strengthens customer relationships. As online sales do not require additional resources or funds, it is a great way to promote your businesses. However, many mistakes creep up and can end up costing you even more money. Here is an updated list of mistakes that you should avoid while creating and maintaining a B2B ecommerce store:

Planning

  • Choosing the wrong eCommerce vendor: B2B and B2C eCommerce have their differences. Although both operate online, the modus operandi differs. Hence choosing an eCommerce vendor that understands and has experience with B2B stores is essential. Nothing is worse than working with a company that does not know enough about your business to help you succeed. It may work in the short term, but it will not sustain as an effective way to move forward.

Related: Features Unique to the World of B2B eCommerce

  • Not considering integration: Many businesses fail with their efforts of successfully adopting a B2B eCommerce because they do not consider, in advance, integrating their eCommerce system with other critical systems. Because of which they often end up investing their resources in a system that does not integrate with their accounting, ERP and CRM systems; while this system/website might look great in itself but it then requires businesses to manually sync information like orders, customers, pricing, inventory, etc. between systems.

Related: Reasons for ERP and eCommerce Integration

  • Ignoring your competition: Many eCommerce stores concentrate on their own site and ignore the competition. This can be a major mistake. If you do not know what your competition is doing, you will not be able to make your site better than theirs. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security that your competition is not a threat.

Implementation

  • Ignoring customer experience: We cannot stress enough the importance of taking care of your B2B customer experience. B2B ecommerce platforms have traditionally not been very user friendly. In comparison with B2C, B2B ecommerce websites are slow and lack the ‘zing.’ It is important to understand that your B2B customers’ expectations are now shaped by B2C eCommerce experience which they have come to witness in their own personal time. And if they do not find the similar experience then the chances of they leaving you for competition are very high. Have a customer’s perspective when you are building the website so that it is easy for them to use and navigate.

Related: Borrow Your B2C Website Features to Enhance Your B2B Site

  • Keeping your pages hidden: One of the most important aspects of a successful eCommerce business is to ensure the search engines spiders can crawl and find your website to index it. Instead of creating a public page, many businesses use a hidden page to sell to their B2B customers. They do this just to prevent their competitors from getting an insight as to what they are doing. This “tactic” can cost you dearly as search engine will not index your site, which results in low page rankings and minimal traffic. Ecommerce marketing, including SEO, SEM, Analytics, etc., is critical to success of your business.
  • Forgetting SEO: SEO is one of the most critical aspects of your store. Search engines better index websites that properly use keywords. SEO helps in providing a quality experience for internet users. You need to make sure your website offers easy navigation, a rich experience and fast load times to ensure it is ranked well with the search engines for optimal success.
  • Posting inappropriate content: Your eCommerce store, be it B2C or B2B, needs content that is designed to attract customers. The right content is essential to drive sales to your store. The better the quality of content, better the results. In addition, you need to keep the content fresh to keep the attention of the search engines.
  • Leaving out online payment options: New payment methods are always popping up. If you are the first business to accept them, you will see greater success. In addition to accepting traditional payments, such as purchase orders and credit limits, you need to accept online payments as well, including PayPal, Cybersource and Worldpay. Failure to do so often result in lost sales.

Post Implementation

  • Not using advanced analytics: It is important to always have your finger on the pulse of your business. When you use advanced analytics as part of your marketing and sales plans, you will know the areas where your business is good and bad. With advanced analytics, you can track your customers’ trends, their purchases and you can create a new way on how they interact with you so that you can tailor the experience to best meet their needs. This allows you to create customized promotions, build customer loyalty and learn how to upsell and cross-sell to your customers.
  • Not investing time to maintain and improve your system: B2B eCommerce projects are often intense and resource consuming. Businesses often launch their B2B eCommerce store and forget about it. To be effective, it is important to monitor your eCommerce store on an ongoing basis, take feedback from important stake holders and strive to improve the system. eCommerce is not a onetime effort and only sustained efforts can drive benefits that businesses desire.

Also Read: Tips for successful B2B eCommerce

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10 Mistakes to Avoid in B2B Ecommerce